In Escherichia coli the RNA chaperone Hfq is involved in riboregulation by assisting base-pairing between small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) and mRNA targets. Several structural and biochemical studies revealed RNA binding sites on either surface of the donut shaped Hfq-hexamer. Whereas sRNAs are believed to contact preferentially the YKH motifs present on the proximal site, poly(A)15 and ADP were shown to bind to tripartite binding motifs (ARE) circularly positioned on the distal site. Hfq has been reported to bind and to hydrolyze ATP. Here, we present the crystal structure of a C-terminally truncated variant of E. coli Hfq (Hfq65) in complex with ATP, showing that it binds to the distal R-sites. In addition, we revisited the reported ATPase activity of full length Hfq purified to homogeneity. At variance with previous reports, no ATPase activity was observed for Hfq. In addition, FRET assays neither indicated an impact of ATP on annealing of two model oligoribonucleotides nor did the presence of ATP induce strand displacement. Moreover, ATP did not lead to destabilization of binary and ternary Hfq-RNA complexes, unless a vast stoichiometric excess of ATP was used. Taken together, these studies strongly suggest that ATP is dispensable for and does not interfere with Hfq-mediated RNA transactions.
CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) elements and cas (CRISPR-associated) genes are widespread in Bacteria and Archaea. The CRISPR/Cas system operates as a defense mechanism against mobile genetic elements (i.e., viruses or plasmids). Here, we investigate seven CRISPR loci in the genome of the crenarchaeon Thermoproteus tenax that include spacers with significant similarity not only to archaeal viruses but also to T. tenax genes. The analysis of CRISPR RNA (crRNA) transcription reveals transcripts of a length between 50 and 130 nucleotides, demonstrating the processing of larger crRNA precursors. The organization of identified cas genes resembles CRISPR/Cas subtype I-A, and the core cas genes are shown to be arranged on two polycistronic transcripts: cascis (cas4, cas1/2, and csa1) and cascade (csa5, cas7, cas5a, cas3, cas3′, and cas8a2). Changes in the environmental parameters such as UV-light exposure or high ionic strength modulate cas gene transcription. Two reconstitution protocols were established for the production of two discrete multipartite Cas protein complexes that correspond to their operonic gene arrangement. These data provide insights into the specialized mechanisms of an archaeal CRISPR/Cas system and allow selective functional analyses of Cas protein complexes in the future.
The interaction of viruses and their prokaryotic hosts shaped the evolution of bacterial and archaeal life. Prokaryotes developed several strategies to evade viral attacks that include restriction modification, abortive infection and CRISPR/Cas systems. These adaptive immune systems found in many Bacteria and most Archaea consist of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) sequences and a number of CRISPR associated (Cas) genes (Fig. 1)1-3. Different sets of Cas proteins and repeats define at least three major divergent types of CRISPR/Cas systems 4. The universal proteins Cas1 and Cas2 are proposed to be involved in the uptake of viral DNA that will generate a new spacer element between two repeats at the 5' terminus of an extending CRISPR cluster 5. The entire cluster is transcribed into a precursor-crRNA containing all spacer and repeat sequences and is subsequently processed by an enzyme of the diverse Cas6 family into smaller crRNAs 6-8. These crRNAs consist of the spacer sequence flanked by a 5' terminal (8 nucleotides) and a 3' terminal tag derived from the repeat sequence 9. A repeated infection of the virus can now be blocked as the new crRNA will be directed by a Cas protein complex (Cascade) to the viral DNA and identify it as such via base complementarity10. Finally, for CRISPR/Cas type 1 systems, the nuclease Cas3 will destroy the detected invader DNA 11,12 .
These processes define CRISPR/Cas as an adaptive immune system of prokaryotes and opened a fascinating research field for the study of the involved Cas proteins. The function of many Cas proteins is still elusive and the causes for the apparent diversity of the CRISPR/Cas systems remain to be illuminated. Potential activities of most Cas proteins were predicted via detailed computational analyses. A major fraction of Cas proteins are either shown or proposed to function as endonucleases 4.
Here, we present methods to generate crRNAs and precursor-cRNAs for the study of Cas endoribonucleases. Different endonuclease assays require either short repeat sequences that can directly be synthesized as RNA oligonucleotides or longer crRNA and pre-crRNA sequences that are generated via in vitro T7 RNA polymerase run-off transcription. This methodology allows the incorporation of radioactive nucleotides for the generation of internally labeled endonuclease substrates and the creation of synthetic or mutant crRNAs. Cas6 endonuclease activity is utilized to mature pre-crRNAs into crRNAs with 5'-hydroxyl and a 2',3'-cyclic phosphate termini.
