In vitro, assembly of box C/D small nucleolar ribonucleoproteins (snoRNPs) involves the sequential recruitment of core proteins to snoRNAs. In vivo, however, assembly factors are required (NUFIP, BCD1, and the HSP90-R2TP complex), and it is unknown whether a similar sequential scheme applies. In this paper, we describe systematic quantitative stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture proteomic experiments and the crystal structure of the core protein Snu13p/15.5K bound to a fragment of the assembly factor Rsa1p/NUFIP. This revealed several unexpected features: (a) the existence of a protein-only pre-snoRNP complex containing five assembly factors and two core proteins, 15.5K and Nop58; (b) the characterization of ZNHIT3, which is present in the protein-only complex but gets released upon binding to C/D snoRNAs; (c) the dynamics of the R2TP complex, which appears to load/unload RuvBL AAA(+) adenosine triphosphatase from pre-snoRNPs; and (d) a potential mechanism for preventing premature activation of snoRNP catalytic activity. These data provide a framework for understanding the assembly of box C/D snoRNPs.
Biogenesis of eukaryotic box C/D small nucleolar ribonucleoprotein particles (C/D snoRNPs) involves conserved trans-acting factors, which are proposed to facilitate the assembly of the core proteins Snu13p/15.5K, Nop58p/NOP58, Nop56p/NOP56 and Nop1p/Fibrillarin on box C/D small nucleolar RNAs (C/D snoRNAs). In yeast, protein Rsa1 acts as a platform, interacting with both the RNA-binding core protein Snu13 and protein Pih1 of the Hsp82-R2TP chaperone complex. In this work, a proteomic approach coupled with functional and structural studies identifies protein Hit1 as a novel Rsa1p-interacting partner involved in C/D snoRNP assembly. Hit1p contributes to in vivo C/D snoRNA stability and pre-RNA maturation kinetics. It associates with U3 snoRNA precursors and influences its 3'-end processing. Remarkably, Hit1p is required to maintain steady-state levels of Rsa1p. This stabilizing activity is likely to be general across eukaryotic species, as the human protein ZNHIT3(TRIP3) showing sequence homology with Hit1p regulates the abundance of NUFIP1, the Rsa1p functional homolog. The nuclear magnetic resonance solution structure of the Rsa1p317-352-Hit1p70-164 complex reveals a novel mode of protein-protein association explaining the strong stability of the Rsa1p-Hit1p complex. Our biochemical data show that C/D snoRNAs and the core protein Nop58 can interact with the purified Snu13p-Rsa1p-Hit1p heterotrimer.
The yeast Snu13p protein and its 15.5K human homolog both bind U4 snRNA and box C/D snoRNAs. They also bind the Rsa1p/NUFIP assembly factor, proposed to scaffold immature snoRNPs and to recruit the Hsp90-R2TP chaperone complex. However, the nature of the Snu13p/15.5K-Rsa1p/NUFIP interaction and its exact role in snoRNP assembly remained to be elucidated. By using biophysical, molecular and imaging approaches, here, we identify residues needed for Snu13p/15.5K-Rsa1p/NUFIP interaction. By NMR structure determination and docking approaches, we built a 3D model of the Snup13p-Rsa1p interface, suggesting that residues R249, R246 and K250 in Rsa1p and E72 and D73 in Snu13p form a network of electrostatic interactions shielded from the solvent by hydrophobic residues from both proteins and that residue W253 of Rsa1p is inserted in a hydrophobic cavity of Snu13p. Individual mutations of residues in yeast demonstrate the functional importance of the predicted interactions for both cell growth and snoRNP formation. Using archaeal box C/D sRNP 3D structures as templates, the association of Snu13p with Rsa1p is predicted to be exclusive of interactions in active snoRNPs. Rsa1p and NUFIP may thus prevent premature activity of pre-snoRNPs, and their removal may be a key step for active snoRNP production.
The ubiquitous Hsp90 chaperone participates in snoRNP and RNA polymerase assembly through interaction with the R2TP complex. This complex includes the proteins Tah1, Pih1, Rvb1, and Rvb2. Tah1 bridges Hsp90 to R2TP. Its minimal TPR domain includes two TPR motifs and a capping helix. We established the high-resolution solution structures of Tah1 free and in complex with the Hsp90 C-terminal peptide. The TPR fold is similar in the free and bound forms and we show experimentally that in addition to its solvating/stabilizing role, the capping helix is essential for the recognition of the Hsp90 (704)EMEEVD(709) motif. In addition to Lys79 and Arg83 from the carboxylate clamp, this helix bears Tyr82 forming a ?/S-CH3 interaction with Hsp90 M(705) from the peptide 310 helix. The Tah1 C-terminal region is unfolded, and we demonstrate that it is essential for the recruitment of the Pih1 C-terminal domain and folds upon binding.
