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1.  Elongation factor eEF1B modulates functions of the release factors eRF1 and eRF3 and the efficiency of translation termination in yeast 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:60.
Termination of translation in eukaryotes is controlled by two interacting polypeptide chain release factors, eRF1 and eRF3. While eRF1 recognizes nonsense codons, eRF3 facilitates polypeptide chain release from the ribosome in a GTP-dependent manner. Besides termination, both release factors have essential, but poorly characterized functions outside of translation.
To characterize further the functions of yeast eRF1 and eRF3, a genetic screen for their novel partner proteins was performed. As a result, the genes for γ (TEF4 and TEF3/CAM1) and α (TEF5/EFB1) subunits of the translation elongation factor eEF1B, known to catalyze the exchange of bound GDP for GTP on eEF1A, were revealed. These genes act as dosage suppressors of a synthetic growth defect caused by some mutations in the SUP45 and SUP35 genes encoding eRF1 and eRF3, respectively. Extra copies of TEF5 and TEF3 can also suppress the temperature sensitivity of some sup45 and sup35 mutants and reduce nonsense codon readthrough caused by these omnipotent suppressors. Besides, overproduction of eEF1Bα reduces nonsense codon readthrough in the strain carrying suppressor tRNA. Such effects were not shown for extra copies of TEF2, which encodes eEF1A, thus indicating that they were not due to eEF1A activation.
The data obtained demonstrate involvement of the translation elongation factor eEF1B in modulating the functions of translation termination factors and suggest its possible role in GDP for GTP exchange on eRF3.
PMCID: PMC2705663  PMID: 19545407
2.  Involvement of Human Release Factors eRF3a and eRF3b in Translation Termination and Regulation of the Termination Complex Formation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(14):5801-5811.
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.
PMCID: PMC1168810  PMID: 15987998
3.  A genetic approach for analyzing the co-operative function of the tRNA mimicry complex, eRF1/eRF3, in translation termination on the ribosome 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(12):7851-7866.
During termination of translation in eukaryotes, a GTP-binding protein, eRF3, functions within a complex with the tRNA-mimicking protein, eRF1, to decode stop codons. It remains unclear how the tRNA-mimicking protein co-operates with the GTPase and with the functional sites on the ribosome. In order to elucidate the molecular characteristics of tRNA-mimicking proteins involved in stop codon decoding, we have devised a heterologous genetic system in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that eRF3 from Pneumocystis carinii (Pc-eRF3) did not complement depletion of S. cerevisiae eRF3. The strength of Pc-eRF3 binding to Sc-eRF1 depends on the GTP-binding domain, suggesting that defects of the GTPase switch in the heterologous complex causes the observed lethality. We isolated mutants of Pc-eRF3 and Sc-eRF1 that restore cell growth in the presence of Pc-eRF3 as the sole source of eRF3. Mapping of these mutations onto the latest 3D-complex structure revealed that they were located in the binding-interface region between eRF1 and eRF3, as well as in the ribosomal functional sites. Intriguingly, a novel functional site was revealed adjacent to the decoding site of eRF1, on the tip domain that mimics the tRNA anticodon loop. This novel domain likely participates in codon recognition, coupled with the GTPase function.
PMCID: PMC4081094  PMID: 24914055
4.  Overexpression of human release factor 1 alone has an antisuppressor effect in human cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1997;17(6):3164-3172.
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.
PMCID: PMC232169  PMID: 9154815
5.  GTP Hydrolysis by eRF3 Facilitates Stop Codon Decoding during Eukaryotic Translation Termination 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(17):7769-7778.
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.
PMCID: PMC506980  PMID: 15314182
6.  Mutation at Tyrosine in AMLRY (GILRY Like) Motif of Yeast eRF1 on Nonsense Codons Suppression and Binding Affinity to eRF3 
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.
PMCID: PMC2359899  PMID: 18463713
eRF1; eRF3; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; termination translation; nonsense codon suppression; binding affinity
7.  GTP-dependent structural rearrangement of the eRF1:eRF3 complex and eRF3 sequence motifs essential for PABP binding 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;38(2):548-558.