Molecular biology; Issue 67; CRISPR/Cas; endonuclease; in vitro transcription; crRNA; Cas6
The CRISPR arrays found in many bacteria and most archaea are transcribed into a long precursor RNA that is processed into small clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) RNAs (crRNAs). These RNA molecules can contain fragments of viral genomes and mediate, together with a set of CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins, the prokaryotic immunity against viral attacks. CRISPR/Cas systems are diverse and the Cas6 enzymes that process crRNAs vary between different subtypes. We analysed CRISPR/Cas subtype I-B and present the identification of novel Cas6 enzymes from the bacterial and archaeal model organisms Clostridium thermocellum and Methanococcus maripaludis C5. Methanococcus maripaludis Cas6b in vitro activity and specificity was determined. Two complementary catalytic histidine residues were identified. RNA-Seq analyses revealed in vivo crRNA processing sites, crRNA abundance and orientation of CRISPR transcription within these two organisms. Individual spacer sequences were identified with strong effects on transcription and processing patterns of a CRISPR cluster. These effects will need to be considered for the application of CRISPR clusters that are designed to produce synthetic crRNAs.
We report the sequencing of seven genomes from two haloarchaeal genera, Haloferax and Haloarcula. Ease of cultivation and the existence of well-developed genetic and biochemical tools for several diverse haloarchaeal species make haloarchaea a model group for the study of archaeal biology. The unique physiological properties of these organisms also make them good candidates for novel enzyme discovery for biotechnological applications. Seven genomes were sequenced to ∼20×coverage and assembled to an average of 50 contigs (range 5 scaffolds - 168 contigs). Comparisons of protein-coding gene compliments revealed large-scale differences in COG functional group enrichment between these genera. Analysis of genes encoding machinery for DNA metabolism reveals genera-specific expansions of the general transcription factor TATA binding protein as well as a history of extensive duplication and horizontal transfer of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Insights gained from this study emphasize the importance of haloarchaea for investigation of archaeal biology.
Bacterial genomic islands are often flanked by tRNA genes, which act as sites for the integration of foreign DNA into the host chromosome. For example, Bacillus cereus ATCC14579 contains a pathogenicity island flanked by a predicted pseudo-tRNA, tRNAOther, which does not function in translation. Deletion of tRNAOther led to significant changes in cell wall morphology and antibiotic resistance and was accompanied by changes in the expression of numerous genes involved in oxidative stress responses, several of which contain significant complementarities to sequences surrounding tRNAOther. This suggested that tRNAOther might be expressed as part of a larger RNA, and RACE analysis subsequently confirmed the existence of several RNA species that significantly extend both the 3′ and 5′-ends of tRNAOther. tRNAOther expression levels were found to be responsive to changes in extracellular iron concentration, consistent with the presence of three putative ferric uptake regulator (Fur) binding sites in the 5′ leader region of one of these larger RNAs. Taken together with previous data, this study now suggests that tRNAOther may function by providing a tRNA-like structural element within a larger regulatory RNA. These findings illustrate that while integration of genomic islands often leaves tRNA genes intact and functional, in other instances inactivation may generate tRNA-like elements that are then recruited to other functions in the cell.
The minimal genome of the tiny, hyperthermophilic archaeon Nanoarchaeum equitans contains several fragmented genes and revealed unusual RNA processing pathways. These include the maturation of tRNA molecules via the trans-splicing of tRNA halves and genomic rearrangements to compensate for the absence of RNase P.
Here, the RNA processing events in the N. equitans cell are analyzed using RNA-Seq deep sequencing methodology. All tRNA half precursor and tRNA termini were determined and support the tRNA trans-splicing model. The processing of CRISPR RNAs from two CRISPR clusters was verified. Twenty-seven C/D box small RNAs (sRNAs) and a H/ACA box sRNA were identified. The C/D box sRNAs were found to flank split genes, to form dicistronic tRNA-sRNA precursors and to be encoded within the tRNAMet intron.
The presented data provide an overview of the production and usage of small RNAs in a cell that has to survive with a highly reduced genome. N. equitans lost many essential metabolic pathways but maintains highly active CRISPR/Cas and rRNA modification systems that appear to play an important role in genome fragmentation.
