Thiamine biosynthesis in algae is regulated by riboswitches.
ABSTRACT: In bacteria, many genes involved in the biosynthesis of cofactors such as thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) are regulated by ribo switches, regions in the 5' end of mRNAs to which the cofactor binds, thereby affecting translation and/or transcription. TPP riboswitches have now been identified in fungi, in which they alter mRNA splicing. Here, we show that addition of thiamine to cultures of the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii alters splicing of transcripts for the THI4 and THIC genes, encoding the first enzymes of the thiazole and pyrimidine branches of thiamine biosynthesis, respectively, concomitant with an increase in intracellular thiamine and TPP levels. Comparison with Volvox carteri, a related alga, revealed highly conserved regions within introns of these genes. Inspection of the sequences identified TPP riboswitch motifs, and RNA transcribed from the regions binds TPP in vitro. The THI4 riboswitch, but not the promoter region, was found to be necessary and sufficient for thiamine to repress expression of a luciferase-encoding reporter construct in vivo. The pyr1 mutant of C. reinhardtii, which is resistant to the thiamine analogue pyrithiamine, has a mutation in the THI4 riboswitch that prevents the THI4 gene from being repressed by TPP. By the use of these ribo switches, thiamine biosynthesis in C. reinhardtii can be effectively regulated at physiological concentrations of the vitamin.
Project description:Riboswitches are conserved regions within mRNA molecules that bind specific metabolites and regulate gene expression. TPP-riboswitches, which respond to thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), are involved in the regulation of thiamine metabolism in numerous bacteria. As these regulatory RNAs are often modulating essential biosynthesis pathways they have become increasingly interesting as promising antibacterial targets. Here, we describe thiamine analogs containing a central 1,2,3-triazole group to induce repression of thiM-riboswitch dependent gene expression in different E. coli strains. Additionally, we show that compound activation is dependent on proteins involved in the metabolic pathways of thiamine uptake and synthesis. The most promising molecule, triazolethiamine (TT), shows concentration dependent reporter gene repression that is dependent on the presence of thiamine kinase ThiK, whereas the effect of pyrithiamine (PT), a known TPP-riboswitch modulator, is ThiK independent. We further show that this dependence can be bypassed by triazolethiamine-derivatives that bear phosphate-mimicking moieties. As triazolethiamine reveals superior activity compared to pyrithiamine, it represents a very promising starting point for developing novel antibacterial compounds that target TPP-riboswitches. Riboswitch-targeting compounds engage diverse endogenous mechanisms to attain in vivo activity. These findings are of importance for the understanding of compounds that require metabolic activation to achieve effective riboswitch modulation and they enable the design of novel compound generations that are independent of endogenous activation mechanisms.
Project description:Riboswitches are RNA regulatory elements that bind specific ligands to control gene expression. Because of their modular composition, where a ligand-sensing aptamer domain is combined with an expression platform, riboswitches offer unique tools for synthetic biology applications. Here we took a mutational approach to determine functionally important nucleotide residues in the thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitch in the THI4 gene of the model alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, allowing us to carry out aptamer swap using THIC aptamers from Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis thaliana. These chimeric riboswitches displayed a distinct specificity and dynamic range of responses to different ligands. Our studies demonstrate ease of assembly as 5'UTR DNA parts, predictability of output, and utility for controlled production of a high-value compound in Chlamydomonas. The simplicity of riboswitch incorporation in current design platforms will facilitate the generation of genetic circuits to advance synthetic biology and metabolic engineering of microalgae.
