Distinct mechanisms for trans-mediated mobilization of cellular RNAs by the LINE-1 reverse transcriptase.
ABSTRACT: Long Interspersed Element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) sequences comprise approximately 17% of human DNA and ongoing L1 retrotransposition continues to impact genome evolution. The L1-encoded proteins also can mobilize other cellular RNAs (e.g., Alu retrotransposons, SVA retrotransposons, and U6 snRNAs), which comprise approximately 13% of human DNA. Here, we demonstrate that the trans-mediated mobilization of non-L1 RNAs can occur by either template choice or template-switching mechanisms. Remarkably, these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, as both processes can operate sequentially on the same RNA template. Finally, we provide evidence that efficient U6 snRNA retrotransposition requires both ORF1p and ORF2p, providing indirect evidence for the action of ORF1p in U6 snRNA retrotransposition. Thus, we propose that the LINE-1-encoded reverse transcriptase can mediate the retrotransposition of non-L1 RNAs by distinct mechanisms.
Project description:Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) amplifies via retrotransposition. Active L1s encode 2 proteins (ORF1p and ORF2p) that bind their encoding transcript to promote retrotransposition in cis The L1-encoded proteins also promote the retrotransposition of small-interspersed element RNAs, noncoding RNAs, and messenger RNAs in trans Some L1-mediated retrotransposition events consist of a copy of U6 RNA conjoined to a variably 5'-truncated L1, but how U6/L1 chimeras are formed requires elucidation. Here, we report the following: The RNA ligase RtcB can join U6 RNAs ending in a 2',3'-cyclic phosphate to L1 RNAs containing a 5'-OH in vitro; depletion of endogenous RtcB in HeLa cell extracts reduces U6/L1 RNA ligation efficiency; retrotransposition of U6/L1 RNAs leads to U6/L1 pseudogene formation; and a unique cohort of U6/L1 chimeric RNAs are present in multiple human cell lines. Thus, these data suggest that U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) and RtcB participate in the formation of chimeric RNAs and that retrotransposition of chimeric RNA contributes to interindividual genetic variation.
Project description:The average human genome contains a small cohort of active L1 retrotransposons that encode two proteins (ORF1p and ORF2p) required for their mobility (i.e., retrotransposition). Prior studies demonstrated that human ORF1p, L1 RNA, and an ORF2p-encoded reverse transcriptase activity are present in ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. However, the inability to physically detect ORF2p from engineered human L1 constructs has remained a technical challenge in the field. Here, we have employed an epitope/RNA tagging strategy with engineered human L1 retrotransposons to identify ORF1p, ORF2p, and L1 RNA in a RNP complex. We next used this system to assess how mutations in ORF1p and/or ORF2p impact RNP formation. Importantly, we demonstrate that mutations in the coiled-coil domain and RNA recognition motif of ORF1p, as well as the cysteine-rich domain of ORF2p, reduce the levels of ORF1p and/or ORF2p in L1 RNPs. Finally, we used this tagging strategy to localize the L1-encoded proteins and L1 RNA to cytoplasmic foci that often were associated with stress granules. Thus, we conclude that a precise interplay among ORF1p, ORF2p, and L1 RNA is critical for L1 RNP assembly, function, and L1 retrotransposition.
Project description:L1 retrotransposons express proteins (ORF1p and ORF2p) that preferentially mobilize their encoding RNA in cis, but they also can mobilize Alu RNA and, more rarely, cellular mRNAs in trans. Although these RNAs differ in sequence, each ends in a 3' polyadenosine (poly(A)) tract. Here, we replace the L1 polyadenylation signal with sequences derived from a non-polyadenylated long non-coding RNA (MALAT1), which can form a stabilizing triple helix at the 3' end of an RNA. L1/MALAT RNAs accumulate in cells, lack poly(A) tails, and are translated; however, they cannot retrotranspose in cis. Remarkably, the addition of a 16 or 40 base poly(A) tract downstream of the L1/MALAT triple helix restores retrotransposition in cis. The presence of a poly(A) tract also allows ORF2p to bind and mobilize RNAs in trans. Thus, a 3' poly(A) tract is critical for the retrotransposition of sequences that comprise approximately one billion base pairs of human DNA.