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.
PMCID: PMC2811017  PMID: 19906736
8.  Molecular dissection of translation termination mechanism identifies two new critical regions in eRF1 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(6):1789-1798.
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.
PMCID: PMC2665212  PMID: 19174561
9.  Termination of translation in eukaryotes is mediated by the quaternary eRF1•eRF3•GTP•Mg2+ complex. The biological roles of eRF3 and prokaryotic RF3 are profoundly distinct 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(14):3947-3954.
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.
PMCID: PMC1557817  PMID: 16914449
10.  A novel mutant of the Sup35 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae defective in translation termination and in GTPase activity still supports cell viability 
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.
PMCID: PMC2259375  PMID: 18267004
11.  Evolution of nonstop, no-go and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and their termination factor-derived components 
Members of the eukaryote/archaea specific eRF1 and eRF3 protein families have central roles in translation termination. They are also central to various mRNA surveillance mechanisms, together with the eRF1 paralogue Dom34p and the eRF3 paralogues Hbs1p and Ski7p. We have examined the evolution of eRF1 and eRF3 families using sequence similarity searching, multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis.
Extensive BLAST searches confirm that Hbs1p and eRF3 are limited to eukaryotes, while Dom34p and eRF1 (a/eRF1) are universal in eukaryotes and archaea. Ski7p appears to be restricted to a subset of Saccharomyces species. Alignments show that Dom34p does not possess the characteristic class-1 RF minidomains GGQ, NIKS and YXCXXXF, in line with recent crystallographic analysis of Dom34p. Phylogenetic trees of the protein families allow us to reconstruct the evolution of mRNA surveillance mechanisms mediated by these proteins in eukaryotes and archaea.
We propose that the last common ancestor of eukaryotes and archaea possessed Dom34p-mediated no-go decay (NGD). This ancestral Dom34p may or may not have required a trGTPase, mostly like a/eEF1A, for its delivery to the ribosome. At an early stage in eukaryotic evolution, eEF1A was duplicated, giving rise to eRF3, which was recruited for translation termination, interacting with eRF1. eRF3 evolved nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) activity either before or after it was again duplicated, giving rise to Hbs1p, which we propose was recruited to assist eDom34p in eukaryotic NGD. Finally, a third duplication within ascomycete yeast gave rise to Ski7p, which may have become specialised for a subset of existing Hbs1p functions in non-stop decay (NSD). We suggest Ski7p-mediated NSD may be a specialised mechanism for counteracting the effects of increased stop codon read-through caused by prion-domain [PSI+] mediated eRF3 precipitation.
PMCID: PMC2613156  PMID: 18947425
12.  Poly(A)-Binding Protein Acts in Translation Termination via Eukaryotic Release Factor 3 Interaction and Does Not Influence [PSI+] Propagation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(10):3301-3315.
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.
PMCID: PMC133780  PMID: 11971964
13.  The effect of eukaryotic release factor depletion on translation termination in human cell lines 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(15):4491-4502.
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.
PMCID: PMC516063  PMID: 15326224
14.  Prion-Dependent Lethality of sup45 Mutants in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Prion  2007;1(2):136-143.
In yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae translation termination factors eRF1 (Sup45) and eRF3 (Sup35) are encoded by the essential genes SUP45 and SUP35 respectively. Heritable aggregation of Sup35 results in formation of the yeast prion [PSI+]. It is known that combination of [PSI+] with some mutant alleles of the SUP35 or SUP45 genes in one and the same haploid yeast cell causes synthetic lethality. In this study, we perform detailed analysis of synthetic lethality between various sup45 nonsense and missense mutations on one hand, and different variants of [PSI+] on the other hand. Synthetic lethality with sup45 mutations was detected for [PSI+] variants of different stringencies. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that in some combinations, synthetic lethality is dominant and occurs at the postzygotic stage after only a few cell divisions. The tRNA suppressor SUQ5 counteracts the prion-dependent lethality of the nonsense alleles but not of the missense alleles of SUP45, indicating that the lethal effect is due to the depletion of Sup45. Synthetic lethality is also suppressed in the presence of the C-proximal fragment of Sup35 (Sup35C) that lacks the prion domain and cannot be included into the prion aggregates. Remarkably, the production of Sup35C in a sup45 mutant strain is also accompanied by an increase in the Sup45 levels, suggesting that translationally active Sup35 up-regulates Sup45 or protects it from degradation.
