Two eukaryotic proteins involved in translation termination have recently been characterized in in vitro experiments. Eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1) catalyzes the release of the polypeptide chain without any stop codon specificity. The GTP-binding protein eRF3 confers GTP dependence to the termination process and stimulates eRF1 activity. We used tRNA-mediated nonsense suppression at different stop codons in a cat reporter gene to analyze the polypeptide chain release factor activities of the human eRF1 and eRF3 proteins overexpressed in human cells. In a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase assay, we measured the competition between the suppressor tRNA and the human release factors when a stop codon was present in the ribosomal A site. Whatever the stop codon (UAA, UAG, or UGA) present in the cat open reading frame, the overexpression of human eRF1 alone markedly decreased translational readthrough by suppressor tRNA. Thus, like the procaryotic release factors RF1 and RF2 in Escherichia coli, eRF1 seems to have an intrinsic antisuppressor activity in human cells. Levels of antisuppression of overexpression of both eRF3 and eRF1 were almost the same as those of overexpression of eRF1 alone, suggesting that eRF1-eRF3 complex-mediated termination may be controlled by the expression level of eRF1. Surprisingly, when overexpressed alone, eRF3 had an inhibitory effect on cat gene expression. The results of cat mRNA stability studies suggest that eRF3 inhibits gene expression at the transcriptional level. This indicates that in vivo, eRF3 may perform other functions, including the stimulation of eRF1 activity.
GTP hydrolysis catalyzed in the ribosome by a complex of two polypeptide release factors, eRF1 and eRF3, is required for fast and efficient termination of translation in eukaryotes. Here, isothermal titration calorimetry is used for the quantitative thermodynamic characterization of eRF3 interactions with guanine nucleotides, eRF1 and Mg2+. We show that (i) eRF3 binds GDP (Kd = 1.9 μM) and this interaction depends only minimally on the Mg2+ concentration; (ii) GTP binds to eRF3 (Kd = 0.5 μM) only in the presence of eRF1 and this interaction depends on the Mg2+ concentration; (iii) GTP displaces GDP from the eRF1•eRF3•GDP complex, and vice versa; (iv) eRF3 in the GDP-bound form improves its ability to bind eRF1; (v) the eRF1•eRF3 complex binds GDP as efficiently as free eRF3; (vi) the eRF1•eRF3 complex is efficiently formed in the absence of GDP/GTP but requires the presence of the C-terminus of eRF1 for complex formation. Our results show that eRF1 mediates GDP/GTP displacement on eRF3. We suggest that after formation of eRF1•eRF3•GTP•Mg2+, this quaternary complex binds to the ribosomal pretermination complex containing P-site-bound peptidyl-tRNA and the A-site-bound stop codon. The guanine nucleotide binding properties of eRF3 and of the eRF3•eRF1 complex profoundly differ from those of prokaryotic RF3.
Translation termination in eukaryotes is governed by the concerted action of eRF1 and eRF3 factors. eRF1 recognizes the stop codon in the A site of the ribosome and promotes nascent peptide chain release, and the GTPase eRF3 facilitates this peptide release via its interaction with eRF1. In addition to its role in termination, eRF3 is involved in normal and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay through its association with cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) via PAM2-1 and PAM2-2 motifs in the N-terminal domain of eRF3. We have studied complex formation between full-length eRF3 and its ligands (GDP, GTP, eRF1 and PABP) using isothermal titration calorimetry, demonstrating formation of the eRF1:eRF3:PABP:GTP complex. Analysis of the temperature dependence of eRF3 interactions with G nucleotides reveals major structural rearrangements accompanying formation of the eRF1:eRF3:GTP complex. This is in contrast to eRF1:eRF3:GDP complex formation, where no such rearrangements were detected. Thus, our results agree with the established active role of GTP in promoting translation termination. Through point mutagenesis of PAM2-1 and PAM2-2 motifs in eRF3, we demonstrate that PAM2-2, but not PAM2-1 is indispensible for eRF3:PABP complex formation.
Termination of translation in eukaryotes requires two release factors, eRF1, which recognizes all three nonsense codons and facilitates release of the nascent polypeptide chain, and eRF3 stimulating translation termination in a GTP-depended manner. eRF3 from different organisms possess a highly conservative C region (eRF3C), which is responsible for the function in translation termination, and almost always contain the N-terminal extension, which is inessential and vary both in structure and length. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the N-terminal region of eRF3 is responsible for conversion of this protein into the aggregated and functionally inactive prion form.