Multiple RNA-guided pseudouridine synthases, H/ACA ribonucleoprotein particles (RNPs) which contain a guide RNA and four proteins, catalyze site-specific post-transcriptional isomerization of uridines into pseudouridines in substrate RNAs. In archaeal particles, the guide small RNA (sRNA) is anchored by the pseudouridine synthase aCBF5 and the ribosomal protein L7Ae. Protein aNOP10 interacts with both aCBF5 and L7Ae. The fourth protein, aGAR1, interacts with aCBF5 and enhances catalytic efficiency. Here, we compared the features of two H/ACA sRNAs, Pab21 and Pab91, from Pyrococcus abyssi. We found that aCBF5 binds much more weakly to Pab91 than to Pab21. Surprisingly, the Pab91 sRNP exhibits a higher catalytic efficiency than the Pab21 sRNP. We thus investigated the molecular basis of the differential efficiencies observed for the assembly and catalytic activity of the two enzymes. For this, we compared profiles of the extent of lead-induced cleavages in these sRNAs during a stepwise reconstitution of the sRNPs, and analyzed the impact of the absence of the aNOP10-L7Ae interaction. Such probing experiments indicated that the sRNAs undergo a series of conformational changes upon RNP assembly. These changes were also evaluated directly by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, a tool highly adapted to analyzing RNA conformational dynamics. In addition, our results reveal that the conformation of helix P1 formed at the base of the H/ACA sRNAs is optimized in Pab21 for efficient aCBF5 binding and RNP assembly. Moreover, P1 swapping improved the assembly of the Pab91 sRNP. Nonetheless, efficient aCBF5 binding probably also relies on the pseudouridylation pocket which is not optimized for high activity in the case of Pab21.
Controlling iron homeostasis is crucial for all aerobically grown living cells that are exposed to oxidative damage by reactive oxygen species (ROS), as free iron increases the production of ROS. Methionine sulfoxide reductases (Msr) are key enzymes in repairing ROS-mediated damage to proteins, as they reduce oxidized methionine (MetSO) residues to methionine. E. coli synthesizes two Msr, A and B, which exhibit substrate diastereospecificity. The bacterial iron-responsive small RNA (sRNA) RyhB controls iron metabolism by modulating intracellular iron usage. We show in this paper that RyhB is a direct regulator of the msrB gene that encodes the MsrB enzyme. RyhB down-regulates msrB transcripts along with Hfq and RNaseE proteins since mutations in the ryhB, fur, hfq, or RNaseE-encoded genes resulted in iron-insensitive expression of msrB. Our results show that RyhB binds to two sequences within the short 5UTR of msrB mRNA as identified by reverse transcriptase and RNase and lead (II) protection assays. Toeprinting analysis shows that RyhB pairing to msrB mRNA prevents efficient ribosome binding and thereby inhibits translation initiation. In vivo site directed-mutagenesis experiments in the msrB 5UTR region indicate that both RyhB-pairing sites are required to decrease msrB expression. Thus, this study suggests a novel mechanism of translational regulation where a same sRNA can basepair to two different locations within the same mRNA species. In contrast, expression of msrA is not influenced by changes in iron levels.
In eukaryotes, U3 snoRNA is essential for pre-rRNA maturation. Its 5-domain was found to form base pair interactions with the 18S and 5-ETS parts of the pre-rRNA. In Xenopus laevis, two segments of U3 snoRNA form base-pair interactions with the 5-ETS region and only one of them is essential to the maturation process. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, two similar U3 snoRNA-5 ETS interactions are possible; but, the functional importance of only one of them had been tested. Surprisingly, this interaction, which corresponds to the non-essential one in X. laevis, is essential for cell growth and pre-rRNA maturation in yeast. In parallel with [Dutca et al. (2011) The initial U3 snoRNA:pre-rRNA base pairing interaction required for pre-18S rRNA folding revealed by in vivo chemical probing. Nucleic Acids Research, 39, 5164-5180], here we show, that the second possible 11-bp long interaction between the 5 domain of S. cerevisiae U3 snoRNA and the pre-rRNA 5-ETS region (helix VI) is also essential for pre-rRNA processing and cell growth. Compensatory mutations in one-half of helix VI fully restored cell growth. Only a partial restoration of growth was obtained upon extension of compensatory mutations to the entire helix VI, suggesting sequence requirement for binding of specific proteins. Accordingly, we got strong evidences for a role of segment VI in the association of proteins Mpp10, Imp4 and Imp3.
