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1.  Emetine optimally facilitates nascent chain puromycylation and potentiates the RiboPuromycylation Method (RPM) applied to inert cells 
Histochemistry and cell biology  2012;139(3):501-504.
We previously described the RiboPuromyclation method (RPM) to visualize and quantitate translating ribosomes in fixed and permeabilized cells by standard immunofluorescence. RPM is based on puromycylation of nascent chains bound to translating ribosomes followed by detection of puromycylated nascent chains with a puromycin-specific mAb. We now demonstrate that emetine optimally enhances nascent chain puromycylation, and describe a modified RPM protocol for identifying ribosome-bound nascent chains in metabolically inert permeabilized cells.
PMCID: PMC3574230  PMID: 23229864
ribopuromycylation; puromycin; translation; ribosome
2.  Virus-Mediated Compartmentalization of the Host Translational Machinery 
mBio  2014;5(5):e01463-14.
Viruses require the host translational apparatus to synthesize viral proteins. Host stress response mechanisms that suppress translation, therefore, represent a significant obstacle that viruses must overcome. Here, we report a strategy whereby the mammalian orthoreoviruses compartmentalize the translational machinery within virus-induced inclusions known as viral factories (VF). VF are the sites of reovirus replication and assembly but were thought not to contain ribosomes. It was assumed viral mRNAs exited the VF to undergo translation by the cellular machinery, and proteins reentered the factory to participate in assembly. Here, we used ribopuromycylation to visualize active translation in infected cells. These studies revealed that active translation occurs within VF and that ribosomal subunits and proteins required for translation initiation, elongation, termination, and recycling localize to the factory. Interestingly, we observed components of the 43S preinitiation complex (PIC) concentrating primarily at factory margins, suggesting a spatial and/or dynamic organization of translation within the VF. Similarly, the viral single-stranded RNA binding protein σNS localized to the factory margins and had a tubulovesicular staining pattern that extended a short distance from the margins of the factories and colocalized with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) markers. Consistent with these colocalization studies, σNS was found to associate with both eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit A (eIF3A) and the ribosomal subunit pS6R. Together, these findings indicate that σNS functions to recruit 43S PIC machinery to the primary site of viral translation within the viral factory. Pathogen-mediated compartmentalization of the translational apparatus provides a novel mechanism by which viruses might avoid host translational suppression.
Viruses lack biosynthetic capabilities and depend upon the host for protein synthesis. This dependence requires viruses to evolve mechanisms to coerce the host translational machinery into synthesizing viral proteins in the face of ongoing cellular stress responses that suppress global protein synthesis. Reoviruses replicate and assemble within cytoplasmic inclusions called viral factories. However, synthesis of viral proteins was thought to occur in the cytosol. To identify the site(s) of viral translation, we undertook a microscopy-based approach using ribopuromycylation to detect active translation. Here, we report that active translation occurs within viral factories and that translational factors are compartmentalized within factories. Furthermore, we find that the reovirus nonstructural protein σNS associates with 43S preinitiation complexes at the factory margins, suggesting a role for σNS in translation. Together, virus-induced compartmentalization of the host translational machinery represents a strategy for viruses to spatiotemporally couple viral protein synthesis with viral replication and assembly.
PMCID: PMC4172071  PMID: 25227463
3.  SecM-Stalled Ribosomes Adopt an Altered Geometry at the Peptidyl Transferase Center 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(1):e1000581.
A structure of a ribosome stalled during translation of the SecM peptide provides insight into the mechanism by which the large subunit active site is inactivated.
As nascent polypeptide chains are synthesized, they pass through a tunnel in the large ribosomal subunit. Interaction between specific nascent chains and the ribosomal tunnel is used to induce translational stalling for the regulation of gene expression. One well-characterized example is the Escherichia coli SecM (secretion monitor) gene product, which induces stalling to up-regulate translation initiation of the downstream secA gene, which is needed for protein export. Although many of the key components of SecM and the ribosomal tunnel have been identified, understanding of the mechanism by which the peptidyl transferase center of the ribosome is inactivated has been lacking. Here we present a cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction of a SecM-stalled ribosome nascent chain complex at 5.6 Å. While no cascade of rRNA conformational changes is evident, this structure reveals the direct interaction between critical residues of SecM and the ribosomal tunnel. Moreover, a shift in the position of the tRNA–nascent peptide linkage of the SecM-tRNA provides a rationale for peptidyl transferase center silencing, conditional on the simultaneous presence of a Pro-tRNAPro in the ribosomal A-site. These results suggest a distinct allosteric mechanism of regulating translational elongation by the SecM stalling peptide.
Author Summary
In all cells, ribosomes perform the job of making proteins. As the proteins are synthesized they pass through a tunnel in the ribosome, and some growing proteins interact with the tunnel, leading to stalling of protein synthesis. Here, we used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the structure of a ribosome stalled during the translation of the Escherichia coli secretion monitor (SecM) polypeptide chain. The structure reveals the path of the SecM peptide through the tunnel as well as the sites of interaction with the tunnel components. Interestingly, the structure shows a shift in the position of the transfer RNA (tRNA) to which the growing SecM polypeptide chain is attached. Since peptide bond formation during protein synthesis requires precise placement of the substrates, namely, the peptidyl-tRNA and the incoming amino acyl-tRNA, it is proposed that this shift in the SecM-tRNA explains why peptide bond formation cannot occur and translation stalls.
PMCID: PMC3022528  PMID: 21267063
4.  Localization of ribosomal protein S1 in the granular component of the interphase nucleolus and its distribution during mitosis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1985;100(3):873-886.
Using antibodies to various nucleolar and ribosomal proteins, we define, by immunolocalization in situ, the distribution of nucleolar proteins in the different morphological nucleolar subcompartments. In the present study we describe the nucleolar localization of a specific ribosomal protein (S1) by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy using a monoclonal antibody (RS1-105). In immunoblotting experiments, this antibody reacts specifically with the largest and most acidic protein of the small ribosomal subunit (S1) and shows wide interspecies cross-reactivity from amphibia to man. Beside its localization in cytoplasmic ribosomes, this protein is found to be specifically localized in the granular component of the nucleolus and in distinct granular aggregates scattered over the nucleoplasm. This indicates that ribosomal protein S1, in contrast to reports on other ribosomal proteins, is not bound to nascent pre-rRNA transcripts but attaches to preribosomes at later stages of rRNA processing and maturation. This protein is not detected in the residual nucleolar structures of cells inactive in rRNA synthesis such as amphibian and avian erythrocytes. During mitosis, the nucleolar material containing ribosomal protein S1 undergoes a remarkable transition and shows a distribution distinct from that of several other nucleolar proteins. In prophase, the nucleolus disintegrates and protein S1 appears in numerous small granules scattered throughout the prophase nucleus. During metaphase and anaphase, a considerable amount of this protein is found in association with the surfaces of all chromosomes and finely dispersed in the cell plasm. In telophase, protein S1-containing material reaccumulates in granular particles in the nucleoplasm of the newly formed nuclei and, finally, in the re-forming nucleoli. These observations indicate that the nucleolus-derived particles containing ribosomal protein S1 are different from cytoplasmic ribosomes and, in the living cell, are selectively recollected after mitosis into the newly formed nuclei and translocated into a specific nucleolar subcompartment, i.e., the granular component. The nucleolar location of ribosomal protein S1 and its rearrangement during mitosis is discussed in relation to the distribution of other nucleolar proteins.