Here, we examined functional importance of the N-terminal region of a non-prion form of yeast eRF3. The screen for mutations which are lethal in combination with the SUP35-C allele encoding eRF3C revealed the sup45 mutations which alter the N-terminal domain of eRF1 and increase nonsense codon readthrough. However, further analysis showed that synthetic lethality was not caused by the increased levels of nonsense codon readthrough. Dominant mutations in SUP35-C were obtained and characterized, which remove its synthetic lethality with the identified sup45 mutations, thus indicating that synthetic lethality was not due to a disruption of interaction with proteins that bind to this eRF3 region.
These and other data demonstrate that the N-terminal region of eRF3 is involved both in modulation of the efficiency of translation termination and functioning of the eRF1/eRF3 complex outside of translation termination.
Translation termination in eukaryotes is mediated by two release factors, eRF1 and eRF3. eRF1 recognizes each of the three stop codons (UAG, UAA, and UGA) and facilitates release of the nascent polypeptide chain. eRF3 is a GTPase that stimulates the translation termination process by a poorly characterized mechanism. In this study, we examined the functional importance of GTP hydrolysis by eRF3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that mutations that reduced the rate of GTP hydrolysis also reduced the efficiency of translation termination at some termination signals but not others. As much as a 17-fold decrease in the termination efficiency was observed at some tetranucleotide termination signals (characterized by the stop codon and the first following nucleotide), while no effect was observed at other termination signals. To determine whether this stop signal-dependent decrease in the efficiency of translation termination was due to a defect in either eRF1 or eRF3 recycling, we reduced the level of eRF1 or eRF3 in cells by expressing them individually from the CUP1 promoter. We found that the limitation of either factor resulted in a general decrease in the efficiency of translation termination rather than a decrease at a subset of termination signals as observed with the eRF3 GTPase mutants. We also found that overproduction of eRF1 was unable to increase the efficiency of translation termination at any termination signals. Together, these results suggest that the GTPase activity of eRF3 is required to couple the recognition of translation termination signals by eRF1 to efficient polypeptide chain release.
Termination translation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is controlled by two interacting polypeptide chain release factors, eRF1 and eRF3. Two regions in human eRF1, position at 281-305 and position at 411-415, were proposed to be involved on the interaction to eRF3. In this study we have constructed and characterized yeast eRF1 mutant at position 410 (correspond to 415 human eRF1) from tyrosine to serine residue resulting eRF1(Y410S). The mutations did not affect the viability and temperature sensitivity of the cell. The stop codons suppression of the mutant was analyzed in vivo using PGK-stop codon-LACZ gene fusion and showed that the suppression of the mutant was significantly increased in all of codon terminations. The suppression on UAG codon was the highest increased among the stop codons by comparing the suppression of the wild type respectively. In vitro interaction between eRF1 (mutant and wild type) to eRF3 were carried out using eRF1-(His)6 and eRF1(Y410S)-(His)6 expressed in Escherichia coli and indigenous Saccharomyces cerevisiae eRF3. The results showed that the binding affinity of eRF1(Y410S) to eRF3 was decreased up to 20% of the wild type binding affinity. Computer modeling analysis using Swiss-Prot and Amber version 9.0 programs revealed that the overall structure of eRF1(Y410S) has no significant different with the wild type. However, substitution of tyrosine to serine triggered the structural change on the other motif of C-terminal domain of eRF1. The data suggested that increasing stop codon suppression and decreasing of the binding affinity of eRF1(Y410S) were probably due to the slight modification on the structure of the C-terminal domain.
