Experimental characterization of Cis-acting elements important for translation and transcription in halophilic archaea.
ABSTRACT: The basal transcription apparatus of archaea is well characterized. However, much less is known about the mechanisms of transcription termination and translation initation. Recently, experimental determination of the 5'-ends of ten transcripts from Pyrobaculum aerophilum revealed that these are devoid of a 5'-UTR. Bioinformatic analysis indicated that many transcripts of other archaeal species might also be leaderless. The 5'-ends and 3'-ends of 40 transcripts of two haloarchaeal species, Halobacterium salinarum and Haloferax volcanii, have been determined. They were used to characterize the lengths of 5'-UTRs and 3'-UTRs and to deduce consensus sequence-elements for transcription and translation. The experimental approach was complemented with a bioinformatics analysis of the H. salinarum genome sequence. Furthermore, the influence of selected 5'-UTRs and 3'-UTRs on transcript stability and translational efficiency in vivo was characterized using a newly established reporter gene system, gene fusions, and real-time PCR. Consensus sequences for basal promoter elements could be refined and a novel element was discovered. A consensus motif probably important for transcriptional termination was established. All 40 haloarchaeal transcripts analyzed had a 3'-UTR (average size 57 nt), and their 3'-ends were not posttranscriptionally modified. Experimental data and genome analyses revealed that the majority of haloarchaeal transcripts are leaderless, indicating that this is the predominant mode for translation initiation in haloarchaea. Surprisingly, the 5'-UTRs of most leadered transcripts did not contain a Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence. A genome analysis indicated that less than 10% of all genes are preceded by a SD sequence and even most proximal genes in operons lack a SD sequence. Seven different leadered transcripts devoid of a SD sequence were efficiently translated in vivo, including artificial 5'-UTRs of random sequences. Thus, an interaction of the 5'-UTRs of these leadered transcripts with the 16S rRNA could be excluded. Taken together, either a scanning mechanism similar to the mechanism of translation initiation operating in eukaryotes or a novel mechanism must operate on most leadered haloarchaeal transcripts.
Project description:Recent studies have shown that haloarchaea employ leaderless and Shine-Dalgarno (SD)-less mechanisms for translation initiation of leaderless transcripts with a 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) of <10 nucleotides (nt) and leadered transcripts with a 5' UTR of ≥10 nt, respectively. However, whether the two mechanisms can operate on the same naturally occurring haloarchaeal transcript carrying multiple potential start codons is unknown. In this study, the transcript of the sptA gene (encoding an extracellular serine protease of Natrinema sp. strain J7-2) was experimentally determined and found to contain two potential in-frame AUG codons (AUG(1) and AUG(2)) located 5 and 29 nt, respectively, downstream of the transcription start site. Mutational analysis revealed that both AUGs can function as the translation start codon for production of active SptA, although AUG(1) is more efficient than AUG(2) for translation initiation. Insertion of a stable stem-loop structure between the two AUGs completely abolished initiation at AUG(1) but did not affect initiation at AUG(2), indicating that AUG(2)-initiated translation does not involve ribosome scanning from the 5' end of the transcript. Furthermore, the efficiency of AUG(2)-initiated translation was not influenced by an upstream SD-like sequence. In addition, both AUG(1) and AUG(2) contribute to transcript stability, probably by recruiting ribosomes to protect the transcript against degradation. These data suggest that depending on which of two in-frame start codons is used, the sptA transcript can act as either a leaderless or a leadered transcript for SptA production in haloarchaea.In eukaryotes and bacteria, alternative translation start sites contribute to proteome complexity and can be used as a functional mechanism to increase translation efficiency. However, little is known about alternative translation initiation in archaea. Our results demonstrate that leaderless and SD-less mechanisms can be used for translation initiation of the sptA transcript from two in-frame start codons, raising the possibility that in haloarchaea, alternative translation initiation on one transcript functions to increase translation efficiency and/or contribute to proteome complexity.