Project description:Thiamine biosynthesis is commonly regulated by a riboswitch mechanism; however, the enzymatic steps and regulation of this pathway in archaea are poorly understood. Haloferax volcanii, one of the representative archaea, uses a eukaryote-like Thi4 (thiamine thiazole synthase) for the production of the thiazole ring and condenses this ring with a pyrimidine moiety synthesized by an apparent bacterium-like ThiC (2-methyl-4-amino-5-hydroxymethylpyrimidine [HMP] phosphate synthase) branch. Here we found that archaeal Thi4 and ThiC were encoded by leaderless transcripts, ruling out a riboswitch mechanism. Instead, a novel ThiR transcription factor that harbored an N-terminal helix-turn-helix (HTH) DNA binding domain and C-terminal ThiN (TMP synthase) domain was identified. In the presence of thiamine, ThiR was found to repress the expression of thi4 and thiC by a DNA operator sequence that was conserved across archaeal phyla. Despite having a ThiN domain, ThiR was found to be catalytically inactive in compensating for the loss of ThiE (TMP synthase) function. In contrast, bifunctional ThiDN, in which the ThiN domain is fused to an N-terminal ThiD (HMP/HMP phosphate [HMP-P] kinase) domain, was found to be interchangeable for ThiE function and, thus, active in thiamine biosynthesis. A conserved Met residue of an extended ?-helix near the active-site His of the ThiN domain was found to be important for ThiDN catalytic activity, whereas the corresponding Met residue was absent and the ?-helix was shorter in ThiR homologs. Thus, we provide new insight into residues that distinguish catalytic from noncatalytic ThiN domains and reveal that thiamine biosynthesis in archaea is regulated by a transcriptional repressor, ThiR, and not by a riboswitch.IMPORTANCE Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) is a cofactor needed for the enzymatic activity of many cellular processes, including central metabolism. In archaea, thiamine biosynthesis is an apparent chimera of eukaryote- and bacterium-type pathways that is not well defined at the level of enzymatic steps or regulatory mechanisms. Here we find that ThiN is a versatile domain of transcriptional repressors and catalytic enzymes of thiamine biosynthesis in archaea. Our study provides new insight into residues that distinguish catalytic from noncatalytic ThiN domains and reveals that archaeal thiamine biosynthesis is regulated by a ThiN domain transcriptional repressor, ThiR, and not by a riboswitch.
Project description:Thiamin (vitamin B1) is an essential micronutrient needed as a cofactor for many central metabolic enzymes. Animals must have thiamin in their diet, whereas bacteria, fungi, and plants can biosynthesize it de novo from the condensation of a thiazole and a pyrimidine moiety. Although the routes to biosynthesize these two heterocycles are not conserved in different organisms, in all cases exogenous thiamin represses expression of one or more of the biosynthetic pathway genes. One important mechanism for this control is via thiamin-pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitches, regions of the mRNA to which TPP can bind directly, thus facilitating fine-tuning to maintain homeostasis. However, there is little information on how modulation of riboswitches affects thiamin metabolism in vivo. Here we use the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which regulates both thiazole and pyrimidine biosynthesis with riboswitches in the THI4 (Thiamin 4) and THIC (Thiamin C) genes, respectively, to investigate this question. Our study reveals that regulation of thiamin metabolism is not the simple dogma of negative feedback control. Specifically, balancing the provision of both of the heterocycles of TPP appears to be an important requirement. Furthermore, we show that the Chlamydomonas THIC riboswitch is controlled by hydroxymethylpyrimidine pyrophosphate, as well as TPP, but with an identical alternative splicing mechanism. Similarly, the THI4 gene is responsive to thiazole. The study not only provides insight into the plasticity of the TPP riboswitches but also shows that their maintenance is likely to be a consequence of evolutionary need as a function of the organisms' environment and the particular pathway used.
Project description:Riboswitches are metabolite-sensing RNAs, typically located in the non-coding portions of messenger RNAs, that control the synthesis of metabolite-related proteins. Here we describe a 2.05 angstroms crystal structure of a riboswitch domain from the Escherichia coli thiM mRNA that responds to the coenzyme thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP). TPP is an active form of vitamin B1, an essential participant in many protein-catalysed reactions. Organisms from all three domains of life, including bacteria, plants and fungi, use TPP-sensing riboswitches to control genes responsible for importing or synthesizing thiamine and its phosphorylated derivatives, making this riboswitch class the most widely distributed member of the metabolite-sensing RNA regulatory system. The structure reveals a complex folded RNA in which one subdomain forms an intercalation pocket for the 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine moiety of TPP, whereas another subdomain forms a wider pocket that uses bivalent metal ions and water molecules to make bridging contacts to the pyrophosphate moiety of the ligand. The two pockets are positioned to function as a molecular measuring device that recognizes TPP in an extended conformation. The central thiazole moiety is not recognized by the RNA, which explains why the antimicrobial compound pyrithiamine pyrophosphate targets this riboswitch and downregulates the expression of thiamine metabolic genes. Both the natural ligand and its drug-like analogue stabilize secondary and tertiary structure elements that are harnessed by the riboswitch to modulate the synthesis of the proteins coded by the mRNA. In addition, this structure provides insight into how folded RNAs can form precision binding pockets that rival those formed by protein genetic factors.
