Reengineering CCA-adding enzymes to function as (U,G)- or dCdCdA-adding enzymes or poly(C,A) and poly(U,G) polymerases.
ABSTRACT: CCA-adding enzymes build and repair the 3'-terminal CCA sequence of tRNA. These unusual RNA polymerases use either a ribonucleoprotein template (class I) or pure protein template (class II) to form mock base pairs with the Watson-Crick edges of incoming CTP and ATP. Guided by the class II Bacillus stearothermophilus CCA-adding enzyme structure, we introduced mutations designed to reverse the polarity of hydrogen bonds between the nucleobases and protein template. We were able to transform the CCA-adding enzyme into a (U,G)-adding enzyme that incorporates UTP and GTP instead of CTP and ATP; we transformed the related Aquifex aeolicus CC- and A-adding enzymes into UU- and G-adding enzymes and Escherichia coli poly(A) polymerase into a poly(G) polymerase; and we transformed the B. stearothermophilus CCA-adding enzyme into a poly(C,A) polymerase by mutations in helix J that appear, based on the apoenzyme structure, to sterically limit addition to CCA. We also transformed the B. stearothermophilus CCA-adding enzyme into a dCdCdA-adding enzyme by mutating an arginine that interacts with the incoming ribose 2' hydroxyl. Most importantly, we found that mutations in helix J can affect the specificity of the nucleotide binding site some 20 A away, suggesting that the specificity of both class I and II enzymes may be dictated by an intricate network of hydrogen bonds involving the protein, incoming nucleotide, and 3' end of the tRNA. Collaboration between RNA and protein in the form of a ribonucleoprotein template may help to explain the evolutionary diversity of the nucleotidyltransferase family.
Project description:CCA-adding enzyme [ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferase], a template-independent RNA polymerase, adds the defined 'cytidine-cytidine-adenosine' sequence onto the 3' end of tRNA. The archaeal CCA-adding enzyme (class I) and eubacterial/eukaryotic CCA-adding enzyme (class II) show little amino acid sequence homology, but catalyze the same reaction in a defined fashion. Here, we present the crystal structures of the class I archaeal CCA-adding enzyme from Archaeoglobus fulgidus, and its complexes with CTP and ATP at 2.0, 2.0 and 2.7 A resolutions, respectively. The geometry of the catalytic carboxylates and the relative positions of CTP and ATP to a single catalytic site are well conserved in both classes of CCA-adding enzymes, whereas the overall architectures, except for the catalytic core, of the class I and class II CCA-adding enzymes are fundamentally different. Furthermore, the recognition mechanisms of substrate nucleotides and tRNA molecules are distinct between these two classes, suggesting that the catalytic domains of class I and class II enzymes share a common origin, and distinct substrate recognition domains have been appended to form the two presently divergent classes.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are specialized polymerases that add a specific sequence (C-C-A) to tRNA 3' ends without requiring a nucleic acid template. In some organisms, CCA synthesis is accomplished by the collaboration of evolutionary closely related enzymes with partial activities (CC and A addition). These enzymes carry all known motifs of the catalytic core found in CCA-adding enzymes. Therefore, it is a mystery why these polymerases are restricted in their activity and do not synthesize a complete CCA terminus. Here, a region located outside of the conserved motifs was identified that is missing in CC-adding enzymes. When recombinantly introduced from a CCA-adding enzyme, the region restores full CCA-adding activity in the resulting chimera. Correspondingly, deleting the region in a CCA-adding enzyme abolishes the A-incorporating activity, also leading to CC addition. The presence of the deletion was used to predict the CC-adding activity of putative bacterial tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Indeed, two such enzymes were experimentally identified as CC-adding enzymes, indicating that the existence of the deletion is a hallmark for this activity. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of identified and putative CC-adding enzymes indicates that this type of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases emerged several times during evolution. Obviously, these enzymes descend from CCA-adding enzymes, where the occurrence of the deletion led to the restricted activity of CC addition. A-adding enzymes, however, seem to represent a monophyletic group that might also be ancestral to CCA-adding enzymes. Yet, experimental data indicate that it is possible that A-adding activities also evolved from CCA-adding enzymes by the occurrence of individual point mutations.
