Structural basis for the sequence-specific RNA-recognition mechanism of human CUG-BP1 RRM3
- The CUG-binding protein 1 (CUG-BP1) is a member of the CUG-BP1 and ETR-like factors (CELF) family or the Bruno-like family and is involved in the control of splicing, translation and mRNA degradation. Several target RNA sequences of CUG-BP1 have been predicted, such as the CUG triplet repeat, the GU-rich sequences and the AU-rich element of nuclear pre-mRNAs and/or cytoplasmic mRNA. CUG-BP1 has three RNA-recognition motifs (RRMs), among which the third RRM (RRM3) can bind to the target RNAs on its own. In this study, we solved the solution structure of the CUG-BP1 RRM3 by hetero-nuclear NMR spectroscopy. The CUG-BP1 RRM3 exhibited a noncanonical RRM fold, with the four-stranded b-sheet surface tightly associated with the N-terminal extension. Furthermore, we determined the solution structure of the CUG-BP1 RRM3 in the complex with (UG)3 RNA, and discovered that the UGU trinucleotide is specifically recognized through extensive stacking interactions and hydrogen bonds within the pocket formed by the b-sheet surface and the N-terminal extension. This study revealed the unique mechanism that enables the CUG-BP1 RRM3 to discriminate the short RNA segment from other sequences, thus providing the molecular basis for the comprehension of the role of the RRM3s in the CELF/Bruno-like family.
SBE13, a newly identified inhibitor of inactive polo-like kinase 1
- Poster presentation at 5th German Conference on Cheminformatics: 23. CIC-Workshop Goslar, Germany. 8-10 November 2009 Protein kinases are important targets for drug development. The almost identical protein folding of kinases and the common co-substrate ATP leads to the problem of inhibitor selectivity. Type II inhibitors, targeting the inactive conformation of kinases, occupy a hydrophobic pocket with less conserved surrounding amino acids . Human polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) represents a promising target for approaches to identify new therapeutic agents. Plk1 belongs to a family of highly conserved serine/threonine kinases, and is a key player in mitosis, where it modulates the spindle checkpoint at metaphase/anaphase transition. Plk1 is over-expressed in all today analyzed human tumors of different origin and serves as a negative prognostic marker in cancer patients. The newly identified inhibitor, SBE13, a vanillin derivative, targets Plk1 in its inactive conformation . This leads to selectivity within the Plk family and towards Aurora A. This selectivity can be explained by docking studies of SBE13 into the binding pocket of homology models of Plk1, Plk2 and Plk3 in their inactive conformation. SBE13 showed anti-proliferative effects in cancer cell lines of different origins with EC50 values between 5 microM and 39 microM and induced apoptosis. Increasing concentrations of SBE13 result in increasing amounts of cells in G2/M phase 13 hours after double thymidin block of HeLa cells. The kinase activity of Plk1 was inhibited with an IC50 of 200 pM. Taken together, we could show that carefully designed structure-based virtual screening is well-suited to identify selective type II kinase inhibitors targeting Plk1 as potential anti-cancer therapeutics.
Age-related cellular copper dynamics in the fungal ageing model Podospora anserina and in ageing human fibroblasts
Christian Quintus Scheckhuber
Bernd O. Kolbesen
Heinz D. Osiewacz
- In previous investigations an impact of cellular copper homeostasis on ageing of the ascomycete Podospora anserina has been demonstrated. Here we provide new data indicating that mitochondria play a major role in this process. Determination of copper in the cytosolic fraction using total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy analysis and eGfp reporter gene studies indicate an age-related increase of cytosolic copper levels. We show that components of the mitochondrial matrix (i.e. eGFP targeted to mitochondria) become released from the organelle during ageing. Decreasing the accessibility of mitochondrial copper in P. anserina via targeting a copper metallothionein to the mitochondrial matrix was found to result in a switch from a copper-dependent cytochrome-c oxidase to a copper-independent alternative oxidase type of respiration and results in lifespan extension. In addition, we demonstrate that increased copper concentrations in the culture medium lead to the appearance of senescence biomarkers in human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs). Significantly, expression of copper-regulated genes is induced during in vitro ageing in medium devoid of excess copper suggesting that cytosolic copper levels also increase during senescence of HDFs. These data suggest that the identified molecular pathway of age-dependent copper dynamics may not be restricted to P. anserina but may be conserved from lower eukaryotes to humans.
