Eukaryotic RNase P RNA mediates cleavage in the absence of protein.
ABSTRACT: The universally conserved ribonucleoprotein RNase P is involved in the processing of tRNA precursor transcripts. RNase P consists of one RNA and, depending on its origin, a variable number of protein subunits. Catalytic activity of the RNA moiety so far has been demonstrated only for bacterial and some archaeal RNase P RNAs but not for their eukaryotic counterparts. Here, we show that RNase P RNAs from humans and the lower eukaryote Giardia lamblia mediate cleavage of four tRNA precursors and a model RNA hairpin loop substrate in the absence of protein. Compared with bacterial RNase P RNA, the rate of cleavage (k(obs)) was five to six orders of magnitude lower, whereas the affinity for the substrate (appK(d)) was reduced approximately 20- to 50-fold. We conclude that the RNA-based catalytic activity of RNase P has been preserved during evolution. This finding opens previously undescribed ways to study the role of the different proteins subunits of eukaryotic RNase P.
Project description:Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an essential endoribonuclease that catalyzes the cleavage of the 5' leader of pre-tRNAs. In addition, a growing number of non-tRNA substrates have been identified in various organisms. RNase P varies in composition, as bacterial RNase P contains a catalytic RNA core and one protein subunit, while eukaryotic nuclear RNase P retains the catalytic RNA but has at least nine protein subunits. The additional eukaryotic protein subunits most likely provide additional functionality to RNase P, with one possibility being additional RNA recognition capabilities. To investigate the possible range of additional RNase P substrates in vivo, a strand-specific, high-density microarray was used to analyze what RNA accumulates with a mutation in the catalytic RNA subunit of nuclear RNase P in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A wide variety of noncoding RNAs were shown to accumulate, suggesting that nuclear RNase P participates in the turnover of normally unstable nuclear RNAs. In some cases, the accumulated noncoding RNAs were shown to be antisense to transcripts that commensurately decreased in abundance. Pre-mRNAs containing introns also accumulated broadly, consistent with either compromised splicing or failure to efficiently turn over pre-mRNAs that do not enter the splicing pathway. Taken together with the high complexity of the nuclear RNase P holoenzyme and its relatively nonspecific capacity to bind and cleave mixed sequence RNAs, these data suggest that nuclear RNase P facilitates turnover of nuclear RNAs in addition to its role in pre-tRNA biogenesis.
Project description:Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an essential endonuclease responsible for the 5'-end maturation of precursor tRNAs. Bacterial RNase P also processes precursor 4.5S RNA, tmRNA, 30S preribosomal RNA, and several reported protein-coding RNAs. Eukaryotic nuclear RNase P is far more complex than in the bacterial form, employing multiple essential protein subunits in addition to the catalytic RNA subunit. RNomic studies have shown that RNase P binds other RNAs in addition to tRNAs, but no non-tRNA substrates have previously been identified. Additional substrates were identified by using a multipronged approach in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. First, RNase P-dependant changes in RNA abundance were examined on whole-genome microarrays by using strains containing temperature sensitive (TS) mutations in two of the essential RNase P subunits, Pop1p and Rpr1r. Second, RNase P was rapidly affinity-purified, and copurified RNAs were identified by using a genome-wide microarray. Third, to identify RNAs that do not change abundance when RNase P is depleted but accumulate as larger precursors, >80 potential small RNA substrates were probed directly by Northern blot analysis with RNA from the RNase P TS mutants. Numerous potential substrates were identified, of which we characterized the box C/D intron-encoded small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), because these both copurify with RNase P and accumulate larger forms in the RNase P temperature-sensitive mutants. It was previously known that two pathways existed for excising these snoRNAs, one using the pre-mRNA splicing path and the other that was independent of splicing. RNase P appears to participate in the splicing-independent path for the box C/D intron-encoded snoRNAs.
Project description:The RNA subunits of RNase Ps of Archaea and eukaryotes have been thought to depend fundamentally on protein for activity, unlike those of Bacteria that are capable of efficient catalysis in the absence of protein. Although the eukaryotic RNase P RNAs are quite different than those of Bacteria in both sequence and structure, the archaeal RNAs generally contain the sequences and structures of the bacterial, phylogenetically conserved catalytic core. A spectrum of archaeal RNase P RNAs were therefore tested for activity in a wide range of conditions. Many remain inactive in ionically extreme conditions, but catalytic activity could be detected from those of the methanobacteria, thermococci, and halobacteria. Chimeric holoenzymes, reconstituted from the Methanobacterium RNase P RNA and the Bacillus subtilis RNase P protein subunits, were functional at low ionic strength. The properties of the archaeal RNase P RNAs (high ionic-strength requirement, low affinity for substrate, and catalytic reconstitution by bacterial RNase P protein) are similar to synthetic RNase P RNAs that contain all of the catalytic core of the bacterial RNA but lack phylogenetically variable, stabilizing elements.
