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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
RNA tertiary structure analysis by 2'-hydroxyl molecular interference.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 10-23-2014
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We introduce a melded chemical and computational approach for probing and modeling higher-order intramolecular tertiary interactions in RNA. 2'-Hydroxyl molecular interference (HMX) identifies nucleotides in highly packed regions of an RNA by exploiting the ability of bulky adducts at the 2'-hydroxyl position to disrupt overall RNA structure. HMX was found to be exceptionally selective for quantitative detection of higher-order and tertiary interactions. When incorporated as experimental constraints in discrete molecular dynamics simulations, HMX information yielded accurate three-dimensional models, emphasizing the power of molecular interference to guide RNA tertiary structure analysis and fold refinement. In the case of a large, multidomain RNA, the Tetrahymena group I intron, HMX identified multiple distinct sets of tertiary structure interaction groups in a single, concise experiment.
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Single-molecule correlated chemical probing of RNA.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 09-09-2014
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Complex higher-order RNA structures play critical roles in all facets of gene expression; however, the through-space interaction networks that define tertiary structures and govern sampling of multiple conformations are poorly understood. Here we describe single-molecule RNA structure analysis in which multiple sites of chemical modification are identified in single RNA strands by massively parallel sequencing and then analyzed for correlated and clustered interactions. The strategy thus identifies RNA interaction groups by mutational profiling (RING-MaP) and makes possible two expansive applications. First, we identify through-space interactions, create 3D models for RNAs spanning 80-265 nucleotides, and characterize broad classes of intramolecular interactions that stabilize RNA. Second, we distinguish distinct conformations in solution ensembles and reveal previously undetected hidden states and large-scale structural reconfigurations that occur in unfolded RNAs relative to native states. RING-MaP single-molecule nucleic acid structure interrogation enables concise and facile analysis of the global architectures and multiple conformations that govern function in RNA.
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Structure and dynamics of the HIV-1 frameshift element RNA.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 06-27-2014
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The HIV-1 ribosomal frameshift element is highly structured, regulates translation of all virally encoded enzymes, and is a promising therapeutic target. The prior model for this motif contains two helices separated by a three-nucleotide bulge. Modifications to this model were suggested by SHAPE chemical probing of an entire HIV-1 RNA genome. Novel features of the SHAPE-directed model include alternate helical conformations and a larger, more complex structure. These structural elements also support the presence of a secondary frameshift site within the frameshift domain. Here, we use oligonucleotide-directed structure perturbation, probing in the presence of formamide, and in-virion experiments to examine these models. Our data support a model in which the frameshift domain is anchored by a stable helix outside the conventional domain. Less stable helices within the domain can switch from the SHAPE-predicted to the two-helix conformation. Translational frameshifting assays with frameshift domain mutants support a functional role for the interactions predicted by and specific to the SHAPE-directed model. These results reveal that the HIV-1 frameshift domain is a complex, dynamic structure and underscore the importance of analyzing folding in the context of full-length RNAs.
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Ribosome RNA assembly intermediates visualized in living cells.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 05-12-2014
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In cells, RNAs likely adopt numerous intermediate conformations prior to formation of functional RNA-protein complexes. We used single-nucleotide resolution selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) to probe the structure of Escherichia coli 16S rRNA in healthy growing bacteria. SHAPE-directed modeling indicated that the predominant steady-state RNA conformational ensemble in dividing cells had a base-paired structure different from that expected on the basis of comparative sequence analysis and high-resolution studies of the 30S ribosomal subunit. We identified the major cause of these differences by stopping ongoing in-cell transcription (in essence, an in-cell RNA structure pulse-chase experiment) which caused the RNA to chase into a structure that closely resembled the expected one. Most helices that formed alternate RNA conformations under growth conditions interact directly with tertiary-binding ribosomal proteins and form a C-shape that surrounds the mRNA channel and decoding site. These in-cell experiments lead to a model in which ribosome assembly factors function as molecular struts to preorganize this intermediate and emphasize that the final stages of ribonucleoprotein assembly involve extensive protein-facilitated RNA conformational changes.
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RNA secondary structure modeling at consistent high accuracy using differential SHAPE.
RNA
PUBLISHED: 04-17-2014
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RNA secondary structure modeling is a challenging problem, and recent successes have raised the standards for accuracy, consistency, and tractability. Large increases in accuracy have been achieved by including data on reactivity toward chemical probes: Incorporation of 1M7 SHAPE reactivity data into an mfold-class algorithm results in median accuracies for base pair prediction that exceed 90%. However, a few RNA structures are modeled with significantly lower accuracy. Here, we show that incorporating differential reactivities from the NMIA and 1M6 reagents--which detect noncanonical and tertiary interactions--into prediction algorithms results in highly accurate secondary structure models for RNAs that were previously shown to be difficult to model. For these RNAs, 93% of accepted canonical base pairs were recovered in SHAPE-directed models. Discrepancies between accepted and modeled structures were small and appear to reflect genuine structural differences. Three-reagent SHAPE-directed modeling scales concisely to structurally complex RNAs to resolve the in-solution secondary structure analysis problem for many classes of RNA.
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RNA motif discovery by SHAPE and mutational profiling (SHAPE-MaP).
Nat. Methods
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2014
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Many biological processes are RNA-mediated, but higher-order structures for most RNAs are unknown, which makes it difficult to understand how RNA structure governs function. Here we describe selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension and mutational profiling (SHAPE-MaP) that makes possible de novo and large-scale identification of RNA functional motifs. Sites of 2'-hydroxyl acylation by SHAPE are encoded as noncomplementary nucleotides during cDNA synthesis, as measured by massively parallel sequencing. SHAPE-MaP-guided modeling identified greater than 90% of accepted base pairs in complex RNAs of known structure, and we used it to define a new model for the HIV-1 RNA genome. The HIV-1 model contains all known structured motifs and previously unknown elements, including experimentally validated pseudoknots. SHAPE-MaP yields accurate and high-resolution secondary-structure models, enables analysis of low-abundance RNAs, disentangles sequence polymorphisms in single experiments and will ultimately democratize RNA-structure analysis.
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An immature retroviral RNA genome resembles a kinetically trapped intermediate state.
J. Virol.
PUBLISHED: 03-12-2014
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Retroviral virions initially assemble in an immature form that differs from that of the mature infectious particle. The RNA genomes in both immature and infectious particles are dimers, and interactions between the RNA dimer and the viral Gag protein ensure selective packaging into nascent immature virions. We used high-sensitivity selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) to obtain nucleotide-resolution structural information from scarce, femtomole quantities of Moloney murine leukemia virus (MuLV) RNA inside authentic virions and from viral RNA extracted from immature (protease-minus) virions. Our secondary structure model of the dimerization and packaging domain indicated that a stable intermolecular duplex known as PAL2, previously shown to be present in mature infectious MuLV particles, was sequestered in an alternate stem-loop structure inside immature virions. The intermediate state corresponded closely to a late-folding intermediate that we detected in time-resolved studies of the free MuLV RNA, suggesting that the immature RNA structure reflects trapping of the intermediate folding state by interactions in the immature virion. We propose models for the RNA-protein interactions that trap the RNA in the immature state and for the conformational rearrangement that occurs during maturation of virion particles.