Non-coding RNAs are key players in many cellular processes within organisms from all three domains of life. The range and diversity of small RNA functions beyond their involvement in translation and RNA processing was first recognized for eukaryotes and bacteria. Since then, small RNAs were also found to be abundant in archaea. Their functions include the regulation of gene expression and the establishment of immunity against invading mobile genetic elements. This review summarizes our current knowledge about small RNAs used for regulation and defence in archaea.
sRNA; Lsm; Hfq; Archaea; CRISPR; crRNA
Posttranscriptional modifications are critical for structure and function of tRNAs. Wybutosine (yW) and its derivatives are hyper-modified guanosines found at the position 37 of eukaryotic and archaeal tRNAPhe. TYW2 is an enzyme that catalyzes α-amino-α-carboxypropyl transfer activity at the third step of yW biogenesis. Using complementation of a ΔTYW2 strain, we demonstrate here that human TYW2 (hTYW2) is active in yeast and can synthesize the yW of yeast tRNAPhe. Structure-guided analysis identified several conserved residues in hTYW2 that interact with S-adenosyl-methionine (AdoMet), and mutation studies revealed that K225 and E265 are critical residues for the enzymatic activity. We previously reported that the human TYW2 is overexpressed in breast cancer. However, no difference in the tRNAPhe modification status was observed in either normal mouse tissue or a mouse tumor model that overexpresses Tyw2, indicating that hTYW2 may have a role in tumorigenesis unrelated to yW biogenesis.
Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases play a central role in protein synthesis by charging tRNAs with amino acids. Yeast mitochondrial lysyl tRNA synthetase (Msk1), in addition to the aminoacylation of mitochondrial tRNA, also functions as a chaperone to facilitate the import of cytosolic lysyl tRNA. In this report, we show that human mitochondrial Kars (lysyl tRNA synthetase) can complement the growth defect associated with the loss of yeast Msk1 and can additionally facilitate the in vitro import of tRNA into mitochondria. Surprisingly, the import of lysyl tRNA can occur independent of Msk1 in vivo. This suggests that an alternative mechanism is present for the import of lysyl tRNA in yeast.
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are a large family of housekeeping enzymes that are pivotal in protein translation and other vital cellular processes. Saccharomyces cerevisiae possesses two distinct nuclear glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GlyRS) genes, GRS1 and GRS2. GRS1 encodes both cytoplasmic and mitochondrial activities, while GRS2 is essentially silent and dispensable under normal conditions. We herein present evidence that expression of GRS2 was drastically induced upon heat shock, ethanol or hydrogen peroxide addition, and high pH, while expression of GRS1 was somewhat repressed under those conditions. In addition, GlyRS2 (the enzyme encoded by GRS2) had a higher protein stability and a lower KM value for yeast tRNAGly under heat shock conditions than under normal conditions. Moreover, GRS2 rescued the growth defect of a GRS1 knockout strain when highly expressed by a strong promoter at 37°C, but not at the optimal temperature of 30°C. These results suggest that GRS2 is actually an inducible gene that may function to rescue the activity of GRS1 under stress conditions.
Understanding the mechanistic basis of the disruption of tRNA genes, as manifested in the intron-containing and split tRNAs found in Archaea, will provide considerable insight into the evolution of the tRNA molecule. However, the evolutionary processes underlying these disruptions have not yet been identified. Previously, a composite genome of the deep-branching archaeon Caldiarchaeum subterraneum was reconstructed from a community genomic library prepared from a C. subterraneum–dominated microbial mat. Here, exploration of tRNA genes from the library reveals that there are at least three types of heterogeneity at the tRNAThr(GGU) gene locus in the Caldiarchaeum population. All three involve intronic gain and splitting of the tRNA gene. Of two fosmid clones found that encode tRNAThr(GGU), one (tRNAThr-I) contains a single intron, whereas another (tRNAThr-II) contains two introns. Notably, in the clone possessing tRNAThr-II, a 5′ fragment of the tRNAThr-I (tRNAThr-F) gene was observed 1.8-kb upstream of tRNAThr-II. The composite genome contains both tRNAThr-II and tRNAThr-F, although the loci are >500 kb apart. Given that the 1.8-kb sequence flanked by tRNAThr-F and tRNAThr-II is predicted to encode a DNA recombinase and occurs in six regions of the composite genome, it may be a transposable element. Furthermore, its dinucleotide composition is most similar to that of the pNOB8-type plasmid, which is known to integrate into archaeal tRNA genes. Based on these results, we propose that the gain of the tRNA intron and the scattering of the tRNA fragment occurred within a short time frame via the integration and recombination of a mobile genetic element.