Project description:Ribonuclease P (RNase P), a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex required for tRNA maturation, comprises one essential RNA (RPR) and protein subunits (RPPs) numbering one in bacteria, and at least four in archaea and nine in eukarya. While the bacterial RPR is catalytically active in vitro, only select euryarchaeal and eukaryal RPRs are weakly active despite secondary structure similarity and conservation of nucleotide identity in their putative catalytic core. Such a decreased archaeal/eukaryal RPR function might imply that their cognate RPPs provide the functional groups that make up the active site. However, substrate-binding defects might mask the ability of some of these RPRs, such as that from the archaeon Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (Mja), to catalyze precursor tRNA (ptRNA) processing. To test this hypothesis, we constructed a ptRNA-Mja RPR conjugate and found that indeed it self-cleaves efficiently (k(obs), 0.15 min(-1) at pH 5.5 and 55 degrees C). Moreover, one pair of Mja RPPs (POP5-RPP30) enhanced k(obs) for the RPR-catalyzed self-processing by approximately 100-fold while the other pair (RPP21-RPP29) had no effect; both binary RPP complexes significantly reduced the monovalent and divalent ionic requirement. Our results suggest a common RNA-mediated catalytic mechanism in all RNase P and help uncover parallels in RNase P catalysis hidden by plurality in its subunit make-up.
Project description:We have used NMR spectroscopy and x-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structure of PF1378 (Pfu Pop5), one of four protein subunits of archaeal RNase P that shares a homolog in the eukaryotic enzyme. RNase P is an essential and ubiquitous ribonucleoprotein enzyme required for maturation of tRNA. In bacteria, the enzyme's RNA subunit is responsible for cleaving the single-stranded 5' leader sequence of precursor tRNA molecules (pre-tRNA), whereas the protein subunit assists in substrate binding. Although in bacteria the RNase P holoenzyme consists of one large catalytic RNA and one small protein subunit, in archaea and eukarya the enzyme contains several (> or =4) protein subunits, each of which lacks sequence similarity to the bacterial protein. The functional role of the proteins is poorly understood, as is the increased complexity in comparison to the bacterial enzyme. Pfu Pop5 has been directly implicated in catalysis by the observation that it pairs with PF1914 (Pfu Rpp30) to functionally reconstitute the catalytic domain of the RNA subunit. The protein adopts an alpha-beta sandwich fold highly homologous to the single-stranded RNA binding RRM domain. Furthermore, the three-dimensional arrangement of Pfu Pop5's structural elements is remarkably similar to that of the bacterial protein subunit. NMR spectra have been used to map the interaction of Pop5 with Pfu Rpp30. The data presented permit tantalizing hypotheses regarding the role of this protein subunit shared by archaeal and eukaryotic RNase P.
Project description:The eukaryotic ribonuclease for mitochondrial RNA processing (RNase MRP) is mainly located in the nucleoli and belongs to the small nucleolar ribonucleoprotein (snoRNP) particles. RNase MRP is involved in the processing of pre-rRNA and the generation of RNA primers for mitochondrial DNA replication. A closely related snoRNP, which shares protein subunits with RNase MRP and contains a structurally related RNA subunit, is the pre-tRNA processing factor RNase P. Up to now, 10 protein subunits of these complexes have been described, designated hPop1, hPop4, hPop5, Rpp14, Rpp20, Rpp21, Rpp25, Rpp30, Rpp38 and Rpp40. To get more insight into the assembly of the human RNase MRP complex we studied protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions by means of GST pull-down experiments. A total of 19 direct protein-protein and six direct protein-RNA interactions were observed. The analysis of mutant RNase MRP RNAs showed that distinct regions are involved in the direct interaction with protein subunits. The results provide insight into the way the protein and RNA subunits assemble into a ribonucleoprotein particle. Based upon these data a new model for the architecture of the human RNase MRP complex was generated.