Project description:Leaderless translation is prevalent in haloarchaea, with many of these leaderless transcripts possessing short 5'-untranslated regions (UTRs) less than 10 nucleotides. Whereas, little is known about the function of this very short 5'-UTR. Our previous studies determined that just four nucleotides preceded the start codon of hsp70 mRNA in Natrinema sp. J7, with residues -3A and +4G, relative to the A of the ATG start codon, acting as the preferred bases around the start codon of all known haloarchaeal hsp70 genes. Here, we examined the effects of nucleotides flanking the start codon on gene expression. The results revealed that shortening and deletion of the short 5'-UTR enhanced transcript levels; however, it led to significant reductions in overall translational efficiency. AUG was efficiently used as start codons, in both the presence and absence of short 5'-UTRs. GUG also could initiate translation, even though it was so inefficient that it would not be detected without considerably elevated transcript. Nucleotide substitutions at position -4 to +6 were shown to affect gene expression by transcript and/or translational levels. Notably, -3A and A/U nucleotides at position +4~+6 were more optimal for gene expression. Nucleotide transversions of -3A to -3C and +4G to +4T with hsp70 promoter from either Haloferax volcanii DS70 or Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 showed the same effects on gene expression as that of Natrinema sp. J7. Taken together, our results suggest that the nucleotides flanking the start codon in hsp70 mRNAs with very short 5'-UTRs play an important role in haloarchaeal gene expression.
Project description:RNA-seq technologies have provided significant insight into the transcription networks of mycobacteria. However, such studies provide no definitive information on the translational landscape. Here, we use a combination of high-throughput transcriptome and proteome-profiling approaches to more rigorously understand protein expression in two mycobacterial species. RNA-seq and ribosome profiling in Mycobacterium smegmatis, and transcription start site (TSS) mapping and N-terminal peptide mass spectrometry in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, provide complementary, empirical datasets to examine the congruence of transcription and translation in the Mycobacterium genus. We find that nearly one-quarter of mycobacterial transcripts are leaderless, lacking a 5' untranslated region (UTR) and Shine-Dalgarno ribosome-binding site. Our data indicate that leaderless translation is a major feature of mycobacterial genomes and is comparably robust to leadered initiation. Using translational reporters to systematically probe the cis-sequence requirements of leaderless translation initiation in mycobacteria, we find that an ATG or GTG at the mRNA 5' end is both necessary and sufficient. This criterion, together with our ribosome occupancy data, suggests that mycobacteria encode hundreds of small, unannotated proteins at the 5' ends of transcripts. The conservation of small proteins in both mycobacterial species tested suggests that some play important roles in mycobacterial physiology. Our translational-reporter system further indicates that mycobacterial leadered translation initiation requires a Shine Dalgarno site in the 5' UTR and that ATG, GTG, TTG, and ATT codons can robustly initiate translation. Our combined approaches provide the first comprehensive view of mycobacterial gene structures and their non-canonical mechanisms of protein expression.
Project description:Regulation of gene expression is critical for Mycobacterium tuberculosis to tolerate stressors encountered during infection and for nonpathogenic mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium smegmatis to survive environmental stressors. Unlike better-studied models, mycobacteria express ?14% of their genes as leaderless transcripts. However, the impacts of leaderless transcript structures on mRNA half-life and translation efficiency in mycobacteria have not been directly tested. For leadered transcripts, the contributions of 5' untranslated regions (UTRs) to mRNA half-life and translation efficiency are similarly unknown. In M. tuberculosis and M. smegmatis, the essential sigma factor, SigA, is encoded by a transcript with a relatively short half-life. We hypothesized that the long 5' UTR of sigA causes this instability. To test this, we constructed fluorescence reporters and measured protein abundance, mRNA abundance, and mRNA half-life and calculated relative transcript production rates. The sigA 5' UTR conferred an increased transcript production rate, shorter mRNA half-life, and decreased apparent translation rate compared to a synthetic 5' UTR commonly used in mycobacterial expression plasmids. Leaderless transcripts appeared to be translated with similar efficiency as those with the sigA 5' UTR but had lower predicted transcript production rates. A global comparison of M. tuberculosis mRNA and protein abundances failed to reveal systematic differences in protein/mRNA ratios for leadered and leaderless transcripts, suggesting that variability in translation efficiency is largely driven by factors other than leader status. Our data are also discussed in light of an alternative model that leads to different conclusions and suggests leaderless transcripts may indeed be translated less efficiently.IMPORTANCE Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a major public health problem killing 1.5 million people globally each year. During infection, M. tuberculosis must alter its gene expression patterns to adapt to the stress conditions it encounters. Understanding how M. tuberculosis regulates gene expression may provide clues for ways to interfere with the bacterium's survival. Gene expression encompasses transcription, mRNA degradation, and translation. Here, we used Mycobacterium smegmatis as a model organism to study how 5' untranslated regions affect these three facets of gene expression in multiple ways. We furthermore provide insight into the expression of leaderless mRNAs, which lack 5' untranslated regions and are unusually prevalent in mycobacteria.