PMCID: PMC2113517  PMID: 3882724
5.  Trichinella spiralis Paramyosin Binds to C8 and C9 and Protects the Tissue-Dwelling Nematode from Being Attacked by Host Complement 
Paramyosin is a thick myofibrillar protein found exclusively in invertebrates. Evidence suggested that paramyosin from helminths serves not only as a structural protein but also as an immunomodulatory agent. We previously reported that recombinant Trichinella spiralis paramyosin (Ts-Pmy) elicited a partial protective immunity in mice. In this study, the ability of Ts-Pmy to bind host complement components and protect against host complement attack was investigated.
Methods and Findings
In this study, the transcriptional and protein expression levels of Ts-Pmy were determined in T. spiralis newborn larva (NBL), muscle larva (ML) and adult worm developmental stages by RT-PCR and western blot analysis. Expression of Ts-Pmy at the outer membrane was observed in NBL and adult worms using immunogold electron microscopy and immunofluorescence staining. Functional analysis revealed that recombinant Ts-Pmy(rTs-Pmy) strongly bound to complement components C8 and C9 and inhibited the polymerization of C9 during the formation of the membrane attack complex (MAC). rTs-Pmy also inhibited the lysis of rabbit erythrocytes (ER) elicited by an alternative pathway-activated complement from guinea pig serum. Inhibition of native Ts-Pmy on the surface of NBL with a specific antiserum reduced larvae viability when under the attack of complement in vitro. In vivo passive transfer of anti-Ts-Pmy antiserum and complement-treated larvae into mice also significantly reduced the number of larvae that developed to ML.
These studies suggest that the outer membrane form of T. spiralis paramyosin plays an important role in the evasion of the host complement attack.
Author Summary
Trichinellosis is a serious food borne parasitic disease caused by the consumption of meat contaminated with the infective larvae of Trichinella spiralis. The ability of the tissue-dwelling parasite to evade the host complement attack is essential for its survival and for establishing infection in the host. This study describes the expression of paramyosin, a muscular protein in invertebrates, on the surface of Trichinella spiralis and its role in the defense against the host complement attack as a survival strategy. Using a specific antiserum, expression of Trichinella spiralis paramyosin was detected on the outer membrane of the adult worms and newborn larvae. Functional analysis revealed that recombinant Trichinella spiralis paramyosin protein strongly bound human complement components C8 and C9 and inhibited the formation of the complement membrane attack complex. Neutralization with a specific antiserum greatly impaired the protective effect of paramyosin on the viability and infectivity of Trichinella spiralis newborn larva when under attack by complement. These studies suggest that the outer membrane form of Trichinella spiralis paramyosin plays an important role in the evasion of the host complement attack and is therefore a good target for vaccine and pharmaceutical development.
PMCID: PMC3130009  PMID: 21750743
6.  Final Pre-40S Maturation Depends on the Functional Integrity of the 60S Subunit Ribosomal Protein L3 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(3):e1004205.
Ribosomal protein L3 is an evolutionarily conserved protein that participates in the assembly of early pre-60S particles. We report that the rpl3[W255C] allele, which affects the affinity and function of translation elongation factors, impairs cytoplasmic maturation of 20S pre-rRNA. This was not seen for other mutations in or depletion of L3 or other 60S ribosomal proteins. Surprisingly, pre-40S particles containing 20S pre-rRNA form translation-competent 80S ribosomes, and translation inhibition partially suppresses 20S pre-rRNA accumulation. The GTP-dependent translation initiation factor Fun12 (yeast eIF5B) shows similar in vivo binding to ribosomal particles from wild-type and rpl3[W255C] cells. However, the GTPase activity of eIF5B failed to stimulate processing of 20S pre-rRNA when assayed with ribosomal particles purified from rpl3[W255C] cells. We conclude that L3 plays an important role in the function of eIF5B in stimulating 3′ end processing of 18S rRNA in the context of 80S ribosomes that have not yet engaged in translation. These findings indicate that the correct conformation of the GTPase activation region is assessed in a quality control step during maturation of cytoplasmic pre-ribosomal particles.
Author Summary
Recent progress has provided us with detailed knowledge of the structure and function of eukaryotic ribosomes. However, our understanding of the intricate processes of pre-ribosome assembly and the transition to translation-competent ribosomal subunits remains incomplete. The early and intermediate steps of ribosome assembly occur successively in the nucleolus and nucleoplasm. The pre-ribosomal subunits are then exported to the cytoplasm where final maturation steps, notably including D site cleavage of the 20S pre-rRNA to mature 18S rRNA, confer subunit joining and translation competence. Recent evidence indicates that pre-40S subunits are subject to a quality control step involving the GTP-dependent translation initiation factor eIF5B/Fun12, in the context of 80S-like ribosomes. Here, we demonstrate the involvement of 60S subunits in promoting 20S pre-rRNA cleavage. In particular, we show that a specific point mutation in the 60S subunit ribosomal protein L3 (rpl3[W255C]) leads to the accumulation of pre-40S particles that contain the 20S pre-rRNA but are translation-competent. Notably, this mutation prevents the stimulation of the GTPase activity of eIF5B/Fun12, which is also required for site D cleavage. We conclude that L3 plays an important role in regulating the function of eIF5B/Fun12 during 3′ end processing of 18S rRNA at site D, in the context of 80S ribosomes that have not yet engaged in translation.
PMCID: PMC3945201  PMID: 24603549
7.  Structures of the scanning and engaged states of the mammalian SRP-ribosome complex 
eLife  null;4:e07975.
The universally conserved signal recognition particle (SRP) is essential for the biogenesis of most integral membrane proteins. SRP scans the nascent chains of translating ribosomes, preferentially engaging those with hydrophobic targeting signals, and delivers these ribosome-nascent chain complexes to the membrane. Here, we present structures of native mammalian SRP-ribosome complexes in the scanning and engaged states. These structures reveal the near-identical SRP architecture of these two states, show many of the SRP-ribosome interactions at atomic resolution, and suggest how the polypeptide-binding M domain selectively engages hydrophobic signals. The scanning M domain, pre-positioned at the ribosomal exit tunnel, is auto-inhibited by a C-terminal amphipathic helix occluding its hydrophobic binding groove. Upon engagement, the hydrophobic targeting signal displaces this amphipathic helix, which then acts as a protective lid over the signal. Biochemical experiments suggest how scanning and engagement are coordinated with translation elongation to minimize exposure of hydrophobic signals during membrane targeting.
eLife digest
Proteins are long chain-like molecules built from smaller building blocks, called amino acids, by a large molecular machine known as a ribosome. Although all proteins are assembled inside cells, some of them must be delivered to the outside or inserted into cell membranes. It is important to understand how this selective delivery system works because secreted proteins (i.e., those delivered outside) and membrane-embedded proteins are essential for cells to communicate with their surroundings. Proteins destined for secretion or membrane insertion contain characteristic stretches of amino acids that act as a targeting signal for delivery to the membrane. These targeting signals are recognized by the ‘signal recognition particle’ (or SRP for short), a large complex found in all living organisms. The SRP has the task of finding ribosomes that are assembling proteins with a targeting signal, and then taking them to the membrane. The protein being assembled can then either cross the membrane for secretion by the cell, or get embedded within the membrane.