Project description:Ribonuclease P (RNase P) catalyzes the removal of 5' leaders of tRNA precursors and its central catalytic RNA subunit is highly conserved across all domains of life. In eukaryotes, RNase P and RNase MRP, a closely related ribonucleoprotein enzyme, share several of the same protein subunits, contain a similar catalytic RNA core, and exhibit structural features that do not exist in their bacterial or archaeal counterparts. A unique feature of eukaryotic RNase P/MRP is the presence of two relatively long and unpaired internal loops within the P3 region of their RNA subunit bound by a heterodimeric protein complex, Rpp20/Rpp25. Here we present a crystal structure of the human Rpp20/Rpp25 heterodimer and we propose, using comparative structural analyses, that the evolutionary divergence of the single-stranded and helical nucleic acid binding specificities of eukaryotic Rpp20/Rpp25 and their related archaeal Alba chromatin protein dimers, respectively, originate primarily from quaternary level differences observed in their heterodimerization interface. Our work provides structural insights into how the archaeal Alba protein scaffold was adapted evolutionarily for incorporation into several functionally-independent eukaryotic ribonucleoprotein complexes.
Project description:RNase P, which catalyzes tRNA 5'-maturation, typically comprises a catalytic RNase P RNA (RPR) and a varying number of RNase P proteins (RPPs): 1 in bacteria, at least 4 in archaea and 9 in eukarya. The four archaeal RPPs have eukaryotic homologs and function as heterodimers (POP5•RPP30 and RPP21•RPP29). By studying the archaeal Methanocaldococcus jannaschii RPR's cis cleavage of precursor tRNA(Gln) (pre-tRNA(Gln)), which lacks certain consensus structures/sequences needed for substrate recognition, we demonstrate that RPP21•RPP29 and POP5•RPP30 can rescue the RPR's mis-cleavage tendency independently by 4-fold and together by 25-fold, suggesting that they operate by distinct mechanisms. This synergistic and preferential shift toward correct cleavage results from the ability of archaeal RPPs to selectively increase the RPR's apparent rate of correct cleavage by 11,140-fold, compared to only 480-fold for mis-cleavage. Moreover, POP5•RPP30, like the bacterial RPP, helps normalize the RPR's rates of cleavage of non-consensus and consensus pre-tRNAs. We also show that archaeal and eukaryal RNase P, compared to their bacterial relatives, exhibit higher fidelity of 5'-maturation of pre-tRNA(Gln) and some of its mutant derivatives. Our results suggest that protein-rich RNase P variants might have evolved to support flexibility in substrate recognition while catalyzing efficient, high-fidelity 5'-processing.
Project description:RNA-mediated RNA cleavage events are being increasingly exploited to disrupt RNA function, an important objective in post-genomic biology. RNase P, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme that catalyzes the removal of 5'-leaders from precursor tRNAs, has previously been utilized for sequence-specific cleavage of cellular RNAs. In one of these strategies, borne out in bacterial and mammalian cell culture, an external guide sequence (EGS) RNA base-paired to a target RNA makes the latter a substrate for endogenous RNase P by rendering the bipartite target RNA-EGS complex a precursor tRNA structural mimic. In this study, we first obtained evidence that four different mesophilic and thermophilic archaeal RNase P holoenzymes, reconstituted in vitro using their respective constituent RNA and protein subunits, recognize and cleave such substrate-EGS complexes. We further demonstrate that these EGSs engage in multiple rounds of substrate recognition while assisting archaeal RNase P-mediated cleavage of a target RNA in vitro. Taken together, the EGS-based approach merits consideration as a gene knockdown tool in archaea.
Project description:RNases P and MRP are ribonucleoprotein complexes involved in tRNA and rRNA processing, respectively. The RNA subunits of these two enzymes are structurally related to each other and play an essential role in the enzymatic reaction. Both of the RNAs have a highly conserved helical region, P4, which is important in the catalytic reaction. We have used a bioinformatics approach based on conserved elements to computationally analyze available genomic sequences of eukaryotic organisms and have identified a large number of novel nuclear RNase P and MRP RNA genes. For MRP RNA for instance, this investigation increases the number of known sequences by a factor of three. We present secondary structure models of many of the predicted RNAs. Although all sequences are able to fold into the consensus secondary structure of P and MRP RNAs, a striking variation in size is observed, ranging from a Nosema locustae MRP RNA of 160 nt to much larger RNAs, e.g. a Plasmodium knowlesi P RNA of 696 nt. The P and MRP RNA genes appear in tandem in some protists, further emphasizing the close evolutionary relationship of these RNAs.