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Quantitative and predictive model of kinetic regulation by E. coli TPP riboswitches.
RNA Biol, 2016 Apr 2; 13 (4): 373-390
Riboswitches are non-coding elements upstream or downstream of mRNAs that, upon binding of a specific ligand, regulate transcription and/or translation initiation in bacteria, or alternative splicing in plants and fungi. We have studied thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitches regulating translation of thiM operon and transcription and translation of thiC operon in E. coli, and that of THIC in the plant A. thaliana. For all, we ascertained an induced-fit mechanism involving initial binding of the TPP followed by a conformational change leading to a higher-affinity complex. The experimental values obtained for all kinetic and thermodynamic parameters of TPP binding imply that the regulation by A. thaliana riboswitch is governed by mass-action law, whereas it is of kinetic nature for the two bacterial riboswitches. Kinetic regulation requires that the RNA polymerase pauses after synthesis of each riboswitch aptamer to leave time for TPP binding, but only when its concentration is sufficient. A quantitative model of regulation highlighted how the pausing time has to be linked to the kinetic rates of initial TPP binding to obtain an ON/OFF switch in the correct concentration range of TPP. We verified the existence of these pauses and the model prediction on their duration. Our analysis also led to quantitative estimates of the respective efficiency of kinetic and thermodynamic regulations, which shows that kinetically regulated riboswitches react more sharply to concentration variation of their ligand than thermodynamically regulated riboswitches. This rationalizes the interest of kinetic regulation and confirms empirical observations that were obtained by numerical simulations.
The Signature of the Five-Stranded vRRM Fold Defined by Functional, Structural and Computational Analysis of the hnRNP L Protein.
J Mol Biol, 2015 Sep 25; 427 (19): 3001-3022
The RNA recognition motif (RRM) is the far most abundant RNA binding domain. In addition to the typical β1α1β2β3α2β4 fold, various sub-structural elements have been described and reportedly contribute to the high functional versatility of RRMs. The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein L (hnRNP L) is a highly abundant protein of 64kDa comprising four RRM domains. Involved in many aspects of RNA metabolism, hnRNP L specifically binds to RNAs containing CA repeats or CA-rich clusters. However, a comprehensive structural description of hnRNP L including its sub-structural elements is missing. Here, we present the structural characterization of the RRM domains of hnRNP L and demonstrate their function in repressing exon 4 of SLC2A2. By comparison of the sub-structural elements between the two highly similar paralog families of hnRNP L and PTB, we defined signatures underlying interacting C-terminal coils (ICCs), the RRM34 domain interaction and RRMs with a C-terminal fifth β-strand, a variation we denoted vRRMs. Furthermore, computational analysis revealed new putative ICC-containing RRM families and allowed us to propose an evolutionary scenario explaining the origins of the ICC and fifth β-strand sub-structural extensions. Our studies provide insights of domain requirements in alternative splicing mediated by hnRNP L and molecular descriptions for the sub-structural elements. In addition, the analysis presented may help to classify other abundant RRM extensions and to predict structure-function relationships.
Robust Antibody-Antigen Complexes Prediction Generated by Combining Sequence Analyses, Mutagenesis, In Vitro Evolution, X-ray Crystallography and In Silico Docking.
J Mol Biol, 2015 Aug 14; 427 (16): 2647-2662
Hu 15C1 is a potent anti-human Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) neutralizing antibody. To better understand the molecular basis of its biological activity, we used a multidisciplinary approach to generate an accurate model of the Hu 15C1-TLR4 complex. By combining site-directed mutagenesis, in vitro antibody evolution, affinity measurements and X-ray crystallography of Fab fragments, we identified key interactions across the Hu 15C1-TLR4 interface. These contact points were used as restraints to predict the structure of the Fab region of Hu 15C1 bound to TLR4 using computational molecular docking. This model was further evaluated and validated by additional site-directed mutagenesis studies. The predicted structure of the Hu 15C1-TLR4 complex indicates that the antibody antagonizes the receptor dimerization necessary for its activation. This study exemplifies how iterative cycles of antibody engineering can facilitate the discovery of components of antibody-target interactions.
Identification of Spen as a Crucial Factor for Xist Function through Forward Genetic Screening in Haploid Embryonic Stem Cells.