So, how can the SRP scan the broad range of proteins that are made by the ribosome and engage with only those containing targeting signals? Voorhees and Hegde investigated this question by analyzing SRPs bound to ribosomes that were at different stages of building a membrane protein. The experiment was devised so that SRP would be in two different states: in the first state, the SRP was scanning for its targeting signal and, in the second, it was engaged with the targeting signal. Voorhees and Hegde took many thousands of pictures of these samples using a technique called cryo-electron microscopy, and reconstructed the three-dimensional structures of both states. This revealed fine details of how SRP positions itself immediately next to the part of the ribosome where newly formed protein chains emerge. From here, the SRP scans the protein until the targeting signal emerges and then it engages with the protein.
Engaging the targeting signal just as it emerges from the ribosome is probably important because targeting signals tend to aggregate if they are exposed to the contents of a cell. The new structures show how SRP cradles the targeting signal inside a binding groove and covers it with a protective lid to minimize its risk of aggregation. The next challenges are to figure out how SRP chooses which ribosomes to scan, and how it releases the targeting signal when it has delivered it to the membrane.
PMCID: PMC4497383  PMID: 26158507
rabbit; protein targeting; cryo-EM; membrane protein biogenesis; signal recognition particle; other
8.  Isolation of Translating Ribosomes Containing Peptidyl-tRNAs for Functional and Structural Analyses 
Recently, structural and biochemical studies have detailed many of the molecular events that occur in the ribosome during inhibition of protein synthesis by antibiotics and during nascent polypeptide synthesis. Some of these antibiotics, and regulatory nascent polypeptides mostly in the form of peptidyl-tRNAs, inhibit either peptide bond formation or translation termination1-7. These inhibitory events can stop the movement of the ribosome, a phenomenon termed "translational arrest". Translation arrest induced by either an antibiotic or a nascent polypeptide has been shown to regulate the expression of genes involved in diverse cellular functions such as cell growth, antibiotic resistance, protein translocation and cell metabolism8-13. Knowledge of how antibiotics and regulatory nascent polypeptides alter ribosome function is essential if we are to understand the complete role of the ribosome in translation, in every organism.
Here, we describe a simple methodology that can be used to purify, exclusively, for analysis, those ribosomes translating a specific mRNA and containing a specific peptidyl-tRNA14. This procedure is based on selective isolation of translating ribosomes bound to a biotin-labeled mRNA. These translational complexes are separated from other ribosomes in the same mixture, using streptavidin paramagnetic beads (SMB) and a magnetic field (MF). Biotin-labeled mRNAs are synthesized by run-off transcription assays using as templates PCR-generated DNA fragments that contain T7 transcriptional promoters. T7 RNA polymerase incorporates biotin-16-UMP from biotin-UTP; under our conditions approximately ten biotin-16-UMP molecules are incorporated in a 600 nt mRNA with a 25% UMP content. These biotin-labeled mRNAs are then isolated, and used in in vitro translation assays performed with release factor 2 (RF2)-depleted cell-free extracts obtained from Escherichia coli strains containing wild type or mutant ribosomes. Ribosomes translating the biotin-labeled mRNA sequences are stalled at the stop codon region, due to the absence of the RF2 protein, which normally accomplishes translation termination. Stalled ribosomes containing the newly synthesized peptidyl-tRNA are isolated and removed from the translation reactions using SMB and an MF. These beads only bind biotin-containing messages.
The isolated, translational complexes, can be used to analyze the structural and functional features of wild type or mutant ribosomal components, or peptidyl-tRNA sequences, as well as determining ribosome interaction with antibiotics or other molecular factors 1,14-16. To examine the function of these isolated ribosome complexes, peptidyl-transferase assays can be performed in the presence of the antibiotic puromycin1. To study structural changes in translational complexes, well established procedures can be used, such as i) crosslinking to specific amino acids14 and/or ii) alkylation protection assays1,14,17.
PMCID: PMC3197406  PMID: 21403627
9.  mRNA-programmed translation pauses in the targeting of E. coli membrane proteins 
eLife  null;3:e03440.
In all living organisms, ribosomes translating membrane proteins are targeted to membrane translocons early in translation, by the ubiquitous signal recognition particle (SRP) system. In eukaryotes, the SRP Alu domain arrests translation elongation of membrane proteins until targeting is complete. Curiously, however, the Alu domain is lacking in most eubacteria. In this study, by analyzing genome-wide data on translation rates, we identified a potential compensatory mechanism in E. coli that serves to slow down the translation during membrane protein targeting. The underlying mechanism is likely programmed into the coding sequence, where Shine–Dalgarno-like elements trigger elongation pauses at strategic positions during the early stages of translation. We provide experimental evidence that slow translation during targeting and improves membrane protein production fidelity, as it correlates with better folding of overexpressed membrane proteins. Thus, slow elongation is important for membrane protein targeting in E. coli, which utilizes mechanisms different from the eukaryotic one to control the translation speed.
eLife digest
Proteins are built as long chain-like molecules. First, a length of DNA is copied to make a messenger RNA (or mRNA) molecule, which then binds to a large molecular complex called a ribosome. The ribosome reads and translates the code in the mRNA sequence to build a protein chain, which then folds into a specific three-dimensional shape to allow the protein to perform its function.
Many proteins also need to be targeted to the right location within the cell in order to carry out their role. Some proteins have to be inserted into the membranes of cells and these proteins are directed, as they are being built, to the membrane by another molecular complex called the signal recognition particle (or SRP for short). The SRP binds to the new protein as it emerges from the ribosome and helps to direct it to the membrane. To make sure that membrane proteins fold correctly, their translation is paused whilst the protein is being targeted to the membrane. Plants, animals, and other eukaryotes do this via a unique part of the SRP complex that only allows the translation to continue once the translating ribosome has been brought close to the membrane. However, most bacteria lack this part of the SRP complex, and yet they are still able to accurately insert new, correctly folded, proteins into their membranes. This suggests that an alternative mechanism must exist in bacterial cells.
Fluman et al. looked at an existing data set that had measured how many ribosomes are found at different points along the length of mRNA molecules at any given time in the bacterium E. coli. If ribosomes are consistently found at specific sites in given mRNA molecules, it suggests that these are the sites where a pause in translation occurs. Specific short mRNA sequences—that bind to a ribosome and hold it in place—are often found in these pause sites. These sequences are similar to another sequence, called the Shine–Dalgarno sequence that is often also found at the very start of an mRNA molecule, where it functions to recruit a ribosome and begin the translation process.