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Validating fragment-based drug discovery for biological RNAs: lead fragments bind and remodel the TPP riboswitch specifically.
Chem. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitches regulate essential genes in bacteria by changing conformation upon binding intracellular TPP. Previous studies using fragment-based approaches identified small molecule "fragments" that bind this gene-regulatory mRNA domain. Crystallographic studies now show that, despite having micromolar Kds, four different fragments bind the TPP riboswitch site-specifically, occupying the pocket that recognizes the aminopyrimidine of TPP. Unexpectedly, the unoccupied site that would recognize the pyrophosphate of TPP rearranges into a structure distinct from that of the cognate complex. This idiosyncratic fragment-induced conformation, also characterized by small-angle X-ray scattering and chemical probing, represents a possible mechanism for adventitious ligand discrimination by the riboswitch, and suggests that off-pathway conformations of RNAs can be targeted for drug development. Our structures, together with previous screening studies, demonstrate the feasibility of fragment-based drug discovery against RNA targets.
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The cellular environment stabilizes adenine riboswitch RNA structure.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 11-20-2013
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There are large differences between the intracellular environment and the conditions widely used to study RNA structure and function in vitro. To assess the effects of the crowded cellular environment on RNA, we examined the structure and ligand binding function of the adenine riboswitch aptamer domain in healthy, growing Escherichia coli cells at single-nucleotide resolution on the minute time scale using SHAPE (selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension). The ligand-bound aptamer structure is essentially the same in cells and in buffer at 1 mM Mg(2+), the approximate Mg(2+) concentration we measured in cells. In contrast, the in-cell conformation of the ligand-free aptamer is much more similar to the fully folded ligand-bound state. Even adding high Mg(2+) concentrations to the buffer used for in vitro analyses did not yield the conformation observed for the free aptamer in cells. The cellular environment thus stabilizes the aptamer significantly more than does Mg(2+) alone. Our results show that the intracellular environment has a large effect on RNA structure that ultimately favors highly organized conformations.
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Role of context in RNA structure: flanking sequences reconfigure CAG motif folding in huntingtin exon 1 transcripts.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 11-07-2013
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The length of the CAG-repeat region in the huntingtin mRNA is predictive of Huntingtons disease. Structural studies of CAG-repeat-containing RNAs suggest that these sequences form simple hairpin structures; however, in the context of the full-length huntingtin mRNA, CAG repeats may form complex structures that could be targeted for therapeutic intervention. We examined the structures of transcripts spanning the first exon of the huntingtin mRNA with both healthy and disease-prone repeat lengths. In transcripts with 17-70 repeats, the CAG sequences base paired extensively with nucleotides in the 5 UTR and with conserved downstream sequences including a CCG-repeat region. In huntingtin transcripts with healthy numbers of repeats, the previously observed CAG hairpin was either absent or short. In contrast, in transcripts with disease-associated numbers of repeats, a CAG hairpin was present and extended from a three-helix junction. Our findings demonstrate the profound importance of sequence context in RNA folding and identify specific structural differences between healthy and disease-inducing huntingtin alleles that may be targets for therapeutic intervention.
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Accuracy of the concentration of morphine infusions prepared for patients in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Arch. Dis. Child.
PUBLISHED: 10-22-2013
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To investigate the accuracy of morphine infusions prepared for neonates in relation to the label strength and to identify the differences in deviation between infusions made in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and those dispensed ready-to-use from pharmacy.
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Long-range architecture in a viral RNA genome.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 04-25-2013
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We have developed a model for the secondary structure of the 1058-nucleotide plus-strand RNA genome of the icosahedral satellite tobacco mosaic virus (STMV) using nucleotide-resolution SHAPE chemical probing of the viral RNA isolated from virions and within the virion, perturbation of interactions distant in the primary sequence, and atomic force microscopy. These data are consistent with long-range base pairing interactions and a three-domain genome architecture. The compact domains of the STMV RNA have dimensions of 10-45 nm. Each of the three domains corresponds to a specific functional component of the virus: The central domain corresponds to the coding sequence of the single (capsid) protein encoded by the virus, whereas the 5 and 3 untranslated domains span signals essential for translation and replication, respectively. This three-domain architecture is compatible with interactions between the capsid protein and short RNA helices previously visualized by crystallography. STMV is among the simplest of the icosahedral viruses but, nonetheless, has an RNA genome with a complex higher-order structure that likely reflects high information content and an evolutionary relationship between RNA domain structure and essential replicative functions.
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Comparison of SIV and HIV-1 genomic RNA structures reveals impact of sequence evolution on conserved and non-conserved structural motifs.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2013
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RNA secondary structure plays a central role in the replication and metabolism of all RNA viruses, including retroviruses like HIV-1. However, structures with known function represent only a fraction of the secondary structure reported for HIV-1(NL4-3). One tool to assess the importance of RNA structures is to examine their conservation over evolutionary time. To this end, we used SHAPE to model the secondary structure of a second primate lentiviral genome, SIVmac239, which shares only 50% sequence identity at the nucleotide level with HIV-1NL4-3. Only about half of the paired nucleotides are paired in both genomic RNAs and, across the genome, just 71 base pairs form with the same pairing partner in both genomes. On average the RNA secondary structure is thus evolving at a much faster rate than the sequence. Structure at the Gag-Pro-Pol frameshift site is maintained but in a significantly altered form, while the impact of selection for maintaining a protein binding interaction can be seen in the conservation of pairing partners in the small RRE stems where Rev binds. Structures that are conserved between SIVmac239 and HIV-1(NL4-3) also occur at the 5 polyadenylation sequence, in the plus strand primer sites, PPT and cPPT, and in the stem-loop structure that includes the first splice acceptor site. The two genomes are adenosine-rich and cytidine-poor. The structured regions are enriched in guanosines, while unpaired regions are enriched in adenosines, and functionaly important structures have stronger base pairing than nonconserved structures. We conclude that much of the secondary structure is the result of fortuitous pairing in a metastable state that reforms during sequence evolution. However, secondary structure elements with important function are stabilized by higher guanosine content that allows regions of structure to persist as sequence evolution proceeds, and, within the confines of selective pressure, allows structures to evolve.