PMCID: PMC2634454  PMID: 19164896
Sup45; Sup35; eRF1; eRF3; amyloid; [PSI+]; translation termination; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
15.  Human Eukaryotic Release Factor 3a Depletion Causes Cell Cycle Arrest at G1 Phase through Inhibition of the mTOR Pathway▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(16):5619-5629.
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.
PMCID: PMC1952125  PMID: 17562865
16.  A single amino acid change of translation termination factor eRF1 switches between bipotent and omnipotent stop-codon specificity† 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(2):599-608.
In eukaryotes a single class-1 translation termination factor eRF1 decodes the three stop codons: UAA, UAG and UGA. Some ciliates, like Euplotes, have a variant code, and here eRF1s exhibit UAR-only specificity, whereas UGA is reassigned as a sense codon. Since eukaryote eRF1 stop-codon recognition is associated with its N-terminal domain, structural features should exist in the N domain of ciliate eRF1s that restrict their stop-codon specificity. Using an in vitro reconstituted eukaryotic translation system we demonstrate here that a chimeric eRF1 composed of the N domain of Euplotes aediculatus eRF1 fused to the MC domains of human eRF1 exhibits UAR-only specificity. Functional analysis of eRF1 chimeras constructed by swapping Euplotes N domain sequences with the cognate regions from human eRF1 as well as site-directed mutagenesis of human eRF1 highlighted the crucial role of the alanine residue in position 70 of E. aediculatus eRF1 in restricting UGA decoding. Switching the UAR-only specificity of E. aediculatus eRF1 to omnipotent mode is due to a single point mutation. Furthermore, we examined the influence of eRF3 on the ability of chimeric and mutant eRF1s to induce peptide release in response to different stop codons.
PMCID: PMC3025575  PMID: 20860996
17.  Eukaryotic Release Factor 3 Is Required for Multiple Turnovers of Peptide Release Catalysis by Eukaryotic Release Factor 1* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(41):29530-29538.
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.
PMCID: PMC3795251  PMID: 23963452
Protein Synthesis; Ribosomes; Translation; Translation Control; Translation Release Factors; Translation; Translation Release Factors; Ribosomes; Protein Synthesis; Translational Control
18.  Interaction between yeast Sup45p (eRF1) and Sup35p (eRF3) polypeptide chain release factors: implications for prion-dependent regulation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1997;17(5):2798-2805.
The SUP45 and SUP35 genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encode polypeptide chain release factors eRF1 and eRF3, respectively. It has been suggested that the Sup35 protein (Sup35p) is subject to a heritable conformational switch, similar to mammalian prions, thus giving rise to the non-Mendelian [PSI+] nonsense suppressor determinant. In a [PSI+] state, Sup35p forms high-molecular-weight aggregates which may inhibit Sup35p activity, leading to the [PSI+] phenotype. Sup35p is composed of the N-terminal domain (N) required for [PSI+] maintenance, the presumably nonfunctional middle region (M), and the C-terminal domain (C) essential for translation termination. In this study, we observed that the N domain, alone or as a part of larger fragments, can form aggregates in [PSI+] cells. Two sites for Sup45p binding were found within Sup35p: one is formed by the N and M domains, and the other is located within the C domain. Similarly to Sup35p, in [PSI+] cells Sup45p was found in aggregates. The aggregation of Sup45p is caused by its binding to Sup35p and was not observed when the aggregated Sup35p fragments did not contain sites for Sup45p binding. The incorporation of Sup45p into the aggregates should inhibit its activity. The N domain of Sup35p, responsible for its aggregation in [PSI+] cells, may thus act as a repressor of another polypeptide chain release factor, Sup45p. This phenomenon represents a novel mechanism of regulation of gene expression at the posttranslational level.