Fluman et al. reveal that mRNAs of membrane proteins contained these similar sequences early on in their coding region. Some looked likely to pause the translation before the newly formed protein chain emerged from the ribosome, which could give the ribosome time to be targeted to the membrane. Other Shine–Dalgarno-like sequences were found slightly later on in the mRNA molecules for protein chains that span back-and-forth through the membrane several times.
Fluman et al. show that slowing translation in this manner—which is different to that used by eukaryotes—helps to ensure that membrane proteins are folded correctly in E. coli. Although these pauses occur frequently, mainly in the early stages of the translation of membrane proteins, there are many other translation pause sites that are known to exist in other mRNAs. The next challenge is to understand the function of these other pause sites, and how they work together with other mechanisms to regulate translating ribosomes inside cells.
PMCID: PMC4359368  PMID: 25135940
membrane proteins; translation rate; quality control; B. subtilis; E. coli
10.  Speed Controls in Translating Secretory Proteins in Eukaryotes - an Evolutionary Perspective 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(1):e1003294.
Protein translation is the most expensive operation in dividing cells from bacteria to humans. Therefore, managing the speed and allocation of resources is subject to tight control. From bacteria to humans, clusters of relatively rare tRNA codons at the N′-terminal of mRNAs have been implicated in attenuating the process of ribosome allocation, and consequently the translation rate in a broad range of organisms. The current interpretation of “slow” tRNA codons does not distinguish between protein translations mediated by free- or endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-bound ribosomes. We demonstrate that proteins translated by free- or ER-bound ribosomes exhibit different overall properties in terms of their translation efficiency and speed in yeast, fly, plant, worm, bovine and human. We note that only secreted or membranous proteins with a Signal peptide (SP) are specified by segments of “slow” tRNA at the N′-terminal, followed by abundant codons that are considered “fast.” Such profiles apply to 3100 proteins of the human proteome that are composed of secreted and signal peptide (SP)-assisted membranous proteins. Remarkably, the bulks of the proteins (12,000), or membranous proteins lacking SP (3400), do not have such a pattern. Alternation of “fast” and “slow” codons was found also in proteins that translocate to mitochondria through transit peptides (TP). The differential clusters of tRNA adapted codons is not restricted to the N′-terminal of transcripts. Specifically, Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are unified by clusters of low adapted tRNAs codons at the C′-termini. Furthermore, selection of amino acids types and specific codons was shown as the driving force which establishes the translation demands for the secretory proteome. We postulate that “hard-coded” signals within the secretory proteome assist the steps of protein maturation and folding. Specifically, “speed control” signals for delaying the translation of a nascent protein fulfill the co- and post-translational stages such as membrane translocation, proteins processing and folding.
Author Summary
Measurements of translation by ribosomal profiling and additional large-scale methods support the notion that the elongation speed and ribosomal occupancy are tightly regulated. We revisited the proteomes of a number of organisms, from yeast to human, and focused on the appearance of codons' clusters that impact the speed of translation elongation. Thus, transcripts are analyzed according to their encoded “traffic signs.” Specifically, translation by free- or endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-bound ribosomes differs substantially with respect to the codon clusters' distribution at the beginning of the coding region. Discretization of all transcripts to consecutive segments exposed the uniqueness of secreted and membranous proteins that have a signal peptide (SP). Similarly, a non-random codon distribution characterized proteins with “targeting peptides” for mitochondria and for GPI-anchor, while the bulk of the proteome carry no significant pattern of their codons. We conclude that translation via an ER co-translocation process imposes unique constraints on translation efficiency that match with the fate of the proteins as secreted, membranous, mitochondrial-targeted or GPI-anchored. Tuning the translation of a nascent protein is essential for coping with the constraints imposed by membrane-bound translation for a successful ER translocation and protein processing for maturation and folding.
PMCID: PMC3879104  PMID: 24391480
The Journal of Cell Biology  1973;56(1):206-229.
In a medium of high ionic strength, rat liver rough microsomes can be nondestructively disassembled into ribosomes and stripped membranes if nascent polypeptides are discharged from the bound ribosomes by reaction with puromycin. At 750 mM KCl, 5 mM MgCl2, 50 mM Tris·HCl, pH 7 5, up to 85% of all bound ribosomes are released from the membranes after incubation at room temperature with 1 mM puromycin. The ribosomes are released as subunits which are active in peptide synthesis if programmed with polyuridylic acid. The ribosome-denuded, or stripped, rough microsomes (RM) can be recovered as intact, essentially unaltered membranous vesicles Judging from the incorporation of [3H]puromycin into hot acid-insoluble material and from the release of [3H]leucine-labeled nascent polypeptide chains from bound ribosomes, puromycin coupling occurs almost as well at low (25–100 mM) as at high (500–1000 mM) KCl concentrations. Since puromycin-dependent ribosome release only occurs at high ionic strength, it appears that ribosomes are bound to membranes via two types of interactions: a direct one between the membrane and the large ribosomal subunit (labile at high KCl concentration) and an indirect one in which the nascent chain anchors the ribosome to the membrane (puromycin labile). The nascent chains of ribosomes specifically released by puromycin remain tightly associated with the stripped membranes. Some membrane-bound ribosomes (up to 40%) can be nondestructively released in high ionic strength media without puromycin; these appear to consist of a mixture of inactive ribosomes and ribosomes containing relatively short nascent chains. A fraction (∼15%) of the bound ribosomes can only be released from membranes by exposure of RM to ionic conditions which cause extensive unfolding of ribosomal subunits, the nature and significance of these ribosomes is not clear.
PMCID: PMC2108843  PMID: 4682341
12.  Rpm2p, a protein subunit of mitochondrial RNase P, physically and genetically interacts with cytoplasmic processing bodies 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(4):1301-1311.
The RPM2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae codes for a protein subunit of mitochondrial RNase P and has another unknown essential function. We previously demonstrated that Rpm2p localizes to the nucleus and acts as a transcriptional activator. Rpm2p influences the level of mRNAs that encode components of the mitochondrial import apparatus and essential mitochondrial chaperones. Evidence is presented here that Rpm2p interacts with Dcp2p, a subunit of mRNA decapping enzyme in the two-hybrid assay, and is enriched in cytoplasmic P bodies, the sites of mRNA degradation and storage in yeast and mammalian cells. When overexpressed, GFP-Rpm2p does not impact the number and size of P bodies; however, it prevents their disappearance when translation elongation is inhibited by cycloheximide. Proteasome mutants, ump1-2 and pre4-2, that bypass essential Rpm2p function, also stabilize P bodies. The stabilization of P bodies by Rpm2p may occur through reduced protein degradation since GFP-Rpm2p expressing cells have lower levels of ubiquitin. Genetic analysis revealed that overexpression of Dhh1p (a DEAD box helicase localized to P bodies) suppresses temperature-sensitive growth of the rpm2-100 mutant. Overexpression of Pab1p (a poly (A)-binding protein) also suppresses rpm2-100, suggesting that Rpm2p functions in at least two aspects of mRNA metabolism. The results presented here, and the transcriptional activation function demonstrated earlier, implicate Rpm2p as a coordinator of transcription and mRNA storage/decay in P bodies.