eRF1; eRF3; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; termination translation; nonsense codon suppression; binding affinity
eRF3 is a GTPase associated with eRF1 in a complex that mediates translation termination in eukaryotes. In mammals, two genes encode two distinct forms of eRF3, eRF3a and eRF3b, which differ in their N-terminal domains. Both bind eRF1 and stimulate its release activity in vitro. However, whether both proteins can function as termination factors in vivo has not been determined. In this study, we used short interfering RNAs to examine the effect of eRF3a and eRF3b depletion on translation termination efficiency in human cells. By measuring the readthrough at a premature nonsense codon in a reporter mRNA, we found that eRF3a silencing induced an important increase in readthrough whereas eRF3b silencing had no significant effect. We also found that eRF3a depletion reduced the intracellular level of eRF1 protein by affecting its stability. In addition, we showed that eRF3b overexpression alleviated the effect of eRF3a silencing on readthrough and on eRF1 cellular levels. These results suggest that eRF3a is the major factor acting in translation termination in mammals and clearly demonstrate that eRF3b can substitute for eRF3a in this function. Finally, our data indicate that the expression level of eRF3a controls the formation of the termination complex by modulating eRF1 protein stability.
Termination of translation in eukaryotes is controlled by two interacting polypeptide chain release factors, eRFl and eRF3. eRFl recognizes nonsense codons UAA, UAG and UGA, while eRF3 stimulates polypeptide release from the ribosome in a GTP- and eRFl – dependent manner. Recent studies has shown that proteins interacting with these release factors can modulate the efficiency of nonsense codon readthrough.
We have isolated a nonessential yeast gene, which causes suppression of nonsense mutations, being in a multicopy state. This gene encodes a protein designated Itt1p, possessing a zinc finger domain characteristic of the TRIAD proteins of higher eukaryotes. Overexpression of Itt1p decreases the efficiency of translation termination, resulting in the readthrough of all three types of nonsense codons. Itt1p interacts in vitro with both eRFl and eRF3. Overexpression of eRFl, but not of eRF3, abolishes the nonsense suppressor effect of overexpressed Itt1p.
The data obtained demonstrate that Itt1p can modulate the efficiency of translation termination in yeast. This protein possesses a zinc finger domain characteristic of the TRIAD proteins of higher eukaryotes, and this is a first observation of such protein being involved in translation.
Translation termination in eukaryotes is completed by two interacting factors eRF1 and eRF3. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, these proteins are encoded by the genes SUP45 and SUP35, respectively. The eRF1 protein interacts directly with the stop codon at the ribosomal A-site, whereas eRF3—a GTPase protein—probably acts as a proofreading factor, coupling stop codon recognition to polypeptide chain release. We performed random PCR mutagenesis of SUP45 and screened the library for mutations resulting in increased eRF1 activity. These mutations led to the identification of two new pockets in domain 1 (P1 and P2) involved in the regulation of eRF1 activity. Furthermore, we identified novel mutations located in domains 2 and 3, which confer stop codon specificity to eRF1. Our findings are consistent with the model of a closed-active conformation of eRF1 and shed light on two new functional regions of the protein.
In response to severe environmental stresses eukaryotic cells shut down translation and accumulate components of the translational machinery in stress granules (SGs). Since they contain mainly mRNA, translation initiation factors and 40S ribosomal subunits, they have been referred to as dominant accumulations of stalled translation preinitiation complexes. Here we present evidence that the robust heat shock-induced SGs of S. cerevisiae also contain translation elongation factors eEF3 (Yef3p) and eEF1Bγ2 (Tef4p) as well as translation termination factors eRF1 (Sup45p) and eRF3 (Sup35p). Despite the presence of the yeast prion protein Sup35 in heat shock-induced SGs, we found out that its prion-like domain is not involved in the SGs assembly. Factors eEF3, eEF1Bγ2 and eRF1 were accumulated and co-localized with Dcp2 foci even upon a milder heat shock at 42°C independently of P-bodies scaffolding proteins. We also show that eEF3 accumulations at 42°C determine sites of the genuine SGs assembly at 46°C. We suggest that identification of translation elongation and termination factors in SGs might help to understand the mechanism of the eIF2α factor phosphorylation-independent repression of translation and SGs assembly.