Project description:Analysis of the Escherichia coli transcriptome identified a unique subset of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that contain a conventional untranslated leader and Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence upstream of the gene's start codon while also containing an AUG triplet at the mRNA's 5'- terminus (5'-uAUG). Fusion of the coding sequence specified by the 5'-terminal putative AUG start codon to a lacZ reporter gene, as well as primer extension inhibition assays, reveal that the majority of the 5'-terminal upstream open reading frames (5'-uORFs) tested support some level of lacZ translation, indicating that these mRNAs can function both as leaderless and canonical SD-leadered mRNAs. Although some of the uORFs were expressed at low levels, others were expressed at levels close to that of the respective downstream genes and as high as the naturally leaderless cI mRNA of bacteriophage ?. These 5'-terminal uORFs potentially encode peptides of varying lengths, but their functions, if any, are unknown. In an effort to determine whether expression from the 5'-terminal uORFs impact expression of the immediately downstream cistron, we examined expression from the downstream coding sequence after mutations were introduced that inhibit efficient 5'-uORF translation. These mutations were found to affect expression from the downstream cistrons to varying degrees, suggesting that some 5'-uORFs may play roles in downstream regulation. Since the 5'-uAUGs found on these conventionally leadered mRNAs can function to bind ribosomes and initiate translation, this indicates that canonical mRNAs containing 5'-uAUGs should be examined for their potential to function also as leaderless mRNAs.
Project description:It was long assumed that translation initiation in prokaryotes generally occurs via the so-called Shine Dalgarno (SD) mechanism. Recently, it became clear that translation initiation in prokaryotes is more heterogeneous. In the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, the majority of transcripts is leaderless and most transcripts with a 5'-UTR lack a SD motif. Nevertheless, a bioinformatic analysis predicted that 20-30% of all genes are preceded by a SD motif in haloarchaea. To analyze the importance of the SD mechanism for translation initiation in haloarchaea experimentally the monocistronic sod gene was chosen, which contains a 5'-UTR with an extensive SD motif of seven nucleotides and a length of 19 nt, the average length of 5'UTRs in this organism. A translational fusion of part of the sod gene with the dhfr reporter gene was constructed. A mutant series was generated that matched the SD motif from zero to eight positions, respectively. Surprisingly, there was no correlation between the base pairing ability between transcripts and 16S rRNA and translational efficiency in vivo under several different growth conditions. Furthermore, complete replacement of the SD motif by three unrelated sequences did not reduce translational efficiency. The results indicate that H. volcanii does not make use of the SD mechanism for translation initiation in 5'-UTRs. A genome analysis revealed that while the number of SD motifs in 5'-UTRs is rare, their fraction within open reading frames is high. Possible biological functions for intragenic SD motifs are discussed, including re-initiation of translation at distal genes in operons.
Project description:S1 is an 'atypical' ribosomal protein weakly associated with the 30S subunit that has been implicated in translation, transcription and control of RNA stability. S1 is thought to participate in translation initiation complex formation by assisting 30S positioning in the translation initiation region, but little is known about its role in other RNA transactions. In this work, we have analysed in vivo the effects of different intracellular S1 concentrations, from depletion to overexpression, on translation, decay and intracellular distribution of leadered and leaderless messenger RNAs (mRNAs). We show that the cspE mRNA, like the rpsO transcript, may be cleaved by RNase E at multiple sites, whereas the leaderless cspE transcript may also be degraded via an alternative pathway by an unknown endonuclease. Upon S1 overexpression, RNase E-dependent decay of both cspE and rpsO mRNAs is suppressed and these transcripts are stabilized, whereas cleavage of leaderless cspE mRNA by the unidentified endonuclease is not affected. Overall, our data suggest that ribosome-unbound S1 may inhibit translation and that part of the Escherichia coli ribosomes may actually lack S1.