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare genetic disorder phenotypically characterized by many features of premature aging. Most cases of HGPS are due to a heterozygous silent mutation (c.1824C>T; p.Gly608Gly) that enhances the use of an internal 5 splice site (5SS) in exon 11 of the LMNA pre-mRNA and leads to the production of a truncated protein (progerin) with a dominant negative effect. Here we show that HGPS mutation changes the accessibility of the 5SS of LMNA exon 11 which is sequestered in a conserved RNA structure. Our results also reveal a regulatory role of a subset of serine-arginine (SR)-rich proteins, including serine-arginine rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1) and SRSF6, on utilization of the 5SS leading to lamin A or progerin production and a modulation of this regulation in the presence of the c.1824C>T mutation is shown directly on HGPS patient cells. Mutant mice carrying the equivalent mutation in the LMNA gene (c.1827C>T) also accumulate progerin and phenocopy the main cellular alterations and clinical defects of HGPS patients. RNAi-induced depletion of SRSF1 in the HGPS-like mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) allowed progerin reduction and dysmorphic nuclei phenotype correction, whereas SRSF6 depletion aggravated the HGPS-like MEFs phenotype. We demonstrate that changes in the splicing ratio between lamin A and progerin are key factors for lifespan since heterozygous mice harboring the mutation lived longer than homozygous littermates but less than the wild-type. Genetic and biochemical data together favor the view that physiological progerin production is under tight control of a conserved splicing mechanism to avoid precocious aging.
Muscleblind-like-1 (MBNL1) is a splicing regulatory factor controlling the fetal-to-adult alternative splicing transitions during vertebrate muscle development. Its capture by nuclear CUG expansions is one major cause for type 1 myotonic dystrophy (DM1). Alternative splicing produces MBNL1 isoforms that differ by the presence or absence of the exonic regions 3, 5, and 7. To understand better their respective roles and the consequences of the deregulation of their expression in DM1, here we studied the respective roles of MBNL1 alternative and constitutive exons. By combining genetics, molecular and cellular approaches, we found that (i) the exon 5 and 6 regions are both needed to control the nuclear localization of MBNL1; (ii) the exon 3 region strongly enhances the affinity of MBNL1 for its pre-mRNA target sites; (iii) the exon 3 and 6 regions are both required for the splicing regulatory activity, and this function is not enhanced by an exclusive nuclear localization of MBNL1; and finally (iv) the exon 7 region enhances MBNL1-MBNL1 dimerization properties. Consequently, the abnormally high inclusion of the exon 5 and 7 regions in DM1 is expected to enhance the potential of MBNL1 of being sequestered with nuclear CUG expansions, which provides new insight into DM1 pathophysiology.
HIV-1 pre-mRNA splicing depends upon 4 donor and 8 acceptor sites, which are used in combination to produce more than 40 different mRNAs. The acceptor site A7 plays an essential role for tat and rev mRNA production. The SLS2-A7 stem-loop structure containing site A7 was also proposed to modulate HIV-1 RNA export by the Rev protein. To further characterize nuclear factors involved in these processes, we purified RNP complexes formed by incubation of SLS2-A7 RNA transcripts in HeLa cell nuclear extracts by affinity chromatography and identified 33 associated proteins by nanoLC-MS/MS. By UV cross-linking, immunoselection and EMSA, we showed that, in addition to the well-known hnRNP A1 inhibitor of site A7, nucleolin, hnRNP H and hnRNP K interact directly with SLS2-A7 RNA. Nucleolin binds to a cluster of successive canonical NRE motifs in SLS2-A7 RNA, which is unique in HIV-1 RNA. Proteins hnRNP A1 and hnRNP K bind synergistically to SLS2-A7 RNA and both have a negative effect on site A7 activity. By the use of a plasmid expressing a truncated version of HIV-1 RNA, we showed a strong effect of the overexpression of hnRNP K in HeLa cells on HIV-1 alternative splicing. As a consequence, production of the Nef protein was strongly reduced. Interestingly also, many proteins identified in our proteomic analysis are known to modulate either the Rev activity or other mechanisms required for HIV-1 multiplication and several of them seem to be recruited by hnRNP K, suggesting that hnRNP K plays an important role for HIV-1 biology.