Project description:Long INterspersed Element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) retrotransposons encode two proteins (ORF1p and ORF2p) that are required for retrotransposition. The L1 element amplification protocol (LEAP) assays the ability of L1 ORF2p to reverse transcribe L1 RNA in vitro. Ultracentrifugation or immunoprecipitation is used to isolate L1 ribonucleoprotein particle (RNP) complexes from cultured human cells transfected with an engineered L1 expression construct. The isolated RNPs are incubated with an oligonucleotide that contains a unique sequence at its 5' end and a thymidine-rich sequence at its 3' end. The addition of dNTPs to the reaction allows L1 ORF2p bound to L1 RNA to generate L1 cDNA. The resultant L1 cDNAs then are amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the products are visualized by gel electrophoresis. Sequencing the resultant PCR products then allows product verification. The LEAP assay has been instrumental in determining how mutations in L1 ORF1p and ORF2p affect L1 reverse transcriptase (RT) activity. Furthermore, the LEAP assay has revealed that the L1 ORF2p RT can extend a DNA primer with mismatched 3' terminal bases when it is annealed to an L1 RNA template. As the LINE-1 biology field gravitates toward studying cellular proteins that regulate LINE-1, molecular genetic and biochemical approaches such as LEAP, in conjunction with the LINE-1-cultured cell retrotransposition assay, are essential to dissect the molecular mechanism of L1 retrotransposition.
Project description:Long interspersed nuclear element 1 (L1) belongs to a family of retrotransposons. Expression of the normally repressed L1 retrotransposons has been shown to induce genome instability by creating DNA double-stranded breaks and chromosomal rearrangements through the process of retrotransposition. At present, little is known about the expression of L1-encoded ORF1p and ORF2p which are indispensable for its retrotransposition activity. Given its potentially harmful effects on the genome, we investigated the implications of both ORF1p and ORF2p expression and their subcellular localization in a range of breast cancer cell lines and breast tumor tissues including 15 normal breast tissues, 25 fibroadenomas, 25 ductal carcinomas in situ (DCIS), and 95 invasive cancers. Clinicopathologic parameters and survival outcomes were investigated in association with the cytoplasmic and nuclear expression of ORF1p and ORF2p using univariate and multivariate analysis. High cytoplasmic expression of ORF1p and ORF2p was seen in DCIS tumors, but they were not related with survival outcome. The majority of invasive cancers were found to express both ORF1p and ORF2p in the cytoplasm, while nuclear expression was also seen in a subclass of those invasive cancers in the range of 28-31 %. Tumors with high nuclear expression of ORF1p and ORF2p were more significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (p = 0.001) and the worst patient survival (p < 0.0001) than those with cytoplasmic expression. This is the first study examining the effects of both ORF1p and ORF2p expression in breast cancer tissues. Our observation shows altered expression patterns of ORF1p and ORF2p within invasive cancers, which are related to differences in overall patient survival. The differing patterns of both cytoplasmic and nuclear ORF1p and ORF2p expression indicate that further studies of the biology and function of L1 retrotransposons are required in breast cancer.
Project description:Transposable elements comprise more than 45% of the human genome and long interspersed nuclear element 1 (LINE-1 or L1) is the only autonomous mobile element remaining active. Since its identification, it has been proposed that L1 contributes to the mobilization and amplification of other cellular RNAs and more recently, experimental demonstrations of this function has been described for many transcripts such as Alu, a nonautonomous mobile element, cellular mRNAs, or small noncoding RNAs. Detailed examination of the mobilization of various cellular RNAs revealed distinct pathways by which they could be recruited during retrotransposition; template choice or template switching. Here, by analyzing genomic structures and retrotransposition signatures associated with small nuclear RNA (snRNA) sequences, we identified distinct recruiting steps during the L1 retrotransposition cycle for the formation of snRNA-processed pseudogenes. Interestingly, some of the identified recruiting steps take place in the nucleus. Moreover, after comparison to other vertebrate genomes, we established that snRNA amplification by template switching is common to many LINE families from several LINE clades. Finally, we suggest that U6 snRNA copies can serve as markers of L1 retrotransposition dynamics in mammalian genomes.