Direct observation of the temperature-induced melting process of the Salmonella fourU RNA thermometer at base-pair resolution
- In prokaryotes, RNA thermometers regulate a number of heat shock and virulence genes. These temperature sensitive RNA elements are usually located in the 5'-untranslated regions of the regulated genes. They repress translation initiation by base pairing to the Shine–Dalgarno sequence at low temperatures. We investigated the thermodynamic stability of the temperature labile hairpin 2 of the Salmonella fourU RNA thermometer over a broad temperature range and determined free energy, enthalpy and entropy values for the base-pair opening of individual nucleobases by measuring the temperature dependence of the imino proton exchange rates via NMR spectroscopy. Exchange rates were analyzed for the wild-type (wt) RNA and the A8C mutant. The wt RNA was found to be stabilized by the extraordinarily stable G14–C25 base pair. The mismatch base pair in the wt RNA thermometer (A8–G31) is responsible for the smaller cooperativity of the unfolding transition in the wt RNA. Enthalpy and entropy values for the base-pair opening events exhibit linear correlation for both RNAs. The slopes of these correlations coincide with the melting points of the RNAs determined by CD spectroscopy. RNA unfolding occurs at a temperature where all nucleobases have equal thermodynamic stabilities. Our results are in agreement with a consecutive zipper-type unfolding mechanism in which the stacking interaction is responsible for the observed cooperativity. Furthermore, remote effects of the A8C mutation affecting the stability of nucleobase G14 could be identified. According to our analysis we deduce that this effect is most probably transduced via the hydration shell of the RNA.
Dissecting the influence of Mg2+ on 3D architecture and ligand-binding of the guanine-sensing riboswitch aptamer domain
- Long-range tertiary interactions determine the three-dimensional structure of a number of metabolite-binding riboswitch RNA elements and were found to be important for their regulatory function. For the guanine-sensing riboswitch of the Bacillus subtilis xpt-pbuX operon, our previous NMR-spectroscopic studies indicated pre-formation of long-range tertiary contacts in the ligand-free state of its aptamer domain. Loss of the structural pre-organization in a mutant of this RNA (G37A/C61U) resulted in the requirement of Mg2+ for ligand binding. Here, we investigate structural and stability aspects of the wild-type aptamer domain (Gsw) and the G37A/C61U-mutant (Gswloop) of the guanine-sensing riboswitch and their Mg2+-induced folding characteristics to dissect the role of long-range tertiary interactions, the link between pre-formation of structural elements and ligand-binding properties and the functional stability. Destabilization of the long-range interactions as a result of the introduced mutations for Gswloop or the increase in temperature for both Gsw and Gswloop involves pronounced alterations of the conformational ensemble characteristics of the ligand-free state of the riboswitch. The increased flexibility of the conformational ensemble can, however, be compensated by Mg2+. We propose that reduction of conformational dynamics in remote regions of the riboswitch aptamer domain is the minimal pre-requisite to pre-organize the core region for specific ligand binding.
Metal-ion binding and metal-ion induced folding of the adenine-sensing riboswitch aptamer domain
- Divalent cations are important in the folding and stabilization of complex RNA structures. The adenine-sensing riboswitch controls the expression of mRNAs for proteins involved in purine metabolism by directly sensing intracellular adenine levels. Adenine binds with high affinity and specificity to the ligand binding or aptamer domain of the adenine-sensing riboswitch. The X-ray structure of this domain in complex with adenine revealed an intricate RNA-fold consisting of a three-helix junction stabilized by long-range base-pairing interactions and identified five binding sites for hexahydrated Mg2+-ions. Furthermore, a role for Mg2+-ions in the ligand-induced folding of this RNA was suggested. Here, we describe the interaction of divalent cations with the RNA–adenine complex in solution as studied by high-resolution NMR spectroscopy. Paramagnetic line broadening, chemical shift mapping and intermolecular nuclear Overhauser effects (NOEs) indicate the presence of at least three binding sites for divalent cations. Two of them are similar to those in the X-ray structure. The third site, which is important for the folding of this RNA, has not been observed previously. The ligand-free state of the RNA is conformationally heterogeneous and contains base-pairing patterns detrimental to ligand binding in the absence of Mg2+, but becomes partially pre-organized for ligand binding in the presence of Mg2+. Compared to the highly similar guanine-sensing riboswitch, the folding pathway for the adenine-sensing riboswitch aptamer domain is more complex and the influence of Mg2+ is more pronounced.