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Accurate SHAPE-directed RNA secondary structure modeling, including pseudoknots.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 03-15-2013
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A pseudoknot forms in an RNA when nucleotides in a loop pair with a region outside the helices that close the loop. Pseudoknots occur relatively rarely in RNA but are highly overrepresented in functionally critical motifs in large catalytic RNAs, in riboswitches, and in regulatory elements of viruses. Pseudoknots are usually excluded from RNA structure prediction algorithms. When included, these pairings are difficult to model accurately, especially in large RNAs, because allowing this structure dramatically increases the number of possible incorrect folds and because it is difficult to search the fold space for an optimal structure. We have developed a concise secondary structure modeling approach that combines SHAPE (selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension) experimental chemical probing information and a simple, but robust, energy model for the entropic cost of single pseudoknot formation. Structures are predicted with iterative refinement, using a dynamic programming algorithm. This melded experimental and thermodynamic energy function predicted the secondary structures and the pseudoknots for a set of 21 challenging RNAs of known structure ranging in size from 34 to 530 nt. On average, 93% of known base pairs were predicted, and all pseudoknots in well-folded RNAs were identified.
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A guanosine-centric mechanism for RNA chaperone function.
Science
PUBLISHED: 03-07-2013
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RNA chaperones are ubiquitous, heterogeneous proteins essential for RNA structural biogenesis and function. We investigated the mechanism of chaperone-mediated RNA folding by following the time-resolved dimerization of the packaging domain of a retroviral RNA at nucleotide resolution. In the absence of the nucleocapsid (NC) chaperone, dimerization proceeded through multiple, slow-folding intermediates. In the presence of NC, dimerization occurred rapidly through a single structural intermediate. The RNA binding domain of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 protein, a structurally unrelated chaperone, also accelerated dimerization. Both chaperones interacted primarily with guanosine residues. Replacing guanosine with more weakly pairing inosine yielded an RNA that folded rapidly without a facilitating chaperone. These results show that RNA chaperones can simplify RNA folding landscapes by weakening intramolecular interactions involving guanosine and explain many RNA chaperone activities.
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The genetic code as expressed through relationships between mRNA structure and protein function.
FEBS Lett.
PUBLISHED: 02-22-2013
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Structured RNA elements within messenger RNA often direct or modulate the cellular production of active proteins. As reviewed here, RNA structures have been discovered that govern nearly every step in protein production: mRNA production and stability; translation initiation, elongation, and termination; protein folding; and cellular localization. Regulatory RNA elements are common within RNAs from every domain of life. This growing body of RNA-mediated mechanisms continues to reveal new ways in which mRNA structure regulates translation. We integrate examples from several different classes of RNA structure-mediated regulation to present a global perspective that suggests that the secondary and tertiary structure of RNA ultimately constitutes an additional level of the genetic code that both guides and regulates protein biosynthesis.
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Principles for understanding the accuracy of SHAPE-directed RNA structure modeling.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2013
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Accurate RNA structure modeling is an important, incompletely solved, challenge. Single-nucleotide resolution SHAPE (selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension) yields an experimental measurement of local nucleotide flexibility that can be incorporated as pseudo-free energy change constraints to direct secondary structure predictions. Prior work from our laboratory has emphasized both the overall accuracy of this approach and the need for nuanced interpretation of modeled structures. Recent studies by Das and colleagues [Kladwang, W., et al. (2011) Biochemistry 50, 8049; Nat. Chem. 3, 954], focused on analyzing six small RNAs, yielded poorer RNA secondary structure predictions than expected on the basis of prior benchmarking efforts. To understand the features that led to these divergent results, we re-examined four RNAs yielding the poorest results in this recent work: tRNA(Phe), the adenine and cyclic-di-GMP riboswitches, and 5S rRNA. Most of the errors reported by Das and colleagues reflected nonstandard experiment and data processing choices, and selective scoring rules. For two RNAs, tRNA(Phe) and the adenine riboswitch, secondary structure predictions are nearly perfect if no experimental information is included but were rendered inaccurate by the SHAPE data of Das and colleagues. When best practices were used, single-sequence SHAPE-directed secondary structure modeling recovered ~93% of individual base pairs and >90% of helices in the four RNAs, essentially indistinguishable from the results of the mutate-and-map approach with the exception of a single helix in the 5S rRNA. The field of experimentally directed RNA secondary structure prediction is entering a phase focused on the most difficult prediction challenges. We outline five constructive principles for guiding this field forward.
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Statistical analysis of SHAPE-directed RNA secondary structure modeling.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2013
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The ability to predict RNA secondary structure is fundamental for understanding and manipulating RNA function. The information obtained from selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) experiments greatly improves the accuracy of RNA secondary structure prediction. Recently, Das and colleagues [Kladwang, W., et al. (2011) Biochemistry 50, 8049-8056] proposed a "bootstrapping" approach for estimating the variance and helix-by-helix confidence levels of predicted secondary structures based on resampling (randomizing and summing) the measured SHAPE data. We show that the specific resampling approach described by Kladwang et al. introduces systematic errors and underestimates confidence in secondary structure prediction using SHAPE data. Instead, a leave-data-out jackknife approach better estimates the influence of a given experimental data set on SHAPE-directed secondary structure modeling. Even when 35% of the data were left out in the jackknife approach, the confidence levels of SHAPE-directed secondary structure prediction were significantly higher than those calculated by Das and colleagues using bootstrapping. Helix confidence levels were thus underestimated in the recent study, and the resampling approach implemented by Kladwang et al. is not an appropriate metric for evaluating SHAPE-directed secondary structure modeling.
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Femtomole SHAPE reveals regulatory structures in the authentic XMRV RNA genome.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
PUBLISHED: 11-29-2011
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Higher-order structure influences critical functions in nearly all noncoding and coding RNAs. Most single-nucleotide resolution RNA structure determination technologies cannot be used to analyze RNA from scarce biological samples, like viral genomes. To make quantitative RNA structure analysis applicable to a much wider array of RNA structure-function problems, we developed and applied high-sensitivity selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) to structural analysis of authentic genomic RNA of the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV). For analysis of fluorescently labeled cDNAs generated in high-sensitivity SHAPE experiments, we developed a two-color capillary electrophoresis approach with zeptomole molecular detection limits and subfemtomole sensitivity for complete SHAPE experiments involving hundreds of individual RNA structure measurements. High-sensitivity SHAPE data correlated closely (R = 0.89) with data obtained by conventional capillary electrophoresis. Using high-sensitivity SHAPE, we determined the dimeric structure of the XMRV packaging domain, examined dynamic interactions between the packaging domain RNA and viral nucleocapsid protein inside virion particles, and identified the packaging signal for this virus. Despite extensive sequence differences between XMRV and the intensively studied Moloney murine leukemia virus, architectures of the regulatory domains are similar and reveal common principles of gammaretrovirus RNA genome packaging.