PMCID: PMC232131  PMID: 9111351
19.  Itt1p, a novel protein inhibiting translation termination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
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.
PMCID: PMC56590  PMID: 11570975
20.  Eukaryotic Release Factor 1 Phosphorylation by CK2 Protein Kinase Is Dynamic but Has Little Effect on the Efficiency of Translation Termination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Eukaryotic Cell  2006;5(8):1378-1387.
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.
PMCID: PMC1539132  PMID: 16896221
21.  Viable nonsense mutants for the essential gene SUP45 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
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.
PMCID: PMC150568  PMID: 12589713
22.  Decoding accuracy in eRF1 mutants and its correlation with pleiotropic quantitative traits in yeast 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(16):5479-5492.
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.
PMCID: PMC2938225  PMID: 20444877
23.  Distinct eRF3 Requirements Suggest Alternate eRF1 Conformations Mediate Peptide Release During Eukaryotic Translation Termination 
Molecular cell  2008;30(5):599-609.
Organisms that use the standard genetic code recognize UAA, UAG, and UGA as stop codons, while variant code species frequently alter this pattern of stop codon recognition. We previously demonstrated that a hybrid eRF1 carrying the Euplotes octocarinatus domain 1 fused to Saccharomyces cerevisiae domains 2 and 3 (Eo/Sc eRF1) recognized UAA and UAG, but not UGA, as stop codons. In the current study, we identified mutations in Eo/Sc eRF1 that restore UGA recognition and define distinct roles for the TASNIKS and YxCxxxF motifs in eRF1 function. Mutations in or near the YxCxxxF motif support the cavity model for stop codon recognition by eRF1. Mutations in the TASNIKS motif eliminated the eRF3 requirement for peptide release at UAA and UAG codons, but not UGA codons. These results suggest that the TASNIKS motif and eRF3 function together to trigger eRF1 conformational changes that couple stop codon recognition and peptide release during eukaryotic translation termination.
PMCID: PMC2475577  PMID: 18538658
24.  Structure of the mammalian ribosomal pre-termination complex associated with eRF1•eRF3•GDPNP 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(5):3409-3418.
Eukaryotic translation termination results from the complex functional interplay between two release factors, eRF1 and eRF3, in which GTP hydrolysis by eRF3 couples codon recognition with peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis by eRF1. Here, we present a cryo-electron microscopy structure of pre-termination complexes associated with eRF1•eRF3•GDPNP at 9.7 -Å resolution, which corresponds to the initial pre-GTP hydrolysis stage of factor attachment and stop codon recognition. It reveals the ribosomal positions of eRFs and provides insights into the mechanisms of stop codon recognition and triggering of eRF3’s GTPase activity.
PMCID: PMC3950680  PMID: 24335085
25.  Inactivation of NMD increases viability of sup45 nonsense mutants in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway promotes the rapid degradation of mRNAs containing premature termination codons (PTCs). In yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the activity of the NMD pathway depends on the recognition of the PTC by the translational machinery. Translation termination factors eRF1 (Sup45) and eRF3 (Sup35) participate not only in the last step of protein synthesis but also in mRNA degradation and translation initiation via interaction with such proteins as Pab1, Upf1, Upf2 and Upf3.
In this work we have used previously isolated sup45 mutants of S. cerevisiae to characterize degradation of aberrant mRNA in conditions when translation termination is impaired. We have sequenced his7-1, lys9-A21 and trp1-289 alleles which are frequently used for analysis of nonsense suppression. We have established that sup45 nonsense and missense mutations lead to accumulation of his7-1 mRNA and CYH2 pre-mRNA. Remarkably, deletion of the UPF1 gene suppresses some sup45 phenotypes. In particular, sup45-n upf1Δ double mutants were less temperature sensitive, and more resistant to paromomycin than sup45 single mutants. In addition, deletion of either UPF2 or UPF3 restored viability of sup45-n double mutants.
This is the first demonstration that sup45 mutations do not only change translation fidelity but also acts by causing a change in mRNA stability.
PMCID: PMC2039749  PMID: 17705828

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