Project description:LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposons comprise approximately 17% of human DNA, yet little is known about L1 integration. Here, we characterized 100 retrotransposition events in HeLa cells and show that distinct DNA repair pathways can resolve L1 cDNA retrotransposition intermediates. L1 cDNA resolution can lead to various forms of genetic instability including the generation of chimeric L1s, intrachromosomal deletions, intrachromosomal duplications, and intra-L1 rearrangements as well as a possible interchromosomal translocation. The L1 retrotransposition machinery also can mobilize U6 snRNA to new genomic locations, increasing the repertoire of noncoding RNAs that are mobilized by L1s. Finally, we have determined that the L1 reverse transcriptase can faithfully replicate its own transcript and has a base misincorporation error rate of approximately 1/7,000 bases. These data indicate that L1 retrotransposition in transformed human cells can lead to a variety of genomic rearrangements and suggest that host processes act to restrict L1 integration in cultured human cells. Indeed, the initial steps in L1 retrotransposition may define a host/parasite battleground that serves to limit the number of active L1s in the genome.
Project description:Background:Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1, L1) is the major driver of mobile DNA activity in modern humans. When expressed, LINE-1 loci produce bicistronic transcripts encoding two proteins essential for retrotransposition, ORF1p and ORF2p. Many types of human cancers are characterized by L1 promoter hypomethylation, L1 transcription, L1 ORF1p protein expression, and somatic L1 retrotransposition. ORF2p encodes the endonuclease and reverse transcriptase activities required for L1 retrotransposition. Its expression is poorly characterized in human tissues and cell lines. Results:We report mass spectrometry-based tumor proteome profiling studies wherein ORF2p eludes detection. To test whether ORF2p could be detected with specific reagents, we developed and validated five rabbit monoclonal antibodies with immunoreactivity for specific epitopes on the protein. These reagents readily detect ectopic ORF2p expressed from bicistronic L1 constructs. However, endogenous ORF2p is not detected in human tumor samples or cell lines by western blot, immunoprecipitation, or immunohistochemistry despite high levels of ORF1p expression. Moreover, we report endogenous ORF1p-associated interactomes, affinity isolated from colorectal cancers, wherein we similarly fail to detect ORF2p. These samples include primary tumors harboring hundreds of somatically acquired L1 insertions. The new data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD013743. Conclusions:Although somatic retrotransposition provides unequivocal genetic evidence for the expression of ORF2p in human cancers, we are unable to directly measure its presence using several standard methods. Experimental systems have previously indicated an unequal stoichiometry between ORF1p and ORF2p, but in vivo, the expression of these two proteins may be more strikingly uncoupled. These findings are consistent with observations that ORF2p is not tolerable for cell growth.
Project description:LINE-1 or L1 is an autonomous non-LTR retrotransposon in mammals. Retrotransposition requires the function of the two L1-encoded polypeptides, ORF1p and ORF2p. Early recognition of regions of homology between the predicted amino acid sequence of ORF2 and known endonuclease and reverse transcriptase enzymes led to testable hypotheses regarding the function of ORF2p in retrotransposition. As predicted, ORF2p has been demonstrated to have both endonuclease and reverse transcriptase activities. In contrast, no homologs of known function have contributed to our understanding of the function of ORF1p during retrotransposition. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made such that we now know that ORF1p is a high-affinity RNA-binding protein that forms a ribonucleoprotein particle together with L1 RNA. Furthermore, ORF1p is a nucleic acid chaperone and this nucleic acid chaperone activity is required for L1 retrotransposition.
Project description:Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) retrotransposons encode two proteins (ORF1p and ORF2p) that contain activities required for conventional retrotransposition by a mechanism termed target-site primed reverse transcription. Previous experiments in XRCC4 or DNA protein kinase catalytic subunit-deficient CHO cell lines, which are defective for the nonhomologous end-joining DNA repair pathway, revealed an alternative endonuclease-independent (ENi) pathway for L1 retrotransposition. Interestingly, some ENi retrotransposition events in DNA protein kinase catalytic subunit-deficient cells are targeted to dysfunctional telomeres. Here we used an in vitro assay to detect L1 reverse transcriptase activity to demonstrate that wild-type or endonuclease-defective L1 ribonucleoprotein particles can use oligonucleotide adapters that mimic telomeric ends as primers to initiate the reverse transcription of L1 mRNA. Importantly, these ribonucleoprotein particles also contain a nuclease activity that can process the oligonucleotide adapters before the initiation of reverse transcription. Finally, we demonstrate that ORF1p is not strictly required for ENi retrotransposition at dysfunctional telomeres. Thus, these data further highlight similarities between the mechanism of ENi L1 retrotransposition and telomerase.