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Selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by protection from exoribonuclease (RNase-detected SHAPE) for direct analysis of covalent adducts and of nucleotide flexibility in RNA.
Nat Protoc
PUBLISHED: 10-06-2011
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RNA SHAPE chemistry yields quantitative, single-nucleotide resolution structural information based on the reaction of the 2-hydroxyl group of conformationally flexible nucleotides with electrophilic SHAPE reagents. However, SHAPE technology has been limited by the requirement that sites of RNA modification be detected by primer extension. Primer extension results in loss of information at both the 5 and 3 ends of an RNA and requires multiple experimental steps. Here we describe RNase-detected SHAPE that uses a processive, 3?5 exoribonuclease, RNase R, to detect covalent adducts in 5-end-labeled RNA in a one-tube experiment. RNase R degrades RNA but stops quantitatively three and four nucleotides 3 of a nucleotide containing a covalent adduct at the ribose 2-hydroxyl or the pairing face of a nucleobase, respectively. We illustrate this technology by characterizing ligand-induced folding for the aptamer domain of the Escherichia coli thiamine pyrophosphate riboswitch RNA. RNase-detected SHAPE is a facile, two-day approach that can be used to analyze diverse covalent adducts in any RNA molecule, including short RNAs not amenable to analysis by primer extension and RNAs with functionally important structures at their 5 or 3 ends.
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Impact of age, race and decade of treatment on overall survival in a critical population analysis of 40,000 multiple myeloma patients.
Int. J. Hematol.
PUBLISHED: 07-12-2011
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With the availability of novel agents, the overall survival (OS) in patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM) has improved over the last decade. Data on 40,294 MM patients in the years from 1973 to 2003 were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) of the US National Cancer Institute. Statistical analyses evaluating gender, race, age, and year of diagnosis were performed using univariate and multivariate Cox regression models for the OS endpoint. The mean patient age at diagnosis was 68.3 years. Mean survival was 30 months (median = 19 months). Asian/Pacific Islander race was associated with an improved OS, HR 0.90 (CI 0.86-0.95, P < 0.001). American Indian/Alaska Native race was associated with a decreased OS, HR 1.18 (CI 1.01-1.38, P = 0.040). Multivariate analysis did not reveal statistically significant differences in OS between patients in the white and black race (P = 0.709). Younger age (age <65, and 65-75) was associated with improved OS when compared with patients >75 years of age (all P < 0.001). Recent treatment decades (1983-1992 and 1993-2003) were associated with improved OS on multivariate analysis with HR 0.88 (CI 0.88-0.89, P < 0.001) and HR 0.83 (CI 0.81-0.85, P < 0.001), respectively. As the largest population analysis to date, this study reveals a statistically significant improvement in OS for patients who were treated in more recent decades, even before the availability of novel agents. Patients who were <65 years of age and Asian/Pacific Islander race groups exhibited superior levels of OS, whereas American Indian/Alaska Native groups had decreased OS.
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Exploring RNA structural codes with SHAPE chemistry.
Acc. Chem. Res.
PUBLISHED: 05-26-2011
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RNA is the central conduit for gene expression. This role depends on an ability to encode information at two levels: in its linear sequence and in the complex structures RNA can form by folding back on itself. Understanding the global structure-function interrelationships mediated by RNA remains a great challenge in molecular and structural biology. In this Account, we discuss evolving work in our laboratory focused on creating facile, generic, quantitative, accurate, and highly informative approaches for understanding RNA structure in biologically important environments. The core innovation derives from our discovery that the nucleophilic reactivity of the ribose 2-hydroxyl in RNA is gated by local nucleotide flexibility. The 2-hydroxyl is reactive at conformationally flexible positions but is unreactive at nucleotides constrained by base pairing. Sites of modification in RNA can be detected efficiently either using primer extension or by protection from exoribonucleolytic degradation. This technology is now called SHAPE, for selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (or protection from exoribonuclease). SHAPE reactivities are largely independent of nucleotide identity but correlate closely with model-free measurements of molecular order. The simple SHAPE reaction is thus a robust, nucleotide-resolution, biophysical measurement of RNA structure. SHAPE can be used to provide an experimental correction to RNA folding algorithms and, in favorable cases, yield kilobase-scale secondary structure predictions with high accuracies. SHAPE chemistry is based on very simple reactive carbonyl centers that can be varied to yield slow- and fast-reacting reagents. Differential SHAPE reactivities can be used to detect specific RNA positions with slow local nucleotide dynamics. These positions, which are often in the C2-endo conformation, have the potential to function as molecular timers that regulate RNA folding and function. In addition, fast-reacting SHAPE reagents can be used to visualize RNA structural biogenesis and RNA-protein assembly reactions in one second snapshots in very straightforward experiments. The application of SHAPE to challenging problems in biology has revealed surprises in well-studied systems. New regions have been identified that are likely to have critical functional roles on the basis of their high levels of RNA structure. For example, SHAPE analysis of large RNAs, such as authentic viral RNA genomes, suggests that RNA structure organizes regulatory motifs and regulates splicing, protein folding, genome recombination, and ribonucleoprotein assembly. SHAPE has also revealed limitations to the hierarchical model for RNA folding. Continued development and application of SHAPE technologies will advance our understanding of the many ways in which the genetic code is expressed through the underlying structure of RNA.
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Sharing and archiving nucleic acid structure mapping data.
RNA
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2011
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Nucleic acids are particularly amenable to structural characterization using chemical and enzymatic probes. Each individual structure mapping experiment reveals specific information about the structure and/or dynamics of the nucleic acid. Currently, there is no simple approach for making these data publically available in a standardized format. We therefore developed a standard for reporting the results of single nucleotide resolution nucleic acid structure mapping experiments, or SNRNASMs. We propose a schema for sharing nucleic acid chemical probing data that uses generic public servers for storing, retrieving, and searching the data. We have also developed a consistent nomenclature (ontology) within the Ontology of Biomedical Investigations (OBI), which provides unique identifiers (termed persistent URLs, or PURLs) for classifying the data. Links to standardized data sets shared using our proposed format along with a tutorial and links to templates can be found at http://snrnasm.bio.unc.edu.