Topoisomerases play a fundamental role in genome stability, DNA replication and repair. As a result, topoisomerases have served as therapeutic targets of interest in Eukarya and Bacteria, two of the three domains of life. Since members of Archaea, the third domain of life, have not been implicated in any diseased state to-date, there is a paucity of data on archaeal topoisomerases. Here we report Methanosarcina acetivorans TopoIIIα (MacTopoIIIα) as the first biochemically characterized mesophilic archaeal topoisomerase. Maximal activity for MacTopoIIIα was elicited at 30–35°C and 100 mM NaCl. As little as 10 fmol of the enzyme initiated DNA relaxation, and NaCl concentrations above 250 mM inhibited this activity. The present study also provides the first evidence that a type IA Topoisomerase has activity in the presence of all divalent cations tested (Mg2+, Ca2+, Sr2+, Ba2+, Mn2+, Fe2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Zn2+ and Cd2+). Activity profiles were, however, specific to each metal. Known type I (ssDNA and camptothecin) and type II (etoposide, novobiocin and nalidixic acid) inhibitors with different mechanisms of action were used to demonstrate that MacTopoIIIα is a type IA topoisomerase. Alignment of MacTopoIIIα with characterized topoisomerases identified Y317 as the putative catalytic residue, and a Y317F mutation ablated DNA relaxation activity, demonstrating that Y317 is essential for catalysis. As the role of Domain V (C-terminal domain) is unclear, MacTopoIIIα was aligned with the canonical E. coli TopoI 67 kDa fragment in order to construct an N-terminal (1–586) and a C-terminal (587–752) fragment for analysis. Activity could neither be elicited from the fragments individually nor reconstituted from a mixture of the fragments, suggesting that native folding is impaired when the two fragments are expressed separately. Evidence that each of the split domains plays a role in Zn2+ binding of the enzyme is also provided.
Hydrogen gas is an attractive alternative fuel as it is carbon neutral and has higher energy content per unit mass than fossil fuels. The biological enzyme responsible for utilizing molecular hydrogen is hydrogenase, a heteromeric metalloenzyme requiring a complex maturation process to assemble its O2-sensitive dinuclear-catalytic site containing nickel and iron atoms. To facilitate their utility in applied processes, it is essential that tools are available to engineer hydrogenases to tailor catalytic activity and electron carrier specificity, and decrease oxygen sensitivity using standard molecular biology techniques. As a model system we are using hydrogen-producing Pyrococcus furiosus, which grows optimally at 100°C. We have taken advantage of a recently developed genetic system that allows markerless chromosomal integrations via homologous recombination. We have combined a new gene marker system with a highly-expressed constitutive promoter to enable high-level homologous expression of an engineered form of the cytoplasmic NADP-dependent hydrogenase (SHI) of P. furiosus. In a step towards obtaining ‘minimal’ hydrogenases, we have successfully produced the heterodimeric form of SHI that contains only two of the four subunits found in the native heterotetrameric enzyme. The heterodimeric form is highly active (150 units mg−1 in H2 production using the artificial electron donor methyl viologen) and thermostable (t1/2 ∼0.5 hour at 90°C). Moreover, the heterodimer does not use NADPH and instead can directly utilize reductant supplied by pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase from P. furiosus. The SHI heterodimer and POR therefore represent a two-enzyme system that oxidizes pyruvate and produces H2 in vitro without the need for an intermediate electron carrier.
The RNA world hypothesis states that the early evolution of life went through a stage in which RNA served both as genome and as catalyst. The central catalyst in an RNA world organism would have been a ribozyme that catalyzed RNA polymerization to facilitate self-replication. An RNA polymerase ribozyme was developed previously in the lab but it is not efficient enough for self-replication. The factor that limits its polymerization efficiency is its weak sequence-independent binding of the primer/template substrate. Here we tested whether RNA polymerization could be improved by a cationic arginine cofactor, to improve the interaction with the substrate. In an RNA world, amino acid-nucleic acid conjugates could have facilitated the emergence of the translation apparatus and the transition to an RNP world. We chose the amino acid arginine for our study because this is the amino acid most adept to interact with RNA. An arginine cofactor was positioned at ten different sites on the ribozyme, using conjugates of arginine with short DNA or RNA oligonucleotides. However, polymerization efficiency was not increased in any of the ten positions. In five of the ten positions the arginine reduced or modulated polymerization efficiency, which gives insight into the substrate-binding site on the ribozyme. These results suggest that the existing polymerase ribozyme is not well suited to using an arginine cofactor.