Cell Rep, 2015 Jul 28; 12 (4): 554-561
In mammals, the noncoding Xist RNA triggers transcriptional silencing of one of the two X chromosomes in female cells. Here, we report a genetic screen for silencing factors in X chromosome inactivation using haploid mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) that carry an engineered selectable reporter system. This system was able to identify several candidate factors that are genetically required for chromosomal repression by Xist. Among the list of candidates, we identify the RNA-binding protein Spen, the homolog of split ends. Independent validation through gene deletion in ESCs confirms that Spen is required for gene repression by Xist. However, Spen is not required for Xist RNA localization and the recruitment of chromatin modifications, including Polycomb protein Ezh2. The identification of Spen opens avenues for further investigation into the gene-silencing pathway of Xist and shows the usefulness of haploid ESCs for genetic screening of epigenetic pathways.
Molecular Basis of the Rapamycin Insensitivity of Target Of Rapamycin Complex 2.
Mol Cell, 2015 Jun 18; 58 (6): 977-988
Target of Rapamycin (TOR) plays central roles in the regulation of eukaryote growth as the hub of two essential multiprotein complexes: TORC1, which is rapamycin-sensitive, and the lesser characterized TORC2, which is not. TORC2 is a key regulator of lipid biosynthesis and Akt-mediated survival signaling. In spite of its importance, its structure and the molecular basis of its rapamycin insensitivity are unknown. Using crosslinking-mass spectrometry and electron microscopy, we determined the architecture of TORC2. TORC2 displays a rhomboid shape with pseudo-2-fold symmetry and a prominent central cavity. Our data indicate that the C-terminal part of Avo3, a subunit unique to TORC2, is close to the FKBP12-rapamycin-binding domain of Tor2. Removal of this sequence generated a FKBP12-rapamycin-sensitive TORC2 variant, which provides a powerful tool for deciphering TORC2 function in vivo. Using this variant, we demonstrate a role for TORC2 in G2/M cell-cycle progression.
Polyuridylation in Eukaryotes: A 3'-End Modification Regulating RNA Life.
Biomed Res Int, 2015; 2015 : 968127
In eukaryotes, mRNA polyadenylation is a well-known modification that is essential for many aspects of the protein-coding RNAs life cycle. However, modification of the 3' terminal nucleotide within various RNA molecules is a general and conserved process that broadly modulates RNA function in all kingdoms of life. Numerous types of modifications have been characterized, which are generally specific for a given type of RNA such as the CCA addition found in tRNAs. In recent years, the addition of nontemplated uridine nucleotides or uridylation has been shown to occur in various types of RNA molecules and in various cellular compartments with significantly different outcomes. Indeed, uridylation is able to alter RNA half-life both in positive and in negative ways, highlighting the importance of the enzymes in charge of performing this modification. The present review aims at summarizing the current knowledge on the various processes leading to RNA 3'-end uridylation and on their potential impacts in various diseases.
An artificial PPR scaffold for programmable RNA recognition.
Nat Commun, 2014 Dec 17; 5 : 5729
Pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins control diverse aspects of RNA metabolism in eukaryotic cells. Although recent computational and structural studies have provided insights into RNA recognition by PPR proteins, their highly insoluble nature and inconsistencies between predicted and observed modes of RNA binding have restricted our understanding of their biological functions and their use as tools. Here we use a consensus design strategy to create artificial PPR domains that are structurally robust and can be programmed for sequence-specific RNA binding. The atomic structures of these artificial PPR domains elucidate the structural basis for their stability and modelling of RNA-protein interactions provides mechanistic insights into the importance of RNA-binding residues and suggests modes of PPR-RNA association. The modular mode of RNA binding by PPR proteins holds great promise for the engineering of new tools to target RNA and to understand the mechanisms of gene regulation by natural PPR proteins.
Complex behavior: from cannibalism to suicide in the vitamin B1 biosynthesis world.
Curr Opin Struct Biol, 2014 Dec; 29 : 34-43
Although thiamin was the first vitamin discovered over a century ago, it is only within the last decade that its metabolism has begun to be unraveled. Over the last few years, several structural and biochemical studies have provided insight into the unprecedented mechanisms of the proteins involved, revealing some remarkable biochemistry. Thiamin biosynthesis is particularly unusual in eukaryotes (fungi and plants) in that it cannibalizes essential cellular cofactors and relies on single turnover proteins, which succumb to enzymatic suicide. Here we provide an overview of recent structural studies that have advanced our understanding of this vital metabolite and question whether the single turnover proteins act to monitor the level of the essential elements used as substrates.