Retroviruses require both spliced and unspliced RNAs for replication. Accumulation of Rous Sarcoma virus (RSV) unspliced RNA depends upon the negative regulator of splicing (NRS). Its 5-part is considered as an ESE binding SR proteins. Its 3-part contains a decoy 5-splice site (ss), which inhibits splicing at the bona fide 5-ss. Only the 3D structure of a small NRS fragment had been experimentally studied. Here, by chemical and enzymatic probing, we determine the 2D structure of the entire RSV NRS. Structural analysis of other avian NRSs and comparison with all sequenced avian NRSs is in favour of a phylogenetic conservation of the NRS 2D structure. By combination of approaches: (i) in vitro and in cellulo splicing assays, (ii) footprinting assays and (iii) purification and analysis of reconstituted RNP complex, we define a small NRS element retaining splicing inhibitory property. We also demonstrate the capability of the SR protein 9G8 to increase NRS activity in vitro and in cellulo. Altogether these data bring new insights on how NRS fine tune splicing activity.
The retroviral life cycle requires that significant amounts of RNA remain unspliced and perform several functions in the cytoplasm. Thus, the full-length RNA serves both the viral genetic material that will be encapsulated in viral particles and the mRNA encoding structural and enzymatic proteins required for viral replication. Simple retroviruses produce one single-spliced env RNA from the full-length precursor RNA, whereas complex retroviruses, such as HIV, are characterized by the production of multiple-spliced RNA species. In this review we will summarize the current acknowledge about the HIV-1 alternative splicing mechanism and will describe how this malleable process can help further understanding of infection, spread and dissemination through splicing regulation. Such studies coupled with the testing of splicing inhibitors should help the development of new therapeutic antiviral agents.
In placental mammals, inactivation of one of the X chromosomes in female cells ensures sex chromosome dosage compensation. The 17 kb non-coding Xist RNA is crucial to this process and accumulates on the future inactive X chromosome. The most conserved Xist RNA region, the A region, contains eight or nine repeats separated by U-rich spacers. It is implicated in the recruitment of late inactivated X genes to the silencing compartment and likely in the recruitment of complex PRC2. Little is known about the structure of the A region and more generally about Xist RNA structure. Knowledge of its structure is restricted to an NMR study of a single A repeat element. Our study is the first experimental analysis of the structure of the entire A region in solution. By the use of chemical and enzymatic probes and FRET experiments, using oligonucleotides carrying fluorescent dyes, we resolved problems linked to sequence redundancies and established a 2-D structure for the A region that contains two long stem-loop structures each including four repeats. Interactions formed between repeats and between repeats and spacers stabilize these structures. Conservation of the spacer terminal sequences allows formation of such structures in all sequenced Xist RNAs. By combination of RNP affinity chromatography, immunoprecipitation assays, mass spectrometry, and Western blot analysis, we demonstrate that the A region can associate with components of the PRC2 complex in mouse ES cell nuclear extracts. Whilst a single four-repeat motif is able to associate with components of this complex, recruitment of Suz12 is clearly more efficient when the entire A region is present. Our data with their emphasis on the importance of inter-repeat pairing change fundamentally our conception of the 2-D structure of the A region of Xist RNA and support its possible implication in recruitment of the PRC2 complex.
Alternative splicing is regulated in part by variations in the relative concentrations of a variety of factors, including serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins. The SR protein SC35 self-regulates its expression by stimulating unproductive splicing events in the 3 untranslated region of its own pre-mRNA. Using various minigene constructs containing the terminal retained intron and flanking exons, we identified in the highly conserved last exon a number of exonic splicing enhancer elements responding specifically to SC35, and showed an inverse correlation between affinity of SC35 and enhancer strength. The enhancer region, which is included in a long stem loop, also contains repressor elements, and is recognized by other RNA-binding proteins, notably hnRNP H protein and TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43). Finally, in vitro and in cellulo experiments indicated that hnRNP H and TDP-43 antagonize the binding of SC35 to the terminal exon and specifically repress the use of SC35 terminal 3 splice site. Our study provides new information about the molecular mechanisms of SC35-mediated splicing activation. It also highlights the existence of a complex network of self- and cross-regulatory mechanisms between splicing regulators, which controls their homeostasis and offers many ways of modulating their concentration in response to the cellular environment.