The identity of the histidine specific transfer RNA (tRNAHis) is largely determined by a unique guanosine residue at position −1. In eukaryotes and archaea, the tRNAHis guanylyltransferase (Thg1) catalyzes 3'-5' addition of G to the 5'-terminus of tRNAHis. Here, we show that Thg1 also occurs in bacteria. We demonstrate in vitro Thg1 activity for recombinant enzymes from the two bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis and Myxococcus xanthus and provide a closer investigation of several archaeal Thg1. The reaction mechanism of prokaryotic Thg1 differs from eukaryotic enzymes, as it does not require ATP. Complementation of a yeast thg1 knockout strain with bacterial Thg1 verified in vivo activity and suggests a relaxed recognition of the discriminator base in bacteria.
tRNA-His guanylyltransferase; Thg1; tRNA processing; histidyl-tRNA synthetase; RNase P
Nanoarchaeum equitans, the only cultured representative of the Nanoarchaeota, is dependent on direct physical contact with its host, the hyperthermophile Ignicoccus hospitalis. The molecular mechanisms that enable this relationship are unknown. Using whole-cell proteomics, differences in the relative abundance of >75% of predicted protein-coding genes from both Archaea were measured to identify the specific response of I. hospitalis to the presence of N. equitans on its surface. A purified N. equitans sample was also analyzed for evidence of interspecies protein transfer. The depth of cellular proteome coverage achieved here is amongst the highest reported for any organism. Based on changes in the proteome under the specific conditions of this study, I. hospitalis reacts to N. equitans by curtailing genetic information processing (replication, transcription) in lieu of intensifying its energetic, protein processing and cellular membrane functions. We found no evidence of significant Ignicoccus biosynthetic enzymes being transported to N. equitans. These results suggest that, under laboratory conditions, N. equitans diverts some of its host's metabolism and cell cycle control to compensate for its own metabolic shortcomings, thus appearing to be entirely dependent on small, transferable metabolites and energetic precursors from I. hospitalis.
We report complete genome sequence of a mesophilic hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanocella paludicola, the first cultured representative of the order Methanocellales once recognized as an uncultured key archaeal group for methane emission in rice fields. The genome sequence of M. paludicola consists of a single circular chromosome of 2,957,635 bp containing 3004 protein-coding sequences (CDS). Genes for most of the functions known in the methanogenic archaea were identified, e.g. a full complement of hydrogenases and methanogenesis enzymes. The mixotrophic growth of M. paludicola was clarified by the genomic characterization and re-examined by the subsequent growth experiments. Comparative genome analysis with the previously reported genome sequence of RC-IMRE50, which was metagenomically reconstructed, demonstrated that about 70% of M. paludicola CDSs were genetically related with RC-IMRE50 CDSs. These CDSs included the genes involved in hydrogenotrophic methane production, incomplete TCA cycle, assimilatory sulfate reduction and so on. However, the genetic components for the carbon and nitrogen fixation and antioxidant system were different between the two Methanocellales genomes. The difference is likely associated with the physiological variability between M. paludicola and RC-IMRE50, further suggesting the genomic and physiological diversity of the Methanocellales methanogens. Comparative genome analysis among the previously determined methanogen genomes points to the genome-wide relatedness of the Methanocellales methanogens to the orders Methanosarcinales and Methanomicrobiales methanogens in terms of the genetic repertoire. Meanwhile, the unique evolutionary history of the Methanocellales methanogens is also traced in an aspect by the comparative genome analysis among the methanogens.
The use of RNAi in both basic and translational research often requires expression of multiple siRNAs from the same vector.