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Definition of a high-affinity Gag recognition structure mediating packaging of a retroviral RNA genome.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 10-25-2010
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All retroviral genomic RNAs contain a cis-acting packaging signal by which dimeric genomes are selectively packaged into nascent virions. However, it is not understood how Gag (the viral structural protein) interacts with these signals to package the genome with high selectivity. We probed the structure of murine leukemia virus RNA inside virus particles using SHAPE, a high-throughput RNA structure analysis technology. These experiments showed that NC (the nucleic acid binding domain derived from Gag) binds within the virus to the sequence UCUG-UR-UCUG. Recombinant Gag and NC proteins bound to this same RNA sequence in dimeric RNA in vitro; in all cases, interactions were strongest with the first U and final G in each UCUG element. The RNA structural context is critical: High-affinity binding requires base-paired regions flanking this motif, and two UCUG-UR-UCUG motifs are specifically exposed in the viral RNA dimer. Mutating the guanosine residues in these two motifs--only four nucleotides per genomic RNA--reduced packaging 100-fold, comparable to the level of nonspecific packaging. These results thus explain the selective packaging of dimeric RNA. This paradigm has implications for RNA recognition in general, illustrating how local context and RNA structure can create information-rich recognition signals from simple single-stranded sequence elements in large RNAs.
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RNA structures facilitate recombination-mediated gene swapping in HIV-1.
J. Virol.
PUBLISHED: 09-29-2010
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Many viruses, including retroviruses, undergo frequent recombination, a process which can increase their rate of adaptive evolution. In the case of HIV, recombination has been responsible for the generation of numerous intersubtype recombinant variants with epidemiological importance in the AIDS pandemic. Although it is known that fragments of genetic material do not combine randomly during the generation of recombinant viruses, the mechanisms that lead to preferential recombination at specific sites are not fully understood. Here we reanalyze recent independent data defining (i) the structure of a complete HIV-1 RNA genome and (ii) favorable sites for recombination. We show that in the absence of selection acting on recombinant genomes, regions harboring RNA structures in the NL4-3 model strain are strongly predictive of recombination breakpoints in the HIV-1 env genes of primary isolates. In addition, we found that breakpoints within recombinant HIV-1 genomes sampled from human populations, which have been acted upon extensively by natural selection, also colocalize with RNA structures. Critically, junctions between genes are enriched in structured RNA elements and are also preferred sites for generating functional recombinant forms. These data suggest that RNA structure-mediated recombination allows the virus to exchange intact genes rather than arbitrary subgene fragments, which is likely to increase the overall viability and replication success of the recombinant HIV progeny.
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Selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by protection from exoribonuclease.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
PUBLISHED: 07-06-2010
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Selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) is a powerful approach for characterizing RNA structure and dynamics at single-nucleotide resolution. However, SHAPE technology is limited, sometimes severely, because primer extension detection obscures structural information for approximately 15 nts at the 5 end and 40-60 nts at the 3 end of the RNA. Moreover, detection by primer extension is more complex than the actual structure-selective chemical interrogation step. Here we quantify covalent adducts in RNA directly by adduct-inhibited exoribonuclease degradation. RNA 2-O-adducts block processivity of a 3-->5 exoribonuclease, RNase R, to produce fragments that terminate three nucleotides 3 of the modification site. We analyzed the structure of the native thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitch aptamer domain and identified large changes in local nucleotide dynamics and global RNA structure upon ligand binding. In addition to numerous changes that can be attributed to ligand recognition, we identify a single nucleotide bulge register shift, distant from the binding site, that stabilizes the ligand-bound structure. Selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by protection from exoribonuclease (RNase-detected SHAPE) should prove broadly useful for facile structural analysis of small noncoding RNAs and for RNAs that have functionally critical structures at their 5 and 3 ends.
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Robust and generic RNA modeling using inferred constraints: a structure for the hepatitis C virus IRES pseudoknot domain.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 06-16-2010
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RNA function is dependent on its structure, yet three-dimensional folds for most biologically important RNAs are unknown. We develop a generic discrete molecular dynamics-based modeling system that uses long-range constraints inferred from diverse biochemical or bioinformatic analyses to create statistically significant (p < 0.01) nativelike folds for RNAs of known structure ranging from 45 to 158 nucleotides. We then predict the unknown structure of the hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site (IRES) pseudoknot domain. The resulting RNA model rationalizes independent solvent accessibility and cryo-electron microscopy structure information. The pseudoknot domain positions the AUG start codon near the mRNA channel and is tRNA-like, suggesting the IRES employs molecular mimicry as a functional strategy.
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Nonhierarchical ribonucleoprotein assembly suggests a strain-propagation model for protein-facilitated RNA folding.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2010
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Proteins play diverse and critical roles in cellular ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) including promoting formation of and stabilizing active RNA conformations. Yet, the conformational changes required to convert large RNAs into active RNPs have proven difficult to characterize fully. Here we use high-resolution approaches to monitor both local nucleotide flexibility and solvent accessibility for nearly all nucleotides in the bI3 group I intron RNP in four assembly states: the free RNA, maturase-bound RNA, Mrs1-bound RNA, and the complete six-component holocomplex. The free RNA is misfolded relative to the secondary structure required for splicing. The maturase and Mrs1 proteins each stabilized long-range tertiary interactions, but neither protein alone induced folding into the functional secondary structure. In contrast, simultaneous binding by both proteins results in large secondary structure rearrangements in the RNA and yielded the catalytically active group I intron structure. Secondary and tertiary folding of the RNA component of the bI3 RNP are thus not independent: RNA folding is strongly nonhierarchical. These results emphasize that protein-mediated stabilization of RNA tertiary interactions functions to pull the secondary structure into an energetically disfavored, but functional, conformation and emphasize a new role for facilitator proteins in RNP assembly.
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SHAPE-directed RNA secondary structure prediction.
Methods
PUBLISHED: 06-03-2010
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The diverse functional roles of RNA are determined by its underlying structure. Accurate and comprehensive knowledge of RNA structure would inform a broader understanding of RNA biology and facilitate exploiting RNA as a biotechnological tool and therapeutic target. Determining the pattern of base pairing, or secondary structure, of RNA is a first step in these endeavors. Advances in experimental, computational, and comparative analysis approaches for analyzing secondary structure have yielded accurate structures for many small RNAs, but only a few large (>500 nts) RNAs. In addition, most current methods for determining a secondary structure require considerable effort, analytical expertise, and technical ingenuity. In this review, we outline an efficient strategy for developing accurate secondary structure models for RNAs of arbitrary length. This approach melds structural information obtained using SHAPE chemistry with structure prediction using nearest-neighbor rules and the dynamic programming algorithm implemented in the RNAstructure program. Prediction accuracies reach >or=95% for RNAs on the kilobase scale. This approach facilitates both development of new models and refinement of existing RNA structure models, which we illustrate using the Gag-Pol frameshift element in an HIV-1 M-group genome. Most promisingly, integrated experimental and computational refinement brings closer the ultimate goal of efficiently and accurately establishing the secondary structure for any RNA sequence.
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On the significance of an RNA tertiary structure prediction.