The RNA:pseudouridine (Psi) synthase Pus7p of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a multisite-specific enzyme that is able to modify U(13) in several yeast tRNAs, U(35) in the pre-tRNA(Tyr) (GPsiA), U(35) in U2 small nuclear RNA, and U(50) in 5 S rRNA. Pus7p belongs to the universally conserved TruD-like family of RNA:Psi-synthases found in bacteria, archaea, and eukarya. Although several RNA substrates for yeast Pus7p have been identified, specificity of their recognition and modification has not been studied. However, conservation of a 7-nt-long sequence, including the modified U residue, in all natural Pus7p substrates suggested the importance of these nucleotides for Pus7p recognition and/or catalysis. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we designed a set of RNA variants derived from the yeast tRNA(Asp)(GUC), pre-tRNA(Tyr)(GPsiA), and U2 small nuclear RNA and tested their ability to be modified by Pus7p in vitro. We demonstrated that the highly conserved U(-2) and A(+1) residues (nucleotide numbers refer to target U(0)) are crucial identity elements for efficient modification by Pus7p. Nucleotide substitutions at other surrounding positions (-4, -3, +2, +3) have only a moderate effect. Surprisingly, the identity of the nucleotide immediately 5 to the target U(0) residue (position -1) is not important for efficient modification. Alteration of tRNA three-dimensional structure had no detectable effect on Pus7p activity at position 13. However, our results suggest that the presence of at least one stem-loop structure including or close to the target U nucleotide is required for Pus7p-catalyzed modification.
Alternative splicing plays a key role in the production of numerous proteins by complex lentiviruses such as HIV-1. The study of HIV-1 RNA splicing has provided useful information not only about the physiology of the virus, but also about the general mechanisms that regulate mammalian pre-mRNA alternative splicing. Like all retroviruses, a fraction of HIV-1 transcripts remains intact to serve as genomic RNA and to code for Gag and Gag-Pol protein precursors. In addition, splicing is important for controlling the production of some viral proteins, which could otherwise have a negative effect on the infected cell. Here, we summarize how the utilization of HIV-1 splicing sites is limited by the binding of nuclear factors to cis-acting silencer elements, taking into account the role of RNA secondary structure in these mechanisms. We also describe how the poorly efficient HIV-1 acceptor sites are nevertheless activated by serine/arginine-rich proteins. Finally, we discuss how nuclear factors that interact with both the transcription and splicing machineries also participate in the control of HIV-1 RNA splicing.
Up to now, Psi formation in tRNAs was found to be catalysed by stand-alone enzymes. By computational analysis of archaeal genomes we detected putative H/ACA sRNAs, in four Sulfolobales species and in Aeropyrum pernix, that might guide Psi 35 formation in pre-tRNA(Tyr)(GUA). This modification is achieved by Pus7p in eukarya. The validity of the computational predictions was verified by in vitro reconstitution of H/ACA sRNPs using the identified Sulfolobus solfataricus H/ACA sRNA. Comparison of Pus7-like enzymes encoded by archaeal genomes revealed amino acid substitutions in motifs IIIa and II in Sulfolobales and A. pernix Pus7-like enzymes. These conserved RNA:Psi-synthase- motifs are essential for catalysis. As expected, the recombinant Pyrococcus abyssi aPus7 was fully active and acted at positions 35 and 13 and other positions in tRNAs, while the recombinant S. solfataricus aPus7 was only found to have a poor activity at position 13. We showed that the presence of an A residue 3 to the target U residue is required for P. abyssi aPus7 activity, and that this is not the case for the reconstituted S. solfataricus H/ACA sRNP. In agreement with the possible formation of Psi 35 in tRNA(Tyr)(GUA) by aPus7 in P. abyssi and by an H/ACA sRNP in S. solfataricus, the A36G mutation in the P. abyssi tRNA(Tyr)(GUA) abolished Psi 35 formation when using P. abyssi extract, whereas the A36G substitution in the S. solfataricus pre-tRNA(Tyr) did not affect Psi 35 formation in this RNA when using an S. solfataricus extract.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a severe motor neuron disease caused by reduced levels of the ubiquitous Survival of MotoNeurons (SMN) protein. SMN is part of a complex that is essential for spliceosomal UsnRNP biogenesis. Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ribonucleoprotein particle crucial for co-translational targeting of secretory and membrane proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum. SRP biogenesis is a nucleo-cytoplasmic multistep process in which the protein components, except SRP54, assemble with 7S RNA in the nucleolus. Then, SRP54 is incorporated after export of the pre-particle into the cytoplasm. The assembly factors necessary for SRP biogenesis remain to be identified. Here, we show that 7S RNA binds to purified SMN complexes in vitro and that SMN complexes associate with SRP in cellular extracts. We identified the RNA determinants required. Moreover, we report a specific reduction of 7S RNA levels in the spinal cord of SMN-deficient mice, and in a Schizosaccharomyces pombe strain carrying a temperature-degron allele of SMN. Additionally, microinjected antibodies directed against SMN or Gemin2 interfere with the association of SRP54 with 7S RNA in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Our data show that reduced levels of the SMN protein lead to defect in SRP steady-state level and describe the SMN complex as the first identified cellular factor required for SRP biogenesis.
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