The crystal structure of the Split End protein SHARP adds a new layer of complexity to proteins containing RNA recognition motifs.
Nucleic Acids Res, 2014 Jun; 42 (10): 6742-6752
The Split Ends (SPEN) protein was originally discovered in Drosophila in the late 1990s. Since then, homologous proteins have been identified in eukaryotic species ranging from plants to humans. Every family member contains three predicted RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) in the N-terminal region of the protein. We have determined the crystal structure of the region of the human SPEN homolog that contains these RRMs-the SMRT/HDAC1 Associated Repressor Protein (SHARP), at 2.0 Å resolution. SHARP is a co-regulator of the nuclear receptors. We demonstrate that two of the three RRMs, namely RRM3 and RRM4, interact via a highly conserved interface. Furthermore, we show that the RRM3-RRM4 block is the main platform mediating the stable association with the H12-H13 substructure found in the steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA), a long, non-coding RNA previously shown to play a crucial role in nuclear receptor transcriptional regulation. We determine that SHARP association with SRA relies on both single- and double-stranded RNA sequences. The crystal structure of the SHARP-RRM fragment, together with the associated RNA-binding studies, extend the repertoire of nucleic acid binding properties of RRM domains suggesting a new hypothesis for a better understanding of SPEN protein functions.
A critical switch in the enzymatic properties of the Cid1 protein deciphered from its product-bound crystal structure.
Nucleic Acids Res, 2014 Mar; 42 (5): 3372-3380
The addition of uridine nucleotide by the poly(U) polymerase (PUP) enzymes has a demonstrated impact on various classes of RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs), histone-encoding RNAs and messenger RNAs. Cid1 protein is a member of the PUP family. We solved the crystal structure of Cid1 in complex with non-hydrolyzable UMPNPP and a short dinucleotide compound ApU. These structures revealed new residues involved in substrate/product stabilization. In particular, one of the three catalytic aspartate residues explains the RNA dependence of its PUP activity. Moreover, other residues such as residue N165 or the β-trapdoor are shown to be critical for Cid1 activity. We finally suggest that the length and sequence of Cid1 substrate RNA influence the balance between Cid1's processive and distributive activities. We propose that particular processes regulated by PUPs require the enzymes to switch between the two types of activity as shown for the miRNA biogenesis where PUPs can either promote DICER cleavage via short U-tail or trigger miRNA degradation by adding longer poly(U) tail. The enzymatic properties of these enzymes may be critical for determining their particular function in vivo.
Steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA) modification by the human pseudouridine synthase 1 (hPus1p): RNA binding, activity, and atomic model.
PLoS One, 2014; 9 (4): e94610
The most abundant of the modified nucleosides, and once considered as the "fifth" nucleotide in RNA, is pseudouridine, which results from the action of pseudouridine synthases. Recently, the mammalian pseudouridine synthase 1 (hPus1p) has been reported to modulate class I and class II nuclear receptor responses through its ability to modify the Steroid receptor RNA Activator (SRA). These findings highlight a new level of regulation in nuclear receptor (NR)-mediated transcriptional responses. We have characterised the RNA association and activity of the human Pus1p enzyme with its unusual SRA substrate. We validate that the minimal RNA fragment within SRA, named H7, is necessary for both the association and modification by hPus1p. Furthermore, we have determined the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of hPus1p at 2.0 Å resolution, alone and in a complex with several molecules present during crystallisation. This model shows an extended C-terminal helix specifically found in the eukaryotic protein, which may prevent the enzyme from forming a homodimer, both in the crystal lattice and in solution. Our biochemical and structural data help to understand the hPus1p active site architecture, and detail its particular requirements with regard to one of its nuclear substrates, the non-coding RNA SRA.
High-resolution crystal structure of the eukaryotic HMP-P synthase (THIC) from Arabidopsis thaliana.
