Nucleic Acids Research

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  • Rapid kinetics of iron responsive element (IRE) RNA/iron regulatory protein 1 and IRE-RNA/eIF4F complexes respond differently to metal ions
    [Jun 2014]

    Metal ion binding was previously shown to destabilize IRE-RNA/IRP1 equilibria and enhanced IRE-RNA/eIF4F equilibria. In order to understand the relative importance of kinetics and stability, we now report rapid rates of protein/RNA complex assembly and dissociation for two IRE-RNAs with IRP1, and quantitatively different metal ion response kinetics that coincide with the different iron responses in vivo. kon, for FRT IRE-RNA binding to IRP1 was eight times faster than ACO2 IRE-RNA. Mn2+ decreased kon and increased koff for IRP1 binding to both FRT and ACO2 IRE-RNA, with a larger effect for FRT IRE-RNA. In order to further understand IRE-mRNA regulation in terms of kinetics and stability, eIF4F kinetics with FRT IRE-RNA were determined. kon for eIF4F binding to FRT IRE-RNA in the absence of metal ions was 5-times slower than the IRP1 binding to FRT IRE-RNA. Mn2+ increased the association rate for eIF4F binding to FRT IRE-RNA, so that at 50 µM Mn2+ eIF4F bound more than 3-times faster than IRP1. IRP1/IRE-RNA complex has a much shorter life-time than the eIF4F/IRE-RNA complex, which suggests that both rate of assembly and stability of the complexes are important, and that allows this regulatory system to respond rapidly to change in cellular iron.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Modulation of HBV replication by microRNA-15b through targeting hepatocyte nuclear factor 1{alpha}
    [Jun 2014]

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major health problem worldwide. The role played by microRNAs (miRNAs) in HBV replication and pathogenesis is being increasingly recognized. In this study, we found that miR-15b, an important miRNA during HBV infection and hepatocellular carcinoma development, directly binds hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF1α) mRNA, a negative regulator of HBV Enhancer I, to attenuate HNF1α expression, resulting in transactivation of HBV Enhancer I, in turn causing the enhancement of HBV replication and expression of HBV antigens, including HBx protein, finally leading to the down-regulated expression of miR-15b in both cell lines and mice in a long cascade of events. Our research showed that miR-15b promotes HBV replication by augmenting HBV Enhancer I activity via direct targeting HNF1α, while HBV replication and antigens expression, particularly the HBx protein, then repress the expression of miR-15b. The reciprocal regulation between miR-15b and HBV controls the level of HBV replication and might play a role in persistent HBV infection. This work adds to the body of knowledge concerning the complex interactions between HBV and host miRNAs.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Lomofungin and dilomofungin: inhibitors of MBNL1-CUG RNA binding with distinct cellular effects
    [Jun 2014]

    Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a dominantly inherited neuromuscular disorder resulting from expression of RNA containing an expanded CUG repeat (CUGexp). The pathogenic RNA is retained in nuclear foci. Poly-(CUG) binding proteins in the Muscleblind-like (MBNL) family are sequestered in foci, causing misregulated alternative splicing of specific pre-mRNAs. Inhibitors of MBNL1-CUGexp binding have been shown to restore splicing regulation and correct phenotypes in DM1 models. We therefore conducted a high-throughput screen to identify novel inhibitors of MBNL1-(CUG)12 binding. The most active compound was lomofungin, a natural antimicrobial agent. We found that lomofungin undergoes spontaneous dimerization in DMSO, producing dilomofungin, whose inhibition of MBNL1–(CUG)12 binding was 17-fold more potent than lomofungin itself. However, while dilomofungin displayed the desired binding characteristics in vitro, when applied to cells it produced a large increase of CUGexp RNA in nuclear foci, owing to reduced turnover of the CUGexp transcript. By comparison, the monomer did not induce CUGexp accumulation in cells and was more effective at rescuing a CUGexp-induced splicing defect. These results support the feasibility of high-throughput screens to identify compounds targeting toxic RNA, but also demonstrate that ligands for repetitive sequences may have unexpected effects on RNA decay.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Genome-wide RNA-binding analysis of the trypanosome U1 snRNP proteins U1C and U1-70K reveals cis/trans-spliceosomal network
    [Jun 2014]