Post-transcriptional regulation of 5-lipoxygenase mRNA expression via alternative splicing and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay
Bernd Lothar Sorg
- 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO) catalyzes the two initial steps in the biosynthesis of leukotrienes (LT), a group of inflammatory lipid mediators derived from arachidonic acid. Here, we investigated the regulation of 5-LO mRNA expression by alternative splicing and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). In the present study, we report the identification of 2 truncated transcripts and 4 novel 5-LO splice variants containing premature termination codons (PTC). The characterization of one of the splice variants, 5-LOΔ3, revealed that it is a target for NMD since knockdown of the NMD factors UPF1, UPF2 and UPF3b in the human monocytic cell line Mono Mac 6 (MM6) altered the expression of 5-LOΔ3 mRNA up to 2-fold in a cell differentiation-dependent manner suggesting that cell differentiation alters the composition or function of the NMD complex. In contrast, the mature 5-LO mRNA transcript was not affected by UPF knockdown. Thus, the data suggest that the coupling of alternative splicing and NMD is involved in the regulation of 5-LO gene expression.
Interplay between N-WASP and CK2 optimizes clathrin-mediated endocytosis of EGFR
- Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) involves spatially and temporally restricted molecular dynamics.
Although protein kinases and the actin cytoskeleton contribute to the process, whether and how
functions of kinases and actin are integrated remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that neural
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) and protein kinase CK2 form a complex and localize on
clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs). N-WASP binds to and is phosphorylated by CK2, thereby reducing the
kinase activity of CK2. By contrast, N-WASP-promoted actin polymerization is decreased upon both
phosphorylation and binding of CK2. Knockdown of N-WASP and CK2, alone or in combination, results
in impaired endocytosis of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and increased cell-surface levels of EGF
receptor (EGFR). In order to rescue the phenotype of N-WASP-CK2 knockdown cells, both N-WASP and
CK2 activities and abilities to assemble in a complex are required. In summary, this study shows that the
N-WASP-CK2 complex integrates in a single circuit different activities contributing to CME of EGFR and
that the interplay between the two proteins optimizes this process.
Conformational dynamics of the tetracycline-binding aptamer
Julia E. Weigand
- The conformational dynamics induced by ligand binding to the tetracycline-binding aptamer is monitored via stopped-flow fluorescence spectroscopy and time-correlated single photon counting experiments. The fluorescence of the ligand is sensitive to changes within the tertiary structure of the aptamer during and after the binding process. In addition to the wild-type aptamer, the mutants A9G, A13U and A50U are examined, where bases important for regulation are changed to inhibit the aptamer’s function. Our results suggest a very fast two-step-mechanism for the binding of the ligand to the aptamer that can be interpreted as a binding step followed by a reorganization of the aptamer to accommodate the ligand. Binding to the two direct contact points A13 and A50 was found to occur in the first binding step. The exchange of the structurally important base A9 for guanine induces an enormous deceleration of the overall binding process, which is mainly rooted in an enhancement of the back reaction of the first binding step by several orders of magnitude. This indicates a significant loss of tertiary structure of the aptamer in the absence of the base A9, and underlines the importance of pre-organization on the overall binding process of the tetracycline-binding aptamer.
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Influence of ground-state structure and Mg2+ binding on folding kinetics of the guanine-sensing riboswitch aptamer domain
- Riboswitch RNAs fold into complex tertiary structures upon binding to their cognate ligand. Ligand recognition is accomplished by key residues in the binding pocket. In addition, it often crucially depends on the stability of peripheral structural elements. The ligand-bound complex of the guanine-sensing riboswitch from Bacillus subtilis, for example, is stabilized by extensive interactions between apical loop regions of the aptamer domain. Previously, we have shown that destabilization of this tertiary loop–loop interaction abrogates ligand binding of the G37A/C61U-mutant aptamer domain (Gswloop) in the absence of Mg2+. However, if Mg2+ is available, ligand-binding capability is restored by a population shift of the ground-state RNA ensemble toward RNA conformations with pre-formed loop–loop interactions. Here, we characterize the striking influence of long-range tertiary structure on RNA folding kinetics and on ligand-bound complex structure, both by X-ray crystallography and time-resolved NMR. The X-ray structure of the ligand-bound complex reveals that the global architecture is almost identical to the wild-type aptamer domain. The population of ligand-binding competent conformations in the ground-state ensemble of Gswloop is tunable through variation of the Mg2+ concentration. We quantitatively describe the influence of distinct Mg2+ concentrations on ligand-induced folding trajectories both by equilibrium and time-resolved NMR spectroscopy at single-residue resolution.