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.
Asparagine synthetase A (AsnA) catalyzes asparagine synthesis using aspartate, ATP, and ammonia as substrates. Asparagine is formed in two steps: the ?-carboxylate group of aspartate is first activated by ATP to form an aminoacyl-AMP before its amidation by a nucleophilic attack with an ammonium ion. Interestingly, this mechanism of amino acid activation resembles that used by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, which first activate the ?-carboxylate group of the amino acid to form also an aminoacyl-AMP before they transfer the activated amino acid onto the cognate tRNA. In a previous investigation, we have shown that the open reading frame of Pyrococcus abyssi annotated as asparaginyl-tRNA synthetase (AsnRS) 2 is, in fact, an archaeal asparagine synthetase A (AS-AR) that evolved from an ancestral aspartyl-tRNA synthetase (AspRS). We present here the crystal structure of this AS-AR. The fold of this protein is similar to that of bacterial AsnA and resembles the catalytic cores of AspRS and AsnRS. The high-resolution structures of AS-AR associated with its substrates and end-products help to understand the reaction mechanism of asparagine formation and release. A comparison of the catalytic core of AS-AR with those of archaeal AspRS and AsnRS and with that of bacterial AsnA reveals a strong conservation. This study uncovers how the active site of the ancestral AspRS rearranged throughout evolution to transform an enzyme activating the ?-carboxylate group into an enzyme that is able to activate the ?-carboxylate group of aspartate, which can react with ammonia instead of tRNA.
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