Protein synthesis requires a large commitment of cellular resources and is highly regulated. Previous studies have shown that a number of factors that mediate the initiation and elongation steps of translation are regulated by phosphorylation. In this report, we show that a factor involved in the termination step of protein synthesis is also subject to phosphorylation. Our results indicate that eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1) is phosphorylated in vivo at serine 421 and serine 432 by the CK2 protein kinase (previously casein kinase II) in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Phosphorylation of eRF1 has little effect on the efficiency of stop codon recognition or nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Also, phosphorylation is not required for eRF1 binding to the other translation termination factor, eRF3. In addition, we provide evidence that the putative phosphatase Sal6p does not dephosphorylate eRF1 and that the state of eRF1 phosphorylation does not influence the allosuppressor phenotype associated with a sal6Δ mutation. Finally, we show that phosphorylation of eRF1 is a dynamic process that is dependent upon carbon source availability. Since many other proteins involved in protein synthesis have a CK2 protein kinase motif near their extreme C termini, we propose that this represents a common regulatory mechanism that is shared by factors involved in all three stages of protein synthesis.
When a stop codon is located in the ribosomal A-site, the termination complex promotes release of the polypeptide and dissociation of the 80S ribosome. In eukaryotes two proteins eRF1 and eRF3 play a crucial function in the termination process. The essential GTPase Sup35p, the eRF3 release factor of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is highly conserved. In particular, we observed that all eRF3 homologs share a potential phosphorylation site at threonine 341, suggesting a functional role for this residue. The goal of this study was to determine whether this residue is actually phosphorylated in yeast and if it is involved in the termination activity of the protein.
We detected no phosphorylation of the Sup35 protein in vivo. However, we show that it is phosphorylated by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A on T341 in vitro. T341 was mutated to either alanine or to aspartic acid to assess the role of this residue in the activity of the protein. Both mutant proteins showed a large decrease of GTPase activity and a reduced interaction with eRF1/Sup45p. This was correlated with an increase of translational readthrough in cells carrying the mutant alleles. We also show that this residue is involved in functional interaction between the N- and C-domains of the protein.
Our results point to a new critical residue involved in the translation termination activity of Sup35 and in functional interaction between the N- and C-domains of the protein. They also raise interesting questions about the relation between GTPase activity of Sup35 and its essential function in yeast.
Termination of protein synthesis in eukaryotes involves at least two polypeptide release factors (eRFs) – eRF1 and eRF3. The highly conserved translation termination factor eRF1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is encoded by the essential gene SUP45.
We have isolated five sup45-n (n from nonsense) mutations that cause nonsense substitutions in the following amino acid positions of eRF1: Y53 → UAA, E266 → UAA, L283 → UAA, L317 → UGA, E385 → UAA. We found that full-length eRF1 protein is present in all mutants, although in decreased amounts. All mutations are situated in a weak termination context. All these sup45-n mutations are viable in different genetic backgrounds, however their viability increases after growth in the absence of wild-type allele. Any of sup45-n mutations result in temperature sensitivity (37°C). Most of the sup45-n mutations lead to decreased spore viability and spores bearing sup45-n mutations are characterized by limited budding after germination leading to formation of microcolonies of 4–20 cells.
Nonsense mutations in the essential gene SUP45 can be isolated in the absence of tRNA nonsense suppressors.
“2A” oligopeptides are autonomous elements containing a D(V/I)EXNPGP motif at the C terminus. Protein synthesis from an open reading frame containing an internal 2A coding sequence yields two separate polypeptides, corresponding to sequences up to and including 2A and those downstream. We show that the 2A reaction occurs in the ribosomal peptidyltransferase center. Ribosomes pause at the end of the 2A coding sequence, over the glycine and proline codons, and the nascent chain up to and including this glycine is released. Translation-terminating release factors eRF1 and eRF3 play key roles in the reaction. On the depletion of eRF1, a greater proportion of ribosomes extend through the 2A coding sequence, yielding the full-length protein. In contrast, impaired eRF3 GTPase activity leads to many ribosomes failing to translate beyond 2A. Further, high-level expression of a 2A peptide-containing protein inhibits the growth of cells compromised for release factor activity and leads to errors in stop codon recognition. We propose that the nascent 2A peptide interacts with ribosomes to drive a highly unusual and specific “termination” reaction, despite the presence of a proline codon in the A site. After this, the majority of ribosomes continue translation, generating the separate downstream product.