PMCID: PMC1851656  PMID: 17267405
13.  The Interaction of the Chaperonin Tailless Complex Polypeptide 1 (Tcp1) Ring Complex (Tric) with Ribosome-Bound Nascent Chains Examined Using Photo-Cross-Linking 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;149(3):591-602.
The eukaryotic chaperonin tailless complex polypeptide 1 (TCP1) ring complex (TRiC) (also called chaperonin containing TCP1 [CCT]) is a hetero-oligomeric complex that facilitates the proper folding of many cellular proteins. To better understand the manner in which TRiC interacts with newly translated polypeptides, we examined its association with nascent chains using a photo-cross-linking approach. To this end, a series of ribosome-bound nascent chains of defined lengths was prepared using truncated mRNAs. Photoactivatable probes were incorporated into these 35S- labeled nascent chains during translation. Upon photolysis, TRiC was cross-linked to ribosome-bound polypeptides exposing at least 50–90 amino acids outside the ribosomal exit channel, indicating that the chaperonin associates with much shorter nascent chains than indicated by previous studies. Cross-links were observed for nascent chains of the cytosolic proteins actin, luciferase, and enolase, but not to ribosome-bound preprolactin. The pattern of cross-links became more complex as the nascent chain increased in length. These results suggest a chain length–dependent increase in the number of TRiC subunits involved in the interaction that is consistent with the idea that the substrate participates in subunit-specific contacts with the chaperonin. Both ribosome isolation by centrifugation through sucrose cushions and immunoprecipitation with anti-puromycin antibodies demonstrated that the photoadducts form on ribosome-bound polypeptides. Our results indicate that TRiC/CCT associates with the translating polypeptide shortly after it emerges from the ribosome and suggest a close association between the chaperonin and the translational apparatus.
PMCID: PMC2174856  PMID: 10791973
protein folding; actin; luciferase; translation; chaperonin
14.  Concordant Regulation of Translation and mRNA Abundance for Hundreds of Targets of a Human microRNA 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(11):e1000238.
A specific microRNA reduces the synthesis of hundreds of proteins via concordant effects on the abundance and translation of the mRNAs that encode them.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally by interfering with a target mRNA's translation, stability, or both. We sought to dissect the respective contributions of translational inhibition and mRNA decay to microRNA regulation. We identified direct targets of a specific miRNA, miR-124, by virtue of their association with Argonaute proteins, core components of miRNA effector complexes, in response to miR-124 transfection in human tissue culture cells. In parallel, we assessed mRNA levels and obtained translation profiles using a novel global approach to analyze polysomes separated on sucrose gradients. Analysis of translation profiles for ∼8,000 genes in these proliferative human cells revealed that basic features of translation are similar to those previously observed in rapidly growing Saccharomyces cerevisiae. For ∼600 mRNAs specifically recruited to Argonaute proteins by miR-124, we found reductions in both the mRNA abundance and inferred translation rate spanning a large dynamic range. The changes in mRNA levels of these miR-124 targets were larger than the changes in translation, with average decreases of 35% and 12%, respectively. Further, there was no identifiable subgroup of mRNA targets for which the translational response was dominant. Both ribosome occupancy (the fraction of a given gene's transcripts associated with ribosomes) and ribosome density (the average number of ribosomes bound per unit length of coding sequence) were selectively reduced for hundreds of miR-124 targets by the presence of miR-124. Changes in protein abundance inferred from the observed changes in mRNA abundance and translation profiles closely matched changes directly determined by Western analysis for 11 of 12 proteins, suggesting that our assays captured most of miR-124–mediated regulation. These results suggest that miRNAs inhibit translation initiation or stimulate ribosome drop-off preferentially near the start site and are not consistent with inhibition of polypeptide elongation, or nascent polypeptide degradation contributing significantly to miRNA-mediated regulation in proliferating HEK293T cells. The observation of concordant changes in mRNA abundance and translational rate for hundreds of miR-124 targets is consistent with a functional link between these two regulatory outcomes of miRNA targeting, and the well-documented interrelationship between translation and mRNA decay.
Author Summary
The human genome contains directions to regulate the timing and magnitude of expression of its thousands of genes. MicroRNAs are important regulatory RNAs that tune the expression levels of tens to hundreds of specific genes by pairing to complimentary stretches in the messenger RNAs from these genes, thereby reducing their stability and their translation into protein. Although the importance of microRNAs is appreciated, little is known about the relative contributions of degradation or repression of translation of the cognate mRNAs to the overall effects on protein synthesis, or the links between these two regulatory mechanisms. We devised a simple, economical method to systematically measure mRNA translation profiles, then applied this method, in combination with gene expression analysis, to measure the effects of the human microRNA miR-124 on the abundance and apparent translation rate of its mRNA targets. We found that for the ∼600 mRNA targets of miR-124 that were identified by their association with microRNA effector complexes, around three quarters of the reduction in estimated protein synthesis was explained by changes in mRNA abundance. Although the apparent changes in translation efficiencies of the targeted mRNAs were smaller in magnitude, they were highly correlated with changes in the abundance of those RNAs, suggesting a functional link between microRNA-mediated repression of translation and mRNA decay.
PMCID: PMC2766070  PMID: 19901979
15.  Inhibiting K63 Polyubiquitination Abolishes No-Go Type Stalled Translation Surveillance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(4):e1005197.
Incidental ribosome stalling during translation elongation is an aberrant phenomenon during protein synthesis and is subjected to quality control by surveillance systems, in which mRNA and a nascent protein are rapidly degraded. Their detailed molecular mechanisms as well as responsible factors for these processes are beginning to be understood. However, the initial processes for detecting stalled translation that result in degradation remain to be determined. Among the factors identified to date, two E3 ubiquitin ligases have been reported to function in distinct manners. Because ubiquitination is one of the most versatile of cellular signals, these distinct functions of E3 ligases suggested diverse ubiquitination pathways during surveillance for stalled translation. In this study, we report experimental evidences for a unique role of non-proteasomal K63 polyubiquitination during quality control for stalled translation. Inhibiting K63 polyubiquitination by expressing a K63R ubiquitin mutation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells markedly abolished the quality control responses for stalled translation. More detailed analyses indicated that the effects of K63R mutants were independent of the proteasome and that K63 polyubiquitination is dependent on Hel2, one of the E3 ligases. Moreover, a K63R ubiquitin mutant barely inhibited the quality control pathway for nonstop translation, indicating distinct mechanisms for these highly related quality control pathways. Our results suggest that non-proteasomal K63 polyubiquitination is included in the initial surveillance process of stalled translation and presumably triggers protein degradation steps upon translational stall. These findings provide crucial information regarding the detailed molecular mechanisms for the initial steps involved in quality control systems and their classification.