Project description:The CCA-adding enzyme synthesizes the CCA sequence at the 3' end of tRNA without a nucleic acid template. The crystal structures of class II Thermotoga maritima CCA-adding enzyme and its complexes with CTP or ATP were determined. The structure-based replacement of both the catalytic heads and nucleobase-interacting neck domains of the phylogenetically closely related Aquifex aeolicus A-adding enzyme by the corresponding domains of the T. maritima CCA-adding enzyme allowed the A-adding enzyme to add CCA in vivo and in vitro. However, the replacement of only the catalytic head domain did not allow the A-adding enzyme to add CCA, and the enzyme exhibited (A, C)-adding activity. We identified the region in the neck domain that prevents (A, C)-adding activity and defines the number of nucleotide incorporations and the specificity for correct CCA addition. We also identified the region in the head domain that defines the terminal A addition after CC addition. The results collectively suggest that, in the class II CCA-adding enzyme, the head and neck domains collaboratively and dynamically define the number of nucleotide additions and the specificity of nucleotide selection.
Project description:CCA-adding enzyme builds the 3'-end CCA of tRNA without a nucleic acid template. The mechanism for the maintenance of fidelity during the CCA-adding reaction remains elusive. Here, we present almost a dozen complex structures of the class I CCA-adding enzyme and tRNA mini-helices (mini-D(73)N(74), mini-D(73)N(74)C(75) and mini-D(73)C(74)N(75); D(73) is a discriminator nucleotide and N is either A, G, or U). The mini-D(73)N(74) complexes adopt catalytically inactive open forms, and CTP shifts the enzymes to the active closed forms and allows N(74) to flip for CMP incorporation. In contrast, unlike the catalytically active closed form of the mini-D(73)C(74)C(75) complex, the mini-D(73)N(74)C(75) and mini-D(73)C(74)N(75) complexes adopt inactive open forms. Only the mini-D(73)C(74)U(75) accepts AMP to a similar extent as mini-D(73)C(74)C(75), and ATP shifts the enzyme to a closed, active form and allows U(75) to flip for AMP incorporation. These findings suggest that the 3'-region of RNA is proofread, after two nucleotide additions, in the closed, active form of the complex at the AMP incorporation stage. This proofreading is a prerequisite for the maintenance of fidelity for complete CCA synthesis.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes [ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferases] add CCA onto the 3' end of transfer RNA (tRNA) precursors without using a nucleic acid template. Although the mechanism by which cytosine (C) is selected at position 75 of tRNA has been established, the mechanism by which adenine (A) is selected at position 76 remains elusive. Here, we report five cocrystal structures of the enzyme complexed with both a tRNA mimic and nucleoside triphosphates under catalytically active conditions. These structures suggest that adenosine 5'-monophosphate is incorporated onto the A76 position of the tRNA via a carboxylate-assisted, one-metal-ion mechanism with aspartate 110 functioning as a general base. The discrimination against incorporation of cytidine 5'-triphosphate (CTP) at position 76 arises from improper placement of the ? phosphate of the incoming CTP, which results from the interaction of C with arginine 224 and prevents the nucleophilic attack by the 3' hydroxyl group of cytidine75.
Project description:Showing a high sequence similarity, the evolutionary closely related bacterial poly(A) polymerases (PAP) and CCA-adding enzymes catalyze quite different reactions--PAP adds poly(A) tails to RNA 3'-ends, while CCA-adding enzymes synthesize the sequence CCA at the 3'-terminus of tRNAs. Here, two highly conserved structural elements of the corresponding Escherichia coli enzymes were characterized. The first element is a set of amino acids that was identified in CCA-adding enzymes as a template region determining the enzymes' specificity for CTP and ATP. The same element is also present in PAP, where it confers ATP specificity. The second investigated region corresponds to a flexible loop in CCA-adding enzymes and is involved in the incorporation of the terminal A-residue. Although, PAP seems to carry a similar flexible region, the functional relevance of this element in PAP is not known. The presented results show that the template region has an essential function in both enzymes, while the second element is surprisingly dispensable in PAP. The data support the idea that the bacterial PAP descends from CCA-adding enzymes and still carries some of the structural elements required for CCA-addition as an evolutionary relic and is now fixed in a conformation specific for A-addition.