Germination and early seedling development are coordinately regulated by glucose and phytohormones such as ABA, GA, and ethylene. However, the molecules that affect plant responses to glucose and phytohormones remain to be fully elucidated. Eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1) is responsible for the recognition of the stop codons in mRNAs during protein synthesis. Accumulating evidence indicates that eRF1 functions in other processes in addition to translation termination. The physiological role of eRF1-2, a member of the eRF1 family, in Arabidopsis was examined here. The eRF1-2 gene was found to be specifically induced by glucose. Arabidopsis plants overexpressing eRF1-2 were hypersensitive to glucose during germination and early seedling development. Such hypersensitivity to glucose was accompanied by a dramatic reduction of the expression of glucose-regulated genes, chlorophyll a/b binding protein and plastocyanin. The hypersensitive response was not due to the enhanced accumulation of ABA. In addition, the eRF1-2 overexpressing plants showed increased sensitivity to paclobutrazol, an inhibitor of GA biosynthesis, and exogenous GA restored their normal growth. By contrast, the loss-of-function erf1-2 mutant exhibited resistance to paclobutrazol, suggesting that eRF1-2 may exert a negative effect on the GA signalling pathway. Collectively, these data provide evidence in support of a novel role of eRF1-2 in affecting glucose and phytohormone responses in modulating plant growth and development.
Arabidopsis; eRF1-2; germination; gibberellin; glucose response
Background: eRF3 is an essential, conserved gene, whose essential function has remained obscure.
Results: eRF3 increases multiple turnover peptide release rates beyond the level expected from its stimulation of single turnover krel.
Conclusion: eRF3 increases the efficiency of eRF1-mediated peptide release at limiting concentrations of eRF1.
Significance: This work contributes to our understanding of the essential in vivo role of eRF3.
Eukaryotic peptide release factor 3 (eRF3) is a conserved, essential gene in eukaryotes implicated in translation termination. We have systematically measured the contribution of eRF3 to the rates of peptide release with both saturating and limiting levels of eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1). Although eRF3 modestly stimulates the absolute rate of peptide release (∼5-fold), it strongly increases the rate of peptide release when eRF1 is limiting (>20-fold). This effect was generalizable across all stop codons and in a variety of contexts. Further investigation revealed that eRF1 remains associated with ribosomal complexes after peptide release and subunit dissociation and that eRF3 promotes the dissociation of eRF1 from these post-termination complexes. These data are consistent with models where eRF3 principally affects binding interactions between eRF1 and the ribosome, either prior to or subsequent to peptide release. A role for eRF3 as an escort for eRF1 into its fully accommodated state is easily reconciled with its close sequence similarity to the translational GTPase EFTu.
Protein Synthesis; Ribosomes; Translation; Translation Control; Translation Release Factors; Translation; Translation Release Factors; Ribosomes; Protein Synthesis; Translational Control
Translation termination in eukaryotes is catalyzed by two release factors eRF1 and eRF3 in a cooperative manner. The precise mechanism of stop codon discrimination by eRF1 remains obscure, hindering drug development targeting aberrations at translation termination. By solving the solution structures of the wild-type N-domain of human eRF1 exhibited omnipotent specificity, i.e. recognition of all three stop codons, and its unipotent mutant with UGA-only specificity, we found the conserved GTS loop adopting alternate conformations. We propose that structural variability in the GTS loop may underline the switching between omnipotency and unipotency of eRF1, implying the direct access of the GTS loop to the stop codon. To explore such feasibility, we positioned N-domain in a pre-termination ribosomal complex using the binding interface between N-domain and model RNA oligonucleotides mimicking Helix 44 of 18S rRNA. NMR analysis revealed that those duplex RNA containing 2-nt internal loops interact specifically with helix α1 of N-domain, and displace C-domain from a non-covalent complex of N-domain and C-domain, suggesting domain rearrangement in eRF1 that accompanies N-domain accommodation into the ribosomal A site.