J Struct Biol, 2013 Dec; 184 (3): 438-444
Vitamin B₁ is an essential compound in all organisms acting as a cofactor in key metabolic reactions. It is formed by the condensation of two independently biosynthesized molecules referred to as the pyrimidine and thiazole moieties. In bacteria and plants, the biosynthesis of the pyrimidine moiety, 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine phosphate (HMP-P), requires a single enzyme, THIC (HMP-P synthase). The enzyme uses an iron-sulfur cluster as well as a 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical as cofactors to rearrange the 5-amino-imidazole ribonucleotide (AIR) substrate to the pyrimidine ring. So far, the only structure reported is the one from the bacteria Caulobacter crescentus. In an attempt to structurally characterize an eukaryotic HMP-P synthase, we have determined the high-resolution crystal structure of THIC from Arabidopsis thaliana at 1.6 Å. The structure is highly similar to its bacterial counterpart although several loop regions show significant differences with potential implications for the enzymatic properties. Furthermore, we have found a metal ion with octahedral coordination at the same location as a zinc ion in the bacterial enzyme. Our high-resolution atomic model shows a metal ion with multiple coordinated water molecules in the close vicinity of the substrate binding sites and is an important step toward the full characterization of the chemical rearrangement occurring during HMP-P biosynthesis.
The last piece in the vitamin B1 biosynthesis puzzle: structural and functional insight into yeast 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine phosphate (HMP-P) synthase.
J Biol Chem, 2012 Dec 7; 287 (50): 42333-42343
Vitamin B(1) is essential for all organisms being well recognized as a necessary cofactor for key metabolic pathways such as glycolysis, and was more recently implicated in DNA damage responses. Little is known about the enzyme responsible for the formation of the pyrimidine moiety (4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine phosphate (HMP-P) synthase). We report a structure-function study of the HMP-P synthase from yeast, THI5p. Our crystallographic structure shows that THI5p is a mix between periplasmic binding proteins and pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes. Mutational and yeast complementation studies identify the key residues for HMP-P biosynthesis as well as the use of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate as a substrate rather than as a cofactor. Furthermore, we could show that iron binding to HMP-P synthase is essential for the reaction.
Functional implications from the Cid1 poly(U) polymerase crystal structure.
Structure, 2012 Jun 6; 20 (6): 977-986
In eukaryotes, mRNA degradation begins with poly(A) tail removal, followed by decapping, and the mRNA body is degraded by exonucleases. In recent years, the major influence of 3'-end uridylation as a regulatory step within several RNA degradation pathways has generated significant attention toward the responsible enzymes, which are called poly(U) polymerases (PUPs). We determined the atomic structure of the Cid1 protein, the founding member of the PUP family, in its UTP-bound form, allowing unambiguous positioning of the UTP molecule. Our data also suggest that the RNA substrate accommodation and product translocation by the Cid1 protein rely on local and global movements of the enzyme. Supplemented by point mutations, the atomic model is used to propose a catalytic cycle. Our study underlines the Cid1 RNA binding properties, a feature with critical implications for miRNAs, histone mRNAs, and, more generally, cellular RNA degradation.
Structural basis of transcriptional gene silencing mediated by Arabidopsis MOM1.
PLoS Genet, 2012 Feb; 8 (2): e1002484
Shifts between epigenetic states of transcriptional activity are typically correlated with changes in epigenetic marks. However, exceptions to this rule suggest the existence of additional, as yet uncharacterized, layers of epigenetic regulation. MOM1, a protein of 2,001 amino acids that acts as a transcriptional silencer, represents such an exception. Here we define the 82 amino acid domain called CMM2 (Conserved MOM1 Motif 2) as a minimal MOM1 fragment capable of transcriptional regulation. As determined by X-ray crystallography, this motif folds into an unusual hendecad-based coiled-coil. Structure-based mutagenesis followed by transgenic complementation tests in plants demonstrate that CMM2 and its dimerization are effective for transcriptional suppression at chromosomal loci co-regulated by MOM1 and the siRNA pathway but not at loci controlled by MOM1 in an siRNA-independent fashion. These results reveal a surprising separation of epigenetic activities that enable the single, large MOM1 protein to coordinate cooperating mechanisms of epigenetic regulation.
Expression, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the CMM2 region of the Arabidopsis thaliana Morpheus' molecule 1 protein.
Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 2010 Aug 1; 66 (Pt 8): 916-918
Of the known epigenetic control regulators found in plants, the Morpheus' molecule 1 (MOM1) protein is atypical in that the deletion of MOM1 does not affect the level of epigenetic marks controlling the transcriptional status of the genome. A short 197-amino-acid fragment of the MOM1 protein sequence can complement MOM1 deletion when coupled to a nuclear localization signal, suggesting that this region contains a functional domain that compensates for the loss of the full-length protein. Numerous constructs centred on the highly conserved MOM1 motif 2 (CMM2) present in these 197 residues have been generated and expressed in Escherichia coli. Following purification and crystallization screening, diamond-shaped single crystals were obtained that diffracted to approximately 3.2 A resolution. They belonged to the trigonal space group P3(1)21 (or P3(2)21), with unit-cell parameters a=85.64, c=292.74 A. Structure determination is ongoing.