Project description:Archaeal class I CCA-adding enzymes use a ribonucleoprotein template to build and repair the universally conserved 3'-terminal CCA sequence of the acceptor stem of all tRNAs. A wealth of structural and biochemical data indicate that the Archaeoglobus fulgidus CCA-adding enzyme binds primarily to the tRNA acceptor stem through a long, highly conserved alpha-helix that lies nearly parallel to the acceptor stem and makes many contacts with its sugar-phosphate backbone. Although the geometry of this alpha-helix is nearly ideal in all available cocrystal structures, the helix contains a highly conserved, potentially helix-breaking proline or glycine near the N terminus. We performed a mutational analysis to dissect the role of this residue in CCA-addition activity. We found that the phylogenetically permissible P295G mutant and the phylogenetically absent P295T had little effect on CCA addition, whereas P295A and P295S progressively interfered with CCA addition (C74>C75>A76 addition). We also examined the effects of these mutations on tRNA binding and the kinetics of CCA addition, and performed a computational analysis using Rosetta Design to better understand the role of P295 in nucleotide transfer. Our data indicate that CCA-adding activity does not correlate with the stability of the pre-addition cocrystal structures visualized by X-ray crystallography. Rather, the data are consistent with a transient conformational change involving P295 of the tRNA-binding alpha-helix during or between one or more steps in CCA addition.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are polymerases existing in two distinct enzyme classes that both synthesize the C-C-A triplet at tRNA 3'-ends. Class II enzymes (found in bacteria and eukaryotes) carry a flexible loop in their catalytic core required for switching the specificity of the nucleotide binding pocket from CTP- to ATP-recognition. Despite this important function, the loop sequence varies strongly between individual class II CCA-adding enzymes. To investigate whether this loop operates as a discrete functional entity or whether it depends on the sequence context of the enzyme, we introduced reciprocal loop replacements in several enzymes. Surprisingly, many of these replacements are incompatible with enzymatic activity and inhibit ATP-incorporation. A phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of conserved loop families. Loop replacements within families did not interfere with enzymatic activity, indicating that the loop function depends on a sequence context specific for individual enzyme families. Accordingly, modeling experiments suggest specific interactions of loop positions with important elements of the protein, forming a lever-like structure. Hence, although being part of the enzyme's catalytic core, the loop region follows an extraordinary evolutionary path, independent of other highly conserved catalytic core elements, but depending on specific sequence features in the context of the individual enzymes.
Project description:Post-transcriptional non-template additions of nucleotides to 3'-ends of RNAs play important roles in the stability and function of RNA molecules. Although tRNA nucleotidyltransferase (CCA-adding enzyme) is known to add CCA trinucleotides to 3'-ends of tRNAs, whether other RNA species can be endogenous substrates of CCA-adding enzyme has not been widely explored yet. Herein, we used YAMAT-seq to identify non-tRNA substrates of CCA-adding enzyme. YAMAT-seq captures RNA species that form secondary structures with 4-nt protruding 3'-ends of the sequence 5'-NCCA-3', which is the hallmark structure of RNAs that are generated by CCA-adding enzyme. By executing YAMAT-seq for human breast cancer cells and mining the sequence data, we identified novel candidate substrates of CCA-adding enzyme. These included fourteen 'CCA-RNAs' that only contain CCA as non-genomic sequences, and eleven 'NCCA-RNAs' that contain CCA and other nucleotides as non-genomic sequences. All newly-identified (N)CCA-RNAs were derived from the mitochondrial genome and were localized in mitochondria. Knockdown of CCA-adding enzyme severely reduced the expression levels of (N)CCA-RNAs, suggesting that the CCA-adding enzyme-catalyzed CCA additions stabilize the expression of (N)CCA-RNAs. Furthermore, expression levels of (N)CCA-RNAs were severely reduced by various cellular treatments, including UV irradiation, amino acid starvation, inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory complexes, and inhibition of the cell cycle. These results revealed a novel CCA-mediated regulatory pathway for the expression of mitochondrial non-coding RNAs.
Project description:Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) require the absolutely conserved sequence motif CCA at their 3'-ends, representing the site of aminoacylation. In the majority of organisms, this trinucleotide sequence is not encoded in the genome and thus has to be added post-transcriptionally by the CCA-adding enzyme, a specialized nucleotidyltransferase. In eukaryotic genomes this ubiquitous and highly conserved enzyme family is usually represented by a single gene copy. Analysis of published sequence data allows us to pin down the unusual evolution of eukaryotic CCA-adding enzymes. We show that the CCA-adding enzymes of animals originated from a horizontal gene transfer event in the stem lineage of Holozoa, i.e. Metazoa (animals) and their unicellular relatives, the Choanozoa. The tRNA nucleotidyltransferase, acquired from an ?-proteobacterium, replaced the ancestral enzyme in Metazoa. However, in Choanoflagellata, the group of Choanozoa that is closest to Metazoa, both the ancestral and the horizontally transferred CCA-adding enzymes have survived. Furthermore, our data refute a mitochondrial origin of the animal tRNA nucleotidyltransferases.