Two competing events, termination and readthrough (or nonsense suppression), can occur when a stop codon reaches the A-site of a translating ribosome. Translation termination results in hydrolysis of the final peptidyl-tRNA bond and release of the completed nascent polypeptide. Alternatively, readthrough, in which the stop codon is erroneously decoded by a suppressor or near cognate transfer RNA (tRNA), results in translation past the stop codon and production of a protein with a C-terminal extension. The relative frequency of termination versus readthrough is determined by parameters such as the stop codon nucleotide context, the activities of termination factors and the abundance of suppressor tRNAs. Using a sensitive and versatile readthrough assay in conjunction with RNA interference technology, we assessed the effects of depleting eukaryotic releases factors 1 and 3 (eRF1 and eRF3) on the termination reaction in human cell lines. Consistent with the established role of eRF1 in triggering peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis, we found that depletion of eRF1 enhances readthrough at all three stop codons in 293 cells and HeLa cells. The role of eRF3 in eukarytotic translation termination is less well understood as its overexpression has been shown to have anti-suppressor effects in yeast but not mammalian systems. We found that depletion of eRF3 has little or no effect on readthrough in 293 cells but does increase readthrough at all three stop codons in HeLa cells. These results support a direct role for eRF3 in translation termination in higher eukaryotes and also highlight the potential for differences in the abundance or activity of termination factors to modulate the balance of termination to readthrough reactions in a cell-type-specific manner.
Translation termination in eukaryotes typically requires the decoding of one of three stop codons UAA, UAG or UGA by the eukaryotic release factor eRF1. The molecular mechanisms that allow eRF1 to decode either A or G in the second nucleotide, but to exclude UGG as a stop codon, are currently not well understood. Several models of stop codon recognition have been developed on the basis of evidence from mutagenesis studies, as well as studies on the evolutionary sequence conservation of eRF1. We show here that point mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae eRF1 display significant variability in their stop codon read-through phenotypes depending on the background genotype of the strain used, and that evolutionary conservation of amino acids in eRF1 is only a poor indicator of the functional importance of individual residues in translation termination. We further show that many phenotypes associated with eRF1 mutants are quantitatively unlinked with translation termination defects, suggesting that the evolutionary history of eRF1 was shaped by a complex set of molecular functions in addition to translation termination. We reassess current models of stop-codon recognition by eRF1 in the light of these new data.
A fundamental aspect of the biogenesis and function of eukaryotic messenger RNA is the quality control systems that recognize and degrade non-functional mRNAs. Eukaryotic mRNAs where translation termination occurs too soon (nonsense-mediated decay)1 or fails to occur (non-stop decay)2 are rapidly degraded. We show that yeast mRNAs with stalls in translation elongation are recognized and targeted for endonucleolytic cleavage, referred to as ‘no-go decay’. The cleavage triggered by no-go decay is dependent on translation and involves Dom34p and Hbs1p. Dom34p and Hbs1p are similar to the translation termination factors eRF1 and eRF3 (refs 3, 4), indicating that these proteins might function in recognizing the stalled ribosome and triggering endonucleolytic cleavage. No-go decay provides a mechanism for clearing the cell of stalled translation elongation complexes, which could occur as a result of damaged mRNAs or ribosomes, or as a mechanism of post-transcriptional control.
Eukaryotic release factor 3 (eRF3) is a GTPase associated with eRF1 in a complex that mediates translation termination in eukaryotes. Studies have related eRF3 with cell cycle regulation, cytoskeleton organization, and tumorigenesis. In mammals, two genes encode two distinct forms of eRF3, eRF3a and eRF3b, which differ in their N-terminal domains. eRF3a is the major factor acting in translation termination, and its expression level controls termination complex formation. Here, we investigate the role of eRF3a in cell cycle progression using short interfering RNAs and flow cytometry. We show that eRF3a depletion induces a G1 arrest and that eRF3a GTP-binding activity, but not the eRF3a N-terminal domain, is required to restore G1-to-S-phase progression. We also show that eRF3a depletion decreases the global translation rate and reduces the polysome charge of mRNA. Finally, we show that two substrates of the mammalian TOR (mTOR) kinase, 4E-BP1 and protein kinase S6K1, are hypophosphorylated in eRF3a-depleted cells. These results strongly suggest that the G1 arrest and the decrease in translation induced by eRF3a depletion are due to the inhibition of mTOR activity and hence that eRF3a belongs to the regulatory pathway of mTOR activity.