Author Summary
Stalled translation during elongation is an aberrant phenomenon during protein synthesis. Thus, once detected, it is subjected to quality control in which mRNA and a nascent protein are rapidly degraded. Although the mechanism of degradation for stalled translation is reasonably well understood, the initial processes, including those for detecting stalled translation, have not been determined. The ubiquitin proteasome pathway has been determined to function in the degradation of a nascent protein during stalled translation. Because a ubiquitin signal is one of the most versatile of cellular signals, we investigated the roles of various ubiquitination mechanisms in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae using ubiquitin mutants that inhibited the polymerization of specific ubiquitin chains. We identified a role of non-proteasomal K63 polyubiquitination in stalled translation surveillance. Moreover, a K63R ubiquitin mutant barely inhibited the quality control pathway for nonstop translation, indicating distinct mechanisms for these highly related quality control pathways. These findings provide insights into the fundamental mechanisms for the initial processes of stalled translation surveillance and further emphasize the versatility of ubiquitin signals in cellular systems.
PMCID: PMC4409330  PMID: 25909477
16.  Formation of a functional ribosome-membrane junction during translocation requires the participation of a GTP-binding protein 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1986;103(6):2253-2261.
The requirement for ribonucleotides and ribonucleotide hydrolysis was examined at several distinct points during translocation of a secretory protein across the endoplasmic reticulum. We monitored binding of in vitro-assembled polysomes to microsomal membranes after removal of ATP and GTP. Ribonucleotides were not required for the initial low salt- insensitive attachment of the ribosome to the membrane. However, without ribonucleotides the nascent secretory chains were sensitive to protease digestion and were readily extracted from the membrane with either EDTA or 0.5 M KOAc. In contrast, nascent chains resisted extraction with either EDTA or 0.5 M KOAc and were insensitive to protease digestion after addition of GTP or nonhydrolyzable GTP analogues. Translocation of the nascent secretory polypeptide was detected only when ribosome binding was conducted in the presence of GTP. Thus, translocation-competent binding of the ribosome to the membrane requires the participation of a novel GTP-binding protein in addition to the signal recognition particle and the signal recognition particle receptor. The second event we examined was translocation and processing of a truncated secretory polypeptide. Membrane-bound polysomes bearing an 86-residue nascent chain were generated by translation of a truncated preprolactin mRNA. Ribonucleotide- independent translocation of the polypeptide was detected by cleavage of the 30-residue signal sequence after puromycin termination. Nascent chain transport, per se, is apparently dependent upon neither ribonucleotide hydrolysis nor continued elongation of the polypeptide once a functional ribosome-membrane junction has been established.
PMCID: PMC2114577  PMID: 3097028
17.  Cdc48/p97 promotes degradation of aberrant nascent polypeptides bound to the ribosome 
eLife  null;2:e00308.
Ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis can initiate at ribosomes for myriad reasons including misfolding of a nascent chain or stalling of the ribosome during translation of mRNA. Clearance of a stalled complex is required to recycle the ribosome for future use. Here we show that the ubiquitin (Ub) pathway segregase Cdc48/p97 and its adaptors Ufd1-Npl4 participate in ribosome-associated degradation (RAD) by mediating the clearance of ubiquitinated, tRNA-linked nascent peptides from ribosomes. Through characterization of both endogenously-generated and heterologous model substrates for the RAD pathway, we conclude that budding yeast Cdc48 functions downstream of the Ub ligases Ltn1 and Ubr1 to release nascent proteins from the ribosome so that they can be degraded by the proteasome. Defective RAD could contribute to the pathophysiology of human diseases caused by mutations in p97.
eLife digest
Ribosomes are complex molecular machines that translate the sequence of bases in a messenger RNA (mRNA) transcript into a polypeptide that subsequently folds to form a protein. Each ribosome is composed of two major subunits: the small subunit reads the mRNA transcript, and the large subunit joins amino acids together to form the polypeptide. This process stops when the ribosome encounters a stop codon and releases the completed polypeptide.
It is critical that cells perform some form of quality control on the polypeptides as they are translated to prevent a build up of incomplete, incorrect or toxic proteins in cells. Problems can occur if a ribosome stalls while translating the mRNA transcript, or if the mRNA transcript is defective. For example, most mRNA transcripts contain a stop codon, but some do not, and these non-stop mRNA transcripts result in a non-stop polypeptide that remains tethered to the ribosome. It is important that the cell identifies and removes these faulty polypeptides so as to leave the ribosome free to translate other (non-faulty) mRNA transcripts. A regulatory protein called ubiquitin is responsible for marking and sending proteins that are faulty, or are no longer needed by the cell, to a molecular machine called the proteasome, where they are degraded by a process called proteolysis. In 2010 researchers identified Ltn1 as the enzyme that attaches ubiquitin to non-stop proteins in yeast.
Now, building on this work, Verma et al. identify additional proteins involved in this process. In particular, an ATPase enzyme called Cdc48 (known as p97 or VCP in human cells) and two co-factors—Ufd1 and Npl4—promote release of the ubiquitinated non-stop polypeptides from the ribosomes, thus committing the marked polypeptide to destruction by the proteasome. Verma et al. also show that the Cdc48-Ufd1-Npl4 complex is involved in other aspects of quality control of newly synthesized proteins within cells. Collectively these processes are known as ribosome-associated degradation.
Mutations of the gene that codes for human p97 can cause a number of diseases, including Paget's disease of the bone and frontotemporal dementia, so an improved understanding of ribosome-associated degradation could provide new insights into these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3552423  PMID: 23358411
ubiquitin; ribosome; Cdc48; S. cerevisiae
18.  The ribosome quality control pathway can access nascent polypeptides stalled at the Sec61 translocon 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2015;26(12):2168-2180.
Secretory proteins that stall during their translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum can be polyubiquitinated by a ribosome-associated quality control pathway that accesses its targets via a gap at the ribosome–translocon junction. This pathway may help resolve blocked translocons and efficiently degrade unfinished proteins.
Cytosolic ribosomes that stall during translation are split into subunits, and nascent polypeptides trapped in the 60S subunit are ubiquitinated by the ribosome quality control (RQC) pathway. Whether the RQC pathway can also target stalls during cotranslational translocation into the ER is not known. Here we report that listerin and NEMF, core RQC components, are bound to translocon-engaged 60S subunits on native ER membranes. RQC recruitment to the ER in cultured cells is stimulated by translation stalling. Biochemical analyses demonstrated that translocon-targeted nascent polypeptides that subsequently stall are polyubiquitinated in 60S complexes. Ubiquitination at the translocon requires cytosolic exposure of the polypeptide at the ribosome–Sec61 junction. This exposure can result from either failed insertion into the Sec61 channel or partial backsliding of translocating nascent chains. Only Sec61-engaged nascent chains early in their biogenesis were relatively refractory to ubiquitination. Modeling based on recent 60S–RQC and 80S–Sec61 structures suggests that the E3 ligase listerin accesses nascent polypeptides via a gap in the ribosome–translocon junction near the Sec61 lateral gate. Thus the RQC pathway can target stalled translocation intermediates for degradation from the Sec61 channel.