RNA
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2010
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Tertiary structure prediction is important for understanding structure-function relationships for RNAs whose structures are unknown and for characterizing RNA states recalcitrant to direct analysis. However, it is unknown what root-mean-square deviation (RMSD) corresponds to a statistically significant RNA tertiary structure prediction. We use discrete molecular dynamics to generate RNA-like folds for structures up to 161 nucleotides (nt) that have complex tertiary interactions and then determine the RMSD distribution between these decoys. These distributions are Gaussian-like. The mean RMSD increases with RNA length and is smaller if secondary structure constraints are imposed while generating decoys. The compactness of RNA molecules with true tertiary folds is intermediate between closely packed spheres and a freely jointed chain. We use this scaling relationship to define an expression relating RMSD with the confidence that a structure prediction is better than that expected by chance. This is the prediction significance, and corresponds to a P-value. For a 100-nt RNA, the RMSD of predicted structures should be within 25 A of the accepted structure to reach the P
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Advances in RNA structure analysis by chemical probing.
Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-11-2010
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RNA is arguably the most versatile biological macromolecule because of its ability both to encode and to manipulate genetic information. The diverse roles of RNA depend on its ability to fold back on itself to form biologically functional structures that bind small molecule and large protein ligands, to change conformation, and to affect the cellular regulatory state. These features of RNA biology can be structurally interrogated using chemical mapping experiments. The usefulness and applications of RNA chemical probing technologies have expanded dramatically over the past five years because of several critical advances. These innovations include new sequence-independent RNA chemistries, algorithmic tools for high-throughput analysis of complex data sets composed of thousands of measurements, new approaches for interpreting chemical probing data for both secondary and tertiary structure prediction, facile methods for following time-dependent processes, and the willingness of individual research groups to tackle increasingly bold problems in RNA structural biology.
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The Mrs1 splicing factor binds the bI3 group I intron at each of two tetraloop-receptor motifs.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-11-2010
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Most large ribozymes require protein cofactors in order to function efficiently. The yeast mitochondrial bI3 group I intron requires two proteins for efficient splicing, Mrs1 and the bI3 maturase. Mrs1 has evolved from DNA junction resolvases to function as an RNA cofactor for at least two group I introns; however, the RNA binding site and the mechanism by which Mrs1 facilitates splicing were unknown. Here we use high-throughput RNA structure analysis to show that Mrs1 binds a ubiquitous RNA tertiary structure motif, the GNRA tetraloop-receptor interaction, at two sites in the bI3 RNA. Mrs1 also interacts at similar tetraloop-receptor elements, as well as other structures, in the self-folding Azoarcus group I intron and in the RNase P enzyme. Thus, Mrs1 recognizes general features found in the tetraloop-receptor motif. Identification of the two Mrs1 binding sites now makes it possible to create a model of the complete six-component bI3 ribonucleoprotein. All protein cofactors bind at the periphery of the RNA such that every long-range RNA tertiary interaction is stabilized by protein binding, involving either Mrs1 or the bI3 maturase. This work emphasizes the strong evolutionary pressure to bolster RNA tertiary structure with RNA-binding interactions as seen in the ribosome, spliceosome, and other large RNA machines.
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Secondary structure of the mature ex virio Moloney murine leukemia virus genomic RNA dimerization domain.
J. Virol.
PUBLISHED: 11-04-2009
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Retroviral genomes are dimeric, comprised of two sense-strand RNAs linked at their 5 ends by noncovalent base pairing and tertiary interactions. Viral maturation involves large-scale morphological changes in viral proteins and in genomic RNA dimer structures to yield infectious virions. Structural studies have largely focused on simplified in vitro models of genomic RNA dimers even though the relationship between these models and authentic viral RNA is unknown. We evaluate the secondary structure of the minimal dimerization domain in genomes isolated from Moloney murine leukemia virions using a quantitative and single nucleotide resolution RNA structure analysis technology (selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension, or SHAPE). Results are consistent with an architecture in which the RNA dimer is stabilized by four primary interactions involving two sets of intermolecular base pairs and two loop-loop interactions. The dimerization domain can independently direct its own folding since heating and refolding reproduce the same structure as visualized in genomic RNA isolated from virions. Authentic ex virio RNA has a SHAPE reactivity profile similar to that of a simplified transcript dimer generated in vitro, with the important exception of a region that appears to form a compact stem-loop only in the virion-isolated RNA. Finally, we analyze the conformational changes that accompany folding of monomers into dimers in vitro. These experiments support well-defined structural models for an authentic dimerization domain and also emphasize that many features of mature genomic RNA dimers can be reproduced in vitro using properly designed, simplified RNAs.
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Time-resolved RNA SHAPE chemistry: quantitative RNA structure analysis in one-second snapshots and at single-nucleotide resolution.
Nat Protoc
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2009
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RNA selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) chemistry exploits the discovery that conformationally dynamic nucleotides preferentially adopt configurations that facilitate reaction between the 2-OH group and a hydroxyl-selective electrophile, such as benzoyl cyanide (BzCN), to form a 2-O-adduct. BzCN is ideally suited for quantitative, time-resolved analysis of RNA folding and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assembly mechanisms because this reagent both reacts with flexible RNA nucleotides and also undergoes auto-inactivating hydrolysis with a half-life of 0.25 s at 37 degrees C. RNA folding is initiated by addition of Mg(2+) or protein, or other change in solution conditions, and nucleotide resolution structural images are obtained by adding aliquots of the evolving reaction to BzCN and then waiting for 1 second. Sites of the 2-O-adduct formation are subsequently scored as stops to primer extension using reverse transcriptase. This time-resolved SHAPE protocol makes it possible to obtain 1-second structural snapshots in time-resolved kinetic studies for RNAs of arbitrary length and complexity in a straightforward and concise experiment.
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C2-endo nucleotides as molecular timers suggested by the folding of an RNA domain.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 08-26-2009
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A striking and widespread observation is that higher-order folding for many RNAs is very slow, often requiring minutes. In some cases, slow folding reflects the need to disrupt stable, but incorrect, interactions. However, a molecular explanation for slow folding in most RNAs is unknown. The specificity domain of the Bacillus subtilis RNase P ribozyme undergoes a rate-limiting folding step on the minute time-scale. This RNA also contains a C2-endo nucleotide at A130 that exhibits extremely slow local conformational dynamics. This nucleotide is evolutionarily conserved and essential for tRNA recognition by RNase P. Here we show that deleting this single nucleotide accelerates folding by an order of magnitude even though this mutation does not change the global fold of the RNA. These results demonstrate that formation of a single stacking interaction at a C2-endo nucleotide comprises the rate-determining step for folding an entire 154 nucleotide RNA. C2-endo nucleotides exhibit slow local dynamics in structures spanning isolated helices to complex tertiary interactions. Because the motif is both simple and ubiquitous, C2-endo nucleotides may function as molecular timers in many RNA folding and ligand recognition reactions.