Translation termination in eukaryotes is mediated by the release factors eRF1 and eRF3, but mechanisms of the interplay between these factors are not fully understood, due partly to the difficulty of measuring termination on eukaryotic mRNAs. Here, we describe an in vitro system for the assay of termination using competition with programmed frameshifting at the recoding signal of mammalian antizyme. The efficiency of antizyme frameshifting in rabbit reticulocyte lysates was reduced by addition of recombinant rabbit eRF1 and eRF3 in a synergistic manner. Addition of suppressor tRNA to this assay system revealed competition with a third event, stop codon readthrough. Using these assays, we demonstrated that an eRF3 mutation at the GTPase domain repressed termination in a dominant negative fashion probably by binding to eRF1. The effect of the release factors and the suppressor tRNA showed that the stop codon at the antizyme frameshift site is relatively inefficient compared to either the natural termination signals at the end of protein coding sequences or the readthrough signal from a plant virus. The system affords a convenient assay for release factor activity and has provided some novel views of the mechanism of antizyme frameshifting.
Release factor eRF1 plays a key role in the termination of protein synthesis in eukaryotes. The eRF1 consists of three domains (N, M and C) that perform unique roles in termination. Previous studies of eRF1 point mutants and standard/variant code eRF1 chimeras unequivocally demonstrated a direct involvement of the highly conserved N-domain motifs (NIKS, YxCxxxF and GTx) in stop codon recognition. In the current study, we extend this work by investigating the role of the 41 invariant and conserved N-domain residues in stop codon decoding by human eRF1. Using a combination of the conservative and non-conservative amino acid substitutions, we measured the functional activity of >80 mutant eRF1s in an in vitro reconstituted eukaryotic translation system and selected 15 amino acid residues essential for recognition of different stop codon nucleotides. Furthermore, toe-print analyses provide evidence of a conformational rearrangement of ribosomal complexes that occurs during binding of eRF1 to messenger RNA and reflects stop codon decoding activity of eRF1. Based on our experimental data and molecular modelling of the N-domain at the ribosomal A site, we propose a two-step model of stop codon decoding in the eukaryotic ribosome.
Recent studies of translational control suggest that translation termination may not be simply the end of synthesizing a protein but rather be involved in modulating both the translation efficiency and stability of a given transcript. Using recombinant eukaryotic release factor 3 (eRF3) and cellular extracts, we have shown for Saccharomyces cerevisiae that yeast eRF3 and Pab1p can interact. This interaction, mediated by the N+M domain of eRF3 and amino acids 473 to 577 of Pab1p, was demonstrated to be direct by the two-hybrid approach. We confirmed that a genetic interaction exists between eRF3 and Pab1p and showed that Pab1p overexpression enhances the efficiency of termination in SUP35 (eRF3) mutant and [PSI+] cells. This effect requires the interaction of Pab1p with eRF3. These data further strengthen the possibility that Pab1p has a role in coupling translation termination events with initiation of translation. Several lines of evidence indicate that Pab1p does not influence [PSI+] propagation. First, “[PSI+]-no-more” mutations do not affect eRF3-Pab1p two-hybrid interaction. Second, overexpression of PAB1 does not cure the [PSI+] phenotype or solubilize detectable amounts of eRF3. Third, prion-curing properties of overexpressed HSP104p, which is required for formation and maintenance of [PSI+], were not modified by excess Pab1p.
Expression of the human cytomegalovirus UL4 gene is inhibited by translation of a 22-codon-upstream open reading frame (uORF2). The peptide product of uORF2 acts in a sequence-dependent manner to inhibit its own translation termination, resulting in persistence of the uORF2 peptidyl-tRNA linkage. Consequently, ribosomes stall at the uORF2 termination codon and obstruct downstream translation. Since termination appears to be the critical step affected by translation of uORF2, we examined the role of eukaryotic release factors 1 and 3 (eRF1 and eRF3) in the inhibitory mechanism. In support of the hypothesis that an interaction between eRF1 and uORF2 contributes to uORF2 inhibitory activity, specific residues in each protein, glycines 183 and 184 of the eRF1 GGQ motif and prolines 21 and 22 of the uORF2 peptide, were found to be necessary for full inhibition of downstream translation. Immunoblot analyses revealed that eRF1, but not eRF3, accumulated in the uORF2-stalled ribosome complex. Finally, increased puromycin sensitivity was observed after depletion of eRF1 from the stalled ribosome complex, consistent with inhibition of peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis resulting from an eRF1-uORF2 peptidyl-tRNA interaction. These results reveal the paradoxical potential for interactions between a nascent peptide and eRF1 to obstruct the translation termination cascade.