We have developed a novel chicken miR126-based artificial miRNA expression system that can express one, two or three miRNAs from a single cassette in a lentiviral vector. We show that each of the miRNAs expressed from the same lentiviral vector is capable of potent inhibition of reporter gene expression in transient transfection and stable integration assays in chicken fibroblast DF-1 cells. Transduction of Vero cells with lentivirus expressing two or three different anti-influenza miRNAs leads to inhibition of influenza virus production. In addition, the chicken miR126-based expression system effectively inhibits reporter gene expression in human, monkey, dog and mouse cells. These results demonstrate that the flanking regions of a single primary miRNA can support processing of three different stem-loops in a single vector.
This novel design expands the means to express multiple miRNAs from the same vector for potent and effective silencing of target genes and influenza virus.
The phylum Crenarchaeota lacks the FtsZ cell division hallmark of bacteria and employs instead Cdv proteins. While CdvB and CdvC are homologues of the eukaryotic ESCRT-III and Vps4 proteins, implicated in membrane fission processes during multivesicular body biogenesis, cytokinesis and budding of some enveloped viruses, little is known about the structure and function of CdvA. Here, we report the biochemical and biophysical characterization of the three Cdv proteins from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Metallospherae sedula.
Using sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation and negative staining electron microscopy, we evidenced for the first time that CdvA forms polymers in association with DNA, similar to known bacterial DNA partitioning proteins. We also observed that, in contrast to full-lengh CdvB that was purified as a monodisperse protein, the C-terminally deleted CdvB construct forms filamentous polymers, a phenomenon previously observed with eukaryotic ESCRT-III proteins. Based on size exclusion chromatography data combined with detection by multi-angle laser light scattering analysis, we demonstrated that CdvC assembles, in a nucleotide-independent way, as homopolymers resembling dodecamers and endowed with ATPase activity in vitro. The interactions between these putative cell division partners were further explored. Thus, besides confirming the previous observations that CdvB interacts with both CdvA and CdvC, our data demonstrate that CdvA/CdvB and CdvC/CdvB interactions are not mutually exclusive.
Our data reinforce the concept that Cdv proteins are closely related to the eukaryotic ESCRT-III counterparts and suggest that the organization of the ESCRT-III machinery at the Crenarchaeal cell division septum is organized by CdvA an ancient cytoskeleton protein that might help to coordinate genome segregation.
Transfer RNAs are synthesized as a primary transcript that is processed to
produce a mature tRNA. As part of the maturation process, a subset of the
nucleosides are modified. Modifications in the anticodon region often
modulate the decoding ability of the tRNA. At position 34, the majority of
yeast cytosolic tRNA species that have a uridine are modified to
5-methoxycarbonylmethyl-uridine (mcm5U) or
5-methoxycarbonylmethyl-2-thiouridine (mcm5s2U). The
formation of mcm5 and ncm5 side chains involves a
complex pathway, where the last step in formation of mcm5 is a
methyl esterification of cm5 dependent on the Trm9 and Trm112
Methodology and Principal Findings
Both Trm9 and Trm112 are required for the last step in formation of
mcm5 side chains at wobble uridines. By co-expressing a
histidine-tagged Trm9p together with a native Trm112p in E.
coli, these two proteins purified as a complex. The presence of
Trm112p dramatically improves the methyltransferase activity of Trm9p
in vitro. Single tRNA species that normally contain
mcm5U or mcm5s2U nucleosides were
isolated from trm9Δ or trm112Δ
mutants and the presence of modified nucleosides was analyzed by HPLC. In
both mutants, mcm5U and mcm5s2U nucleosides
are absent in tRNAs and the major intermediates accumulating were
ncm5U and ncm5s2U, not the expected
cm5U and cm5s2U.
Trm9p and Trm112p function together at the final step in formation of
mcm5U in tRNA by using the intermediate cm5U as a
substrate. In tRNA isolated from trm9Δ and
trm112Δ strains, ncm5U and
ncm5s2U nucleosides accumulate, questioning the
order of nucleoside intermediate formation of the mcm5 side
chain. We propose two alternative explanations for this observation. One is
that the intermediate cm5U is generated from ncm5U by
a yet unknown mechanism and the other is that cm5U is formed
before ncm5U and mcm5U.
Among the seven different sigma factors in E. coli σ70 has the highest concentration and affinity for the core RNA polymerase. The E. coli protein Rsd is regarded as an anti-sigma factor, inhibiting σ70-dependent transcription at the onset of stationary growth. Although binding of Rsd to σ70 has been shown and numerous structural studies on Rsd have been performed the detailed mechanism of action is still unknown.