    Trans-splicing in trypanosomes adds a 39-nucleotide mini-exon from the spliced leader (SL) RNA to the 5' end of each protein-coding sequence. On the other hand, cis-splicing of the few intron-containing genes requires the U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) particle. To search for potential new functions of the U1 snRNP in Trypanosoma brucei, we applied genome-wide individual-nucleotide resolution crosslinking-immunoprecipitation (iCLIP), focusing on the U1 snRNP-specific proteins U1C and U1-70K. Surprisingly, U1C and U1-70K interact not only with the U1, but also with U6 and SL RNAs. In addition, mapping of crosslinks to the cis-spliced PAP [poly(A) polymerase] pre-mRNA indicate an active role of these proteins in 5' splice site recognition. In sum, our results demonstrate that the iCLIP approach provides insight into stable and transient RNA–protein contacts within the spliceosomal network. We propose that the U1 snRNP may represent an evolutionary link between the cis- and trans-splicing machineries, playing a dual role in 5' splice site recognition on the trans-spliceosomal SL RNP as well as on pre-mRNA cis-introns.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Targeting vertebrate intron-encoded box C/D 2'-O-methylation guide RNAs into the Cajal body
    [Jun 2014]

    Post-transcriptional pseudouridylation and 2'-O-methylation of splicesomal small nuclear ribonucleic acids (snRNAs) is mediated by box H/ACA and box C/D small Cajal body (CB)-specific ribonucleoproteins (scaRNPs), respectively. The WD-repeat protein 79 (WDR79) has been proposed to interact with both classes of modification scaRNPs and target them into the CB. The box H/ACA scaRNAs carry the common CAB box motif (consensus, ugAG) that is required for both WDR79 binding and CB-specific accumulation. Thus far, no cis-acting CB-localization element has been reported for vertebrate box C/D scaRNAs. In this study, systematic mutational analysis of the human U90 and another newly identified box C/D scaRNA, mgU2-47, demonstrated that the CB-specific accumulation of vertebrate intron-encoded box C/D scaRNAs relies on GU- or UG-dominated dinucleotide repeat sequences which are predicted to form the terminal stem-loop of the RNA apical hairpin. While the loop nucleotides are unimportant, the adjacent terminal helix that is composed mostly of consecutive G.U and U.G wobble base-pairs is essential for CB-specific localization of box C/D scaRNAs. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed that the newly identified CB localization element, called the G.U/U.G wobble stem, is crucial for in vivo association of box C/D scaRNPs with WDR79.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Identification and characterization of RNA guanine-quadruplex binding proteins
    [Jun 2014]

    Guanine quadruplex (G-quadruplex) motifs in the 5' untranslated region (5'-UTR) of mRNAs were recently shown to influence the efficiency of translation. In the present study, we investigate the interaction between cellular proteins and the G-quadruplexes located in two mRNAs (MMP16 and ARPC2). Formation of the G-quadruplexes was confirmed by biophysical characterization and the inhibitory activity on translation was shown by luciferase reporter assays. In experiments with whole cell extracts from different eukaryotic cell lines, G-quadruplex-binding proteins were isolated by pull-down assays and subsequently identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. The binding partners of the RNA G-quadruplexes we discovered included several heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoproteins, ribosomal proteins, and splicing factors, as well as other proteins that have previously not been described to interact with nucleic acids. While most of the proteins were specific for either of the investigated G-quadruplexes, some of them bound to both motifs. Selected candidate proteins were subsequently produced by recombinant expression and dissociation constants for the interaction between the proteins and RNA G-quadruplexes in the low nanomolar range were determined by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. The present study may thus help to increase our understanding of the mechanisms by which G-quadruplexes regulate translation.

    Categories: Journal Articles
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    [Jun 2014]

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Classification and evolution of type II CRISPR-Cas systems
    [Jun 2014]

    The CRISPR-Cas systems of archaeal and bacterial adaptive immunity are classified into three types that differ by the repertoires of CRISPR-associated (cas) genes, the organization of cas operons and the structure of repeats in the CRISPR arrays. The simplest among the CRISPR-Cas systems is type II in which the endonuclease activities required for the interference with foreign deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are concentrated in a single multidomain protein, Cas9, and are guided by a co-processed dual-tracrRNA:crRNA molecule. This compact enzymatic machinery and readily programmable site-specific DNA targeting make type II systems top candidates for a new generation of powerful tools for genomic engineering. Here we report an updated census of CRISPR-Cas systems in bacterial and archaeal genomes. Type II systems are the rarest, missing in archaea, and represented in ~5% of bacterial genomes, with an over-representation among pathogens and commensals. Phylogenomic analysis suggests that at least three cas genes, cas1, cas2 and cas4, and the CRISPR repeats of the type II-B system were acquired via recombination with a type I CRISPR-Cas locus. Distant homologs of Cas9 were identified among proteins encoded by diverse transposons, suggesting that type II CRISPR-Cas evolved via recombination of mobile nuclease genes with type I loci.

    Categories: Journal Articles