Crystal structure of the putative carbohydrate recognition domain of human galectin-related protein.
Proteins, 2008 Aug; 72 (2): 804-808
Structural basis of thiamine pyrophosphate analogues binding to the eukaryotic riboswitch.
J Am Chem Soc, 2008 Jul 2; 130 (26): 8116-8117
The thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP)-sensing riboswitch is the only riboswitch found in eukaryotes. In plants, TPP regulates its own production by binding to the 3' untranslated region of the mRNA encoding ThiC, a critical enzyme in thiamine biosynthesis, which promotes the formation of an unstable splicing variant. In order to better understand the molecular basis of TPP-analogue binding to the eukaryotic TPP-responsive riboswitch, we have determined the crystal structures of the Arabidopsis thaliana TPP-riboswitch in complex with oxythiamine pyrophosphate (OTPP) and with the antimicrobial compound pyrithiamine pyrophosphate (PTPP). The OTPP-riboswitch complex reveals that the pyrimidine ring of OTPP is stabilized in its enol form in order to retain key interactions with guanosine 28 of the riboswitch previously observed in the TPP complex. The structure of PTPP in complex with the riboswitch shows that the base moiety of guanosine 60 undergoes a conformational change to cradle the pyridine ring of the PTPP. Structural information from these complexes has implications for the design of novel antimicrobials targeting TPP-sensing riboswitches.
Structural basis for chitotetraose coordination by CGL3, a novel galectin-related protein from Coprinopsis cinerea.
J Mol Biol, 2008 May 23; 379 (1): 146-159
Recent advances in genome sequencing efforts have revealed an abundance of novel putative lectins. Among these, many galectin-related proteins, characterized by many conserved residues but intriguingly lacking critical amino acids, have been found in all corners of the eukaryotic superkingdom. Here we present a structural and biochemical analysis of one representative, the galectin-related lectin CGL3 found in the inky cap mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea. This protein contains all but one conserved residues known to be involved in beta-galactoside binding in galectins. A Trp residue strictly conserved among galectins is changed to an Arg in CGL3 (R81). Accordingly, the galectin-related protein is not able to bind lactose. Screening of a glycan array revealed that CGL3 displays preference for oligomers of beta1-4-linked N-acetyl-glucosamines (chitooligosaccharides) and GalNAc beta 1-4GlcNAc (LacdiNAc). Carbohydrate-binding affinity of this novel lectin was quantified using isothermal titration calorimetry, and its mode of chitooligosaccharide coordination not involving any aromatic amino acid residues was studied by X-ray crystallography. Structural information was used to alter the carbohydrate-binding specificity and substrate affinity of CGL3. The importance of residue R81 in determining the carbohydrate-binding specificity was demonstrated by replacing this Arg with a Trp residue (R81W). This single-amino-acid change led to a lectin that failed to bind chitooligosaccharides but gained lactose binding. Our results demonstrate that, similar to the legume lectin fold, the galectin fold represents a conserved structural framework upon which dramatically altered specificities can be grafted by few alterations in the binding site and that, in consequence, many metazoan galectin-related proteins may represent lectins with novel carbohydrate-binding specificities.
Structure of the eukaryotic thiamine pyrophosphate riboswitch with its regulatory ligand.
Science, 2006 May 26; 312 (5777): 1208-1211
Riboswitches are untranslated regions of messenger RNA, which adopt alternate structures depending on the binding of specific metabolites. Such conformational switching regulates the expression of proteins involved in the biosynthesis of riboswitch substrates. Here, we present the 2.9 angstrom-resolution crystal structure of the eukaryotic Arabidopsis thaliana thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP)-specific riboswitch in complex with its natural ligand. The riboswitch specifically recognizes the TPP via conserved residues located within two highly distorted parallel "sensor" helices. The structure provides the basis for understanding the reorganization of the riboswitch fold upon TPP binding and explains the mechanism of resistance to the antibiotic pyrithiamine.