We have performed studies to unravel the function and regulation of Rsd expression in vitro and in vivo. Cross-linking and affinity binding revealed that Rsd is able to interact with σ70, with the core enzyme of RNA polymerase and is able to form dimers in solution. Unexpectedly, we find that Rsd does also interact with σ38, the stationary phase-specific sigma factor. This interaction was further corroborated by gel retardation and footprinting studies with different promoter fragments and σ38- or σ70-containing RNA polymerase in presence of Rsd. Under competitive in vitro transcription conditions, in presence of both sigma factors, a selective inhibition of σ70-dependent transcription was prevailing, however. Analysis of rsd expression revealed that the nucleoid-associated proteins H-NS and FIS, StpA and LRP bind to the regulatory region of the rsd promoters. Furthermore, the major promoter P2 was shown to be down-regulated in vivo by RpoS, the stationary phase-specific sigma factor and the transcription factor DksA, while induction of the stringent control enhanced rsd promoter activity. Most notably, the dam-dependent methylation of a cluster of GATC sites turned out to be important for efficient rsd transcription.
The results contribute to a better understanding of the intricate mechanism of Rsd-mediated sigma factor specificity changes during stationary phase.
Transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules are highly conserved in length, sequence and structure in order to be functional in the ribosome. However, mostly in archaea, the short genes encoding tRNAs can be found disrupted, fragmented, with permutations or with non-functional mutations of conserved nucleotides. Here, we give an overview of recently discovered tRNA maturation pathways that require intricate processing steps to finally generate the standard tRNA from these unusual tRNA genes.
tRNA processing; trans-splicing; tRNA introns; splicing endonuclease; C-to-U editing
The shrimp Rimicaris exoculata dominates the faunal biomass at many deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In its enlarged gill chamber it harbors a specialized epibiotic bacterial community for which a nutritional role has been proposed.
We analyzed specimens from the Snake Pit hydrothermal vent field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by complementing a 16S rRNA gene survey with the analysis of genes involved in carbon, sulfur and hydrogen metabolism. In addition to Epsilon- and Gammaproteobacteria, the epibiotic community unexpectedly also consists of Deltaproteobacteria of a single phylotype, closely related to the genus Desulfocapsa. The association of these phylogenetic groups with the shrimp was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Based on functional gene analyses, we hypothesize that the Gamma- and Epsilonproteobacteria are capable of autotrophic growth by oxidizing reduced sulfur compounds, and that the Deltaproteobacteria are also involved in sulfur metabolism. In addition, the detection of proteobacterial hydrogenases indicates the potential for hydrogen oxidation in these communities. Interestingly, the frequency of these phylotypes in 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from the mouthparts differ from that of the inner lining of the gill chamber, indicating potential functional compartmentalization.
Our data show the specific association of autotrophic bacteria with Rimicaris exoculata from the Snake Pit hydrothermal vent field, and suggest that autotrophic carbon fixation is contributing to the productivity of the epibiotic community with the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle as one important carbon fixation pathway. This has not been considered in previous studies of carbon fixation and stable carbon isotope composition of the shrimp and its epibionts. Furthermore, the co-occurrence of sulfur-oxidizing and sulfur-reducing epibionts raises the possibility that both may be involved in the syntrophic exchange of sulfur compounds, which could increase the overall efficiency of this epibiotic community.
Mature tRNAHis has at its 5′-terminus an extra guanylate, designated as G−1. This is the major recognition element for histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HisRS) to permit acylation of tRNAHis with histidine. However, it was reported that tRNAHis of a subgroup of α-proteobacteria, including Caulobacter crescentus, lacks the critical G−1 residue. Here we show that recombinant C. crescentus HisRS allowed complete histidylation of a C. crescentus tRNAHis transcript (lacking G−1). The addition of G−1 did not improve aminoacylation by C. crescentus HisRS. However, mutations in the tRNAHis anticodon caused a drastic loss of in vitro histidylation, and mutations of bases A73 and U72 also reduced charging. Thus, the major recognition elements in C. crescentus tRNAHis are the anticodon, the discriminator base and U72, which are recognized by the divergent (based on sequence similarity) C. crescentus HisRS. Transplantation of these recognition elements into an Escherichia coli tRNAHis template, together with addition of base U20a, created a competent substrate for C. crescentus HisRS. These results illustrate how a conserved tRNA recognition pattern changed during evolution. The data also uncovered a divergent orthogonal HisRS/tRNAHis pair.