PMCID: PMC4462936  PMID: 25877867
19.  Structure of the Mammalian Ribosome-Sec61 Complex to 3.4 Å Resolution 
Cell  2014;157(7):1632-1643.
Cotranslational protein translocation is a universally conserved process for secretory and membrane protein biosynthesis. Nascent polypeptides emerging from a translating ribosome are either transported across or inserted into the membrane via the ribosome-bound Sec61 channel. Here, we report structures of a mammalian ribosome-Sec61 complex in both idle and translating states, determined to 3.4 and 3.9 Å resolution. The data sets permit building of a near-complete atomic model of the mammalian ribosome, visualization of A/P and P/E hybrid-state tRNAs, and analysis of a nascent polypeptide in the exit tunnel. Unprecedented chemical detail is observed for both the ribosome-Sec61 interaction and the conformational state of Sec61 upon ribosome binding. Comparison of the maps from idle and translating complexes suggests how conformational changes to the Sec61 channel could facilitate translocation of a secreted polypeptide. The high-resolution structure of the mammalian ribosome-Sec61 complex provides a valuable reference for future functional and structural studies.
Graphical Abstract
•A near-complete atomic resolution structure of the mammalian ribosome•Snapshot of a translating ribosome with hybrid state tRNAs and nascent polypeptide•Structures of the Sec61 translocon bound to idle and translating ribosomes•Molecular details of the residues involved in the ribosome-Sec61 interaction
High-resolution structures of the cotranslational translocation complex in two states containing either an idle or actively translating ribosome provide an unprecedented view of the mammalian ribosome, the translocation channel, and molecular details of how they are coupled.
PMCID: PMC4081569  PMID: 24930395
20.  RpL22e, but not RpL22e-like-PA, is SUMOylated and localizes to the nucleoplasm of Drosophila meiotic spermatocytes 
Nucleus  2013;4(3):241-258.
Duplicated ribosomal protein (Rp) gene families often encode highly similar or identical proteins with redundant or unique roles. Eukaryotic-specific paralogues RpL22e and RpL22e-like-PA are structurally divergent within the N terminus and differentially expressed, suggesting tissue-specific functions. We previously identified RpL22e-like-PA as a testis Rp. Strikingly, RpL22e is detected in immunoblots at its expected molecular mass (m) of 33 kD and at increasing m of ~43–55 kD, suggesting RpL22e post-translational modification (PTM). Numerous PTMs, including N-terminal SUMOylation, are predicted computationally. Based on S2 cell co-immunoprecipitations, bacterial-based SUMOylation assays and in vivo germline-specific RNAi depletion of SUMO, we conclude that RpL22e is a SUMO substrate. Testis-specific PTMs are evident, including a phosphorylated version of SUMOylated RpL22e identified by in vitro phosphatase experiments. In ribosomal profiles from S2 cells, only unconjugated RpL22e co-sediments with active ribosomes, supporting an extra-translational role for SUMOylated RpL22e. Ectopic expression of an RpL22e N-terminal deletion (lacking SUMO motifs) shows that truncated RpL22e co-sediments with polysomes, implying that RpL22e SUMOylation is dispensable for ribosome biogenesis and function. In mitotic germ cells, both paralogues localize within the cytoplasm and nucleolus. However, within meiotic cells, phase contrast microscopy and co-immunohistochemical analysis with nucleolar markers nucleostemin1 and fibrillarin reveals diffuse nucleoplasmic, but not nucleolar RpL22e localization that transitions to a punctate pattern as meiotic cells mature, suggesting an RpL22e role outside of translation. Germline-specific knockdown of SUMO shows that RpL22e nucleoplasmic distribution is sensitive to SUMO levels, as immunostaining becomes more dispersed. Overall, these data suggest distinct male germline roles for RpL22e and RpL22e-like-PA.
PMCID: PMC3720754  PMID: 23778934
RpL22e; RpL22e-like-PA; Drosophila; ribosomal protein paralogues; duplicated ribosomal proteins; SUMOylation; phosphorylation; post-translational modification; male germline
21.  Receptor for Fc on the Surfaces of Schistosomes 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(6):3646-3651.
Schistosoma mansoni masks its surface with adsorbed host proteins including erythrocyte antigens, immunoglobulins, major histocompatibility complex class I, and β2-microglobulin (β2m), presumably as a means of avoiding host immune responses. How this is accomplished has not been explained. To identify surface receptors for host proteins, we biotinylated the tegument of live S. mansoni adults and mechanically transformed schistosomula and then removed the parasite surface with detergent. Incubation of biotinylated schistosome surface extracts with human immunoglobulin G (IgG) Fc-Sepharose resulted in purification of a 97-kDa protein that was subsequently identified as paramyosin (Pmy), using antiserum specific for recombinant Pmy. Fc also bound recombinant S. mansoni Pmy and native S. japonicum Pmy. Antiserum to Pmy decreased the binding of Pmy to Fc-Sepharose, and no proteins bound after removal of Pmy from extracts. Fluoresceinated human Fc bound to the surface, vestigial penetration glands, and nascent oral cavity of mechanically transformed schistosomula, and rabbit anti-Pmy Fab fragments ablated the binding of Fc to the schistosome surface. Pmy coprecipitated with host IgG from parasite surface extracts, indicating that complexes formed on the parasite surface as well as in vitro. Binding of Pmy to Fc was not inhibited by soluble protein A, suggesting that Pmy does not bind to the region between the CH2 and CH3 domains used by many other Fc-binding proteins. β2m did not bind to the schistosome Fc receptor (Pmy), a finding that contradicts reports from earlier workers but did bind to a heteromultimer of labeled schistosomula surface proteins. This is the first report of the molecular identity of a schistosome Fc receptor; moreover it demonstrates an additional aspect of the unusual and multifunctional properties of Pmy from schistosomes and other parasitic flatworms.
PMCID: PMC98357  PMID: 11349025
22.  Structure and Assembly Pathway of the Ribosome Quality Control Complex 
Molecular Cell  2015;57(3):433-444.
During ribosome-associated quality control, stalled ribosomes are split into subunits and the 60S-housed nascent polypeptides are poly-ubiquitinated by Listerin. How this low-abundance ubiquitin ligase targets rare stall-generated 60S among numerous empty 60S is unknown. Here, we show that Listerin specificity for nascent chain-60S complexes depends on nuclear export mediator factor (NEMF). The 3.6 Å cryo-EM structure of a nascent chain-containing 60S-Listerin-NEMF complex revealed that NEMF makes multiple simultaneous contacts with 60S and peptidyl-tRNA to sense nascent chain occupancy. Structural and mutational analyses showed that ribosome-bound NEMF recruits and stabilizes Listerin’s N-terminal domain, while Listerin’s C-terminal RWD domain directly contacts the ribosome to position the adjacent ligase domain near the nascent polypeptide exit tunnel. Thus, highly specific nascent chain targeting by Listerin is imparted by the avidity gained from a multivalent network of context-specific individually weak interactions, highlighting a new principle of client recognition during protein quality control.