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Influence of nucleotide identity on ribose 2-hydroxyl reactivity in RNA.
RNA
PUBLISHED: 05-20-2009
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Hydroxyl-selective electrophiles, including N-methylisatoic anhydride (NMIA) and 1-methyl-7-nitroisatoic anhydride (1M7), are broadly useful for RNA structure analysis because they react preferentially with the ribose 2-OH group at conformationally unconstrained or flexible nucleotides. Each nucleotide in an RNA has the potential to form an adduct with these reagents to yield a comprehensive, nucleotide-resolution, view of RNA structure. However, it is possible that factors other than local structure modulate reactivity. To evaluate the influence of base identity on the intrinsic reactivity of each nucleotide, we analyze NMIA and 1M7 reactivity using four distinct RNAs, under both native and denaturing conditions. We show that guanosine and adenosine residues have identical intrinsic 2-hydroxyl reactivities at pH 8.0 and are 1.4 and 1.7 times more reactive than uridine and cytidine, respectively. These subtle, but statistically significant, differences do not impact the ability of selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension-based (SHAPE) methods to establish an RNA secondary structure or monitor RNA folding in solution because base-specific influences are much smaller than the reactivity differences between paired and unpaired nucleotides.
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Architecture and secondary structure of an entire HIV-1 RNA genome.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 05-11-2009
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Single-stranded RNA viruses encompass broad classes of infectious agents and cause the common cold, cancer, AIDS and other serious health threats. Viral replication is regulated at many levels, including the use of conserved genomic RNA structures. Most potential regulatory elements in viral RNA genomes are uncharacterized. Here we report the structure of an entire HIV-1 genome at single nucleotide resolution using SHAPE, a high-throughput RNA analysis technology. The genome encodes protein structure at two levels. In addition to the correspondence between RNA and protein primary sequences, a correlation exists between high levels of RNA structure and sequences that encode inter-domain loops in HIV proteins. This correlation suggests that RNA structure modulates ribosome elongation to promote native protein folding. Some simple genome elements previously shown to be important, including the ribosomal gag-pol frameshift stem-loop, are components of larger RNA motifs. We also identify organizational principles for unstructured RNA regions, including splice site acceptors and hypervariable regions. These results emphasize that the HIV-1 genome and, potentially, many coding RNAs are punctuated by previously unrecognized regulatory motifs and that extensive RNA structure constitutes an important component of the genetic code.
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Quantitative analysis of RNA solvent accessibility by N-silylation of guanosine.
Biochemistry
PUBLISHED: 02-20-2009
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An important unmet experimental objective is to analyze local RNA structure in a way that is strictly governed by solvent accessibility. Essentially all chemical probes currently used to evaluate RNA (and DNA) structure via formation of stable covalent adducts employ carbon-based electrophiles, which undergo nucleophilic attack from limited spatial orientations and via highly polar transition states. Reaction by these classical electrophiles is therefore gated by both solvent accessibility and additional electrostatic factors. In contrast, silicon electrophiles react via their d-orbitals and consequently can undergo nucleophilic attack from many spatial orientations. In this work, we explore the use of silanes to react indiscriminately with RNA such that the primary factor governing reactivity is solvent accessibility. We show that N,N-(dimethylamino)dimethylchlorosilane (DMAS-Cl) reacts at the guanosine N2 position to yield a near-perfect measure (r >or= 0.82) of solvent accessibility in an RNA with a complex tertiary structure. This silane-based chemistry represents a direct and quantitative approach for probing solvent accessibility at the base pairing face of guanosine in RNA.
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Accurate SHAPE-directed RNA structure determination.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 02-14-2009
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Almost all RNAs can fold to form extensive base-paired secondary structures. Many of these structures then modulate numerous fundamental elements of gene expression. Deducing these structure-function relationships requires that it be possible to predict RNA secondary structures accurately. However, RNA secondary structure prediction for large RNAs, such that a single predicted structure for a single sequence reliably represents the correct structure, has remained an unsolved problem. Here, we demonstrate that quantitative, nucleotide-resolution information from a SHAPE experiment can be interpreted as a pseudo-free energy change term and used to determine RNA secondary structure with high accuracy. Free energy minimization, by using SHAPE pseudo-free energies, in conjunction with nearest neighbor parameters, predicts the secondary structure of deproteinized Escherichia coli 16S rRNA (>1,300 nt) and a set of smaller RNAs (75-155 nt) with accuracies of up to 96-100%, which are comparable to the best accuracies achievable by comparative sequence analysis.
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Native-like RNA tertiary structures using a sequence-encoded cleavage agent and refinement by discrete molecular dynamics.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2009
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The difficulty of analyzing higher order RNA structure, especially for folding intermediates and for RNAs whose functions require domains that are conformationally flexible, emphasizes the need for new approaches for modeling RNA tertiary structure accurately. Here, we report a concise approach that makes use of facile RNA structure probing experiments that are then interpreted using a computational algorithm, carefully tailored to optimize both the resolution and refinement speed for the resulting structures, without requiring user intervention. The RNA secondary structure is first established using SHAPE chemistry. We then use a sequence-directed cleavage agent, which can be placed arbitrarily in many helical motifs, to obtain high quality inter-residue distances. We interpret this in-solution chemical information using a fast, coarse grained, discrete molecular dynamics engine in which each RNA nucleotide is represented by pseudoatoms for the phosphate, ribose, and nucleobase groups. By this approach, we refine base paired positions in yeast tRNA(Asp) to 4 A rmsd without any preexisting information or assumptions about secondary or tertiary structures. This blended experimental and computational approach has the potential to yield native-like models for the diverse universe of functionally important RNAs whose structures cannot be characterized by conventional structural methods.
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High-throughput SHAPE and hydroxyl radical analysis of RNA structure and ribonucleoprotein assembly.
Meth. Enzymol.
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2009
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RNA folds to form complex structures vital to many cellular functions. Proteins facilitate RNA folding at both the secondary and tertiary structure levels. An absolute prerequisite for understanding RNA folding and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assembly reactions is a complete understanding of the RNA structure at each stage of the folding or assembly process. Here we provide a guide for comprehensive and high-throughput analysis of RNA secondary and tertiary structure using SHAPE and hydroxyl radical footprinting. As an example of the strong and sometimes surprising conclusions that can emerge from high-throughput analysis of RNA folding and RNP assembly, we summarize the structure of the bI3 group I intron RNA in four distinct states. Dramatic structural rearrangements occur in both secondary and tertiary structure as the RNA folds from the free state to the active, six-component, RNP complex. As high-throughput and high-resolution approaches are applied broadly to large protein-RNA complexes, other proteins previously viewed as making simple contributions to RNA folding are also likely to be found to exert multifaceted, long-range, cooperative, and nonadditive effects on RNA folding. These protein-induced contributions add another level of control, and potential regulatory function, in RNP complexes.