Project description:Translation initiation (TI) allows accurate selection of the initiation codon on a messenger RNA (mRNA) and defines the reading frame. In all domains of life, translation initiation generally occurs within a macromolecular complex made up of the small ribosomal subunit, the mRNA, a specialized methionylated initiator tRNA, and translation initiation factors (IFs). Once the start codon is selected at the P site of the ribosome and the large subunit is associated, the IFs are released and a ribosome competent for elongation is formed. However, even if the general principles are the same in the three domains of life, the molecular mechanisms are different in bacteria, eukaryotes, and archaea and may also vary depending on the mRNA. Because TI mechanisms have evolved lately, their studies bring important information about the evolutionary relationships between extant organisms. In this context, recent structural data on ribosomal complexes and genome-wide studies are particularly valuable. This review focuses on archaeal translation initiation highlighting its relationships with either the eukaryotic or the bacterial world. Eukaryotic features of the archaeal small ribosomal subunit are presented. Ribosome evolution and TI mechanisms diversity in archaeal branches are discussed. Next, the use of leaderless mRNAs and that of leadered mRNAs having Shine-Dalgarno sequences is analyzed. Finally, the current knowledge on TI mechanisms of SD-leadered and leaderless mRNAs is detailed.
Project description:It is long known that Kasugamycin inhibits translation of canonical transcripts containing a 5'-UTR with a Shine Dalgarno (SD) motif, but not that of leaderless transcripts. To gain a global overview of the influence of Kasugamycin on translation efficiencies, the changes of the translatome of Escherichia coli induced by a 10 minutes Kasugamycin treatment were quantified. The effect of Kasugamycin differed widely, 102 transcripts were at least twofold more sensitive to Kasugamycin than average, and 137 transcripts were at least twofold more resistant, and there was a more than 100-fold difference between the most resistant and the most sensitive transcript. The 5'-ends of 19 transcripts were determined from treated and untreated cultures, but Kasugamycin resistance did neither correlate with the presence or absence of a SD motif, nor with differences in 5'-UTR lengths or GC content. RNA Structure Logos were generated for the 102 Kasugamycin-sensitive and for the 137 resistant transcripts. For both groups a short Shine Dalgarno (SD) motif was retrieved, but no specific motifs associated with resistance or sensitivity could be found. Notably, this was also true for the region -3 to -1 upstream of the start codon and the presence of an extended SD motif, which had been proposed to result in Kasugamycin resistance. Comparison of the translatome results with the database RegulonDB showed that the transcript with the highest resistance was leaderless, but no further leaderless transcripts were among the resistant transcripts. Unexpectedly, it was found that translational coupling might be a novel feature that is associated with Kasugamycin resistance. Taken together, Kasugamycin has a profound effect on translational efficiencies of E. coli transcripts, but the mechanism of action is different than previously described.
Project description:The bacteriostatic aminoglycoside antibiotic kasugamycin inhibits protein synthesis at an initial step without affecting translation elongation. It binds to the mRNA track of the ribosome and prevents formation of the translation initiation complex on canonical mRNAs. In contrast, translation of leaderless mRNAs continues in the presence of the drug in vivo. Previously, we have shown that kasugamycin treatment in E. coli stimulates the formation of protein-depleted ribosomes that are selective for leaderless mRNAs. Here, we provide evidence that prolonged kasugamycin treatment leads to selective synthesis of specific proteins. Our studies indicate that leaderless and short-leadered mRNAs are generated by different molecular mechanisms including alternative transcription and RNA processing. Moreover, we provide evidence for ribosome heterogeneity in response to kasugamycin treatment by alteration of the modification status of the stalk proteins bL7/L12.