Graphical Abstract
•Targeting of Listerin E3 ligase to translationally stalled proteins requires NEMF•NEMF binds to the 60S subunit, prevents 40S rejoining, and stabilizes Listerin•Cryo-EM structure of the 60S-NEMF-Listerin complex reveals a network of interactions•NEMF discriminates 60S-nascent chains from empty 60S via exposed peptidyl tRNA
Ribosomes that stall during translation are dissociated, and the aberrant polypeptide within the 60S ribosomal subunit is poly-ubiquitinated by Listerin. Shao et al. identify NEMF as a factor that facilitates Listerin recruitment to 60S-nascent chains and provide structural insights into how targets are selected during this ribosome-associated quality control pathway.
PMCID: PMC4321881  PMID: 25578875
23.  Predominant membrane localization is an essential feature of the bacterial signal recognition particle receptor 
BMC Biology  2009;7:76.
The signal recognition particle (SRP) receptor plays a vital role in co-translational protein targeting, because it connects the soluble SRP-ribosome-nascent chain complex (SRP-RNCs) to the membrane bound Sec translocon. The eukaryotic SRP receptor (SR) is a heterodimeric protein complex, consisting of two unrelated GTPases. The SRβ subunit is an integral membrane protein, which tethers the SRP-interacting SRα subunit permanently to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. The prokaryotic SR lacks the SRβ subunit and consists of only the SRα homologue FtsY. Strikingly, although FtsY requires membrane contact for functionality, cell fractionation studies have localized FtsY predominantly to the cytosolic fraction of Escherichia coli. So far, the exact function of the soluble SR in E. coli is unknown, but it has been suggested that, in contrast to eukaryotes, the prokaryotic SR might bind SRP-RNCs already in the cytosol and only then initiates membrane targeting.
In the current study we have determined the contribution of soluble FtsY to co-translational targeting in vitro and have re-analysed the localization of FtsY in vivo by fluorescence microscopy. Our data show that FtsY can bind to SRP-ribosome nascent chains (RNCs) in the absence of membranes. However, these soluble FtsY-SRP-RNC complexes are not efficiently targeted to the membrane. In contrast, we observed effective targeting of SRP-RNCs to membrane-bond FtsY. These data show that soluble FtsY does not contribute significantly to cotranslational targeting in E. coli. In agreement with this observation, our in vivo analyses of FtsY localization in bacterial cells by fluorescence microscopy revealed that the vast majority of FtsY was localized to the inner membrane and that soluble FtsY constituted only a negligible species in vivo.
The exact function of the SRP receptor (SR) in bacteria has so far been enigmatic. Our data show that the bacterial SR is almost exclusively membrane-bound in vivo, indicating that the presence of a soluble SR is probably an artefact of cell fractionation. Thus, co-translational targeting in bacteria does not involve the formation of a soluble SR-signal recognition particle (SRP)-ribosome nascent chain (RNC) intermediate but requires membrane contact of FtsY for efficient SRP-RNC recruitment.
PMCID: PMC2780400  PMID: 19912622
24.  Membrane-bound ribosomes of myeloma cells. III. The role of the messenger RNA and the nascent polypeptide chain in the binding of ribosomes to membranes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1975;67(1):25-37.
Mild ribonuclease treatment of the membrane fraction of P3K cells released three types of membrane-bound ribosomal particles: (a) all the newly made native 40S subunits detected after 2 h of [3H]uridine pulse. Since after a 3-min pulse with [35S]methionine these membrane native subunits appear to contain at least sevenfold more Met-tRNA per particle than the free native subunits, they may all be initiation complexes with mRNA molecules which have just become associated with the membranes; (b) about 50% of the ribosomes present in polyribosomes. Evidence is presented that the released ribosomes carry nascent chains about two and a half to three times shorter than those present on the ribosomes remaining bound to the membranes. It is proposed that in the membrane-bound polyribosomes of P3K cells, only the ribosomes closer to the 3' end of the mRNA molecules are directly bound, while the latest ribosomes to enter the polyribosomal structures are indirectly bound through the mRNA molecules; (c) a small number of 40S subunits of polyribosomal origin, presumably initiation complexes attached at the 5' end of mRNA molecules of polyribosomes. When the P3K cells were incubated with inhibitors acting at different steps of protein synthesis, it was found that puromycin and pactamycin decreased by about 40% the proportion of ribosomes in the membrane fraction, while cycloheximide and anisomycin had no such effect. The ribosomes remaining on the membrane fraction of puromycin-treated cells consisted of a few polyribosomes, and of an accumulation of 80S and 60S particles, which were almost entirely released by high salt treatment of the membranes. The membrane-bound ribosomes found after pactamycin treatment consisted of a few polyribosomes, with a striking accumulation of native 60S subunits and an increased number of native 40S subunits. On the basis of the observations made in this and the preceding papers, a model for the binding of ribosomes to membranes and for the ribosomal cycle on the membranes is proposed. It is suggested that ribosomal subunits exchange between free and membrane-bound polyribosomes through the cytoplasmic pool of free native subunits, and that their entry into membrane-bound ribosomes is mediated by mRNA molecules associated with membranes.
PMCID: PMC2109571  PMID: 1176534
25.  Membrane-bound ribosomes of myeloma cells. VI. Initiation of immunoglobulin mRNA translation occurs on free ribosomes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1981;88(1):42-50.
Immunoglobulin heavy (Ig H) and light (Ig L) chain mRNA molecules have been released from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes as free (F) mRNP particles when MOPC 21 (P3K) mouse myeloma cells are exposed to a hypertonic initiation block (HIB). The subsequent fate of these mRNA sequences has been examined when the cells are returned to normal growth medium. Upon return to isotonicity, all previously translated mRNA molecules reassociate with ribosomes and form functional polysomes. Ig H mRNA is found incorporated first into F polysomes and then into membrane-bound (MB) polysomes. Kinetic studies indicate that the time of passage of Ig H mRNA in F polysomes is approximately 30 s, during which a nascent polypeptide chain of approximately 80 amino acids would have been completed. When the rate of polypeptide elongation is depressed with emetine during the recovery from HIB, both Ig H and L mRNA molecules accumulate in small F polysomes. These results indicate that the formation of Ig-synthesizing polysomes proceeds in the sequence: mRNA leads to F polysomes leads to MB polysomes. With the additional observation that during HIB recovery puromycin completely prevents the reassociation of Ig mRNA with the ER, these findings support a model of MB polysome formation in which the specificity of membrane attachment is determined by the nature of the N- terminal amino acid sequence of the nascent polypeptide chain.
PMCID: PMC2111713  PMID: 6782111

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