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QuShape: rapid, accurate, and best-practices quantification of nucleic acid probing information, resolved by capillary electrophoresis.
RNA
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Chemical probing of RNA and DNA structure is a widely used and highly informative approach for examining nucleic acid structure and for evaluating interactions with protein and small-molecule ligands. Use of capillary electrophoresis to analyze chemical probing experiments yields hundreds of nucleotides of information per experiment and can be performed on automated instruments. Extraction of the information from capillary electrophoresis electropherograms is a computationally intensive multistep analytical process, and no current software provides rapid, automated, and accurate data analysis. To overcome this bottleneck, we developed a platform-independent, user-friendly software package, QuShape, that yields quantitatively accurate nucleotide reactivity information with minimal user supervision. QuShape incorporates newly developed algorithms for signal decay correction, alignment of time-varying signals within and across capillaries and relative to the RNA nucleotide sequence, and signal scaling across channels or experiments. An analysis-by-reference option enables multiple, related experiments to be fully analyzed in minutes. We illustrate the usefulness and robustness of QuShape by analysis of RNA SHAPE (selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension) experiments.
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Fingerprinting noncanonical and tertiary RNA structures by differential SHAPE reactivity.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
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Many RNA structures are composed of simple secondary structure elements linked by a few critical tertiary interactions. SHAPE chemistry has made interrogation of RNA dynamics at single-nucleotide resolution straightforward. However, de novo identification of nucleotides involved in tertiary interactions remains a challenge. Here we show that nucleotides that form noncanonical or tertiary contacts can be detected by comparing information obtained using two SHAPE reagents, N-methylisatoic anhydride (NMIA) and 1-methyl-6-nitroisatoic anhydride (1M6). Nucleotides that react preferentially with NMIA exhibit slow local nucleotide dynamics and usually adopt the less common C2-endo ribose conformation. Experiments and first-principles calculations show that 1M6 reacts preferentially with nucleotides in which one face of the nucleobase allows an unhindered stacking interaction with the reagent. Differential SHAPE reactivities were used to detect noncanonical and tertiary interactions in four RNAs with diverse structures and to identify preformed noncanonical interactions in partially folded RNAs. Differential SHAPE reactivity analysis will enable experimentally concise, large-scale identification of tertiary structure elements and ligand binding sites in complex RNAs and in diverse biological environments.
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Three-dimensional RNA structure refinement by hydroxyl radical probing.
Nat. Methods
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Molecular modeling guided by experimentally derived structural information is an attractive approach for three-dimensional structure determination of complex RNAs that are not amenable to study by high-resolution methods. Hydroxyl radical probing (HRP), which is performed routinely in many laboratories, provides a measure of solvent accessibility at individual nucleotides. HRP measurements have, to date, only been used to evaluate RNA models qualitatively. Here we report the development of a quantitative structure refinement approach using HRP measurements to drive discrete molecular dynamics simulations for RNAs ranging in size from 80 to 230 nucleotides. We first used HRP reactivities to identify RNAs that form extensive helical packing interactions. For these RNAs, we achieved highly significant structure predictions given the inputs of RNA sequence and base pairing. This HRP-directed tertiary structure refinement approach generates robust structural hypotheses that are useful for guiding explorations of structure-function inter-relationships in RNA.
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The mechanisms of RNA SHAPE chemistry.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
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The biological functions of RNA are ultimately governed by the local environment at each nucleotide. Selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) chemistry is a powerful approach for measuring nucleotide structure and dynamics in diverse biological environments. SHAPE reagents acylate the 2-hydroxyl group at flexible nucleotides because unconstrained nucleotides preferentially sample rare conformations that enhance the nucleophilicity of the 2-hydroxyl. The critical corollary is that some constrained nucleotides must be poised for efficient reaction at the 2-hydroxyl group. To identify such nucleotides, we performed SHAPE on intact crystals of the Escherichia coli ribosome, monitored the reactivity of 1490 nucleotides in 16S rRNA, and examined those nucleotides that were hyper-reactive toward SHAPE and had well-defined crystallographic conformations. Analysis of these conformations revealed that 2-hydroxyl reactivity is broadly facilitated by general base catalysis involving multiple RNA functional groups and by two specific orientations of the bridging 3-phosphate group. Nucleotide analog studies confirmed the contributions of these mechanisms to SHAPE reactivity. These results provide a strong mechanistic explanation for the relationship between SHAPE reactivity and local RNA dynamics and will facilitate interpretation of SHAPE information in the many technologies that make use of this chemistry.
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RNA-Puzzles: a CASP-like evaluation of RNA three-dimensional structure prediction.
RNA
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We report the results of a first, collective, blind experiment in RNA three-dimensional (3D) structure prediction, encompassing three prediction puzzles. The goals are to assess the leading edge of RNA structure prediction techniques; compare existing methods and tools; and evaluate their relative strengths, weaknesses, and limitations in terms of sequence length and structural complexity. The results should give potential users insight into the suitability of available methods for different applications and facilitate efforts in the RNA structure prediction community in ongoing efforts to improve prediction tools. We also report the creation of an automated evaluation pipeline to facilitate the analysis of future RNA structure prediction exercises.
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SHAPE-directed discovery of potent shRNA inhibitors of HIV-1.
Mol. Ther.
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The RNA interference (RNAi) pathway can be exploited using short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) to durably inactivate pathogenic genes. Prediction of optimal target sites is notoriously inaccurate and current approaches applied to HIV-1 show weak correlations with virus inhibition. In contrast, using a high-content model for disrupting pre-existing intramolecular structure in the HIV-1 RNA, as achievable using high-resolution SHAPE (selective 2-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension) chemical probing information, we discovered strong correlations between inhibition of HIV-1 production in a quantitative cell-based assay and very simple thermodynamic features in the target RNA. Strongest inhibition occurs at RNA target sites that both have an accessible "seed region" and, unexpectedly, are structurally accessible in a newly identified downstream flanking sequence. We then used these simple rules to create a new set of shRNAs and achieved inhibition of HIV-1 production of 90% or greater for up to 82% of designed shRNAs. These shRNAs inhibit HIV-1 replication in therapy-relevant T cells and show no or low cytotoxicity. The remarkable success of this straightforward SHAPE-based approach emphasizes that RNAi is governed, in significant part, by very simple, predictable rules reflecting the underlying RNA structure and illustrates principles likely to prove broadly useful in understanding transcriptome-scale biological recognition and therapeutics involving RNA.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.