Project description:Riboswitches are RNA sensors affecting post-transcriptional processes through their ability to bind to small molecules. Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitch plays a crucial role in regulating genes involved in synthesizing or transporting thiamine and phosphorylated derivatives in bacteria, archaea, plants, and fungi. Although TPP riboswitch is reasonably well known in bacteria, there is a gap in the knowledge of the fungal TPP riboswitches structure and dynamics, involving mainly sequence variation and TPP interaction with the aptamers. On the other hand, the increase of fungal infections and antifungal resistance raises the need for new antifungal therapies. In this work, we used computational approaches to build three-dimensional models for the three TPP riboswitches identified in <i>Aspergillus oryzae</i>, in which we studied their structure, dynamics, and binding free energy change (ΔG<sub>bind</sub>) with TPP. Interaction patterns between the TPP and the surrounding nucleotides were conserved among the three models, evidencing high structural conservation. Furthermore, we show that the TPP riboswitch from the <i>A. oryzae</i> NMT1 gene behaves similarly to the <i>E. coli</i> thiA gene concerning the ΔG<sub>bind</sub>. In contrast, mutations in the fungal TPP riboswitches from THI4 and the nucleoside transporter genes led to structural differences, affecting the binding-site volume, hydrogen bond occupancy, and ΔG<sub>bind</sub>. Besides, the number of water molecules surrounding TPP influenced the ΔG<sub>bind</sub> considerably. Notably, our ΔG<sub>bind</sub> estimation agreed with previous experimental data, reinforcing the relationship between sequence conservation and TPP interaction.
Project description:Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), a biologically active form of thiamine (vitamin B?), is an essential cofactor in all living systems. Microorganisms either synthesize TPP via de novo biosynthesis pathways or uptake exogenous thiamine from the environment via specific transporters. The oral spirochete Treponema denticola is an important pathogen that is associated with human periodontal diseases. It lacks a de novo TPP biosynthesis pathway and needs exogenous TPP for growth, suggesting that it may obtain exogenous TPP via a thiamine transporter. In this study, we identified a gene cluster that encodes a TPP ABC transporter which consists of a TPP-binding protein (TDE0143), a transmembrane permease (TDE0144), and a cytosolic ATPase (TDE0145). Transcriptional and translational analyses showed that the genes encoding these three proteins are cotranscribed and form an operon (tbpABC(Td)) that is initiated by a ???-like promoter. The expression level of this operon is negatively regulated by exogenous TPP and is mediated by a TPP-sensing riboswitch (Td(thi-)(box)). Genetic and biochemical studies revealed that the TDE0143 deletion mutant (T. denticola ?tbpA) had a decreased ability to transport exogenous TPP, and the mutant failed to grow when exogenous TPP was insufficient. These results taken together indicate that the tbpABC(Td) operon encodes an ABC transporter that is required for the uptake of exogenous TPP and that the expression of this operon is regulated by a TPP-binding riboswitch via a feedback inhibition mechanism.
Project description:Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitches regulate thiamine metabolism by inhibiting the translation of enzymes essential to thiamine synthesis pathways upon binding to thiamine pyrophosphate in cells across all domains of life. Recent work on the Arabidopsis thaliana TPP riboswitch suggests a multi-step TPP binding process involving multiple riboswitch configurational ensembles and that Mg2+ dependence underlies the mechanism of TPP recognition and subsequent transition to the expression-inhibiting state of the aptamer domain followed by changes in the expression platform. However, details of the relationship between TPP riboswitch conformational changes and interactions with TPP and Mg2+ ¬¬in the aptamer domain constituting this mechanism are unknown. Therefore, we integrated single-molecule multiparameter fluorescence and force spectroscopy with atomistic molecular dynamics simulations and found that conformational transitions within the aptamer domain's sensor helices associated with TPP and Mg2+ ligand binding occurred between at least five different ensembles on timescales ranging from µs to ms. These dynamics are orders of magnitude faster than the 10 second-timescale folding kinetics associated with expression-state switching in the switch sequence. Together, our results show that a TPP and Mg2+ dependent mechanism determines dynamic configurational state ensemble switching of the aptamer domain's sensor helices that regulates the stability of the switch helix, which ultimately may lead to the expression-inhibiting state of the riboswitch. Additionally, we propose that two pathways exist for ligand recognition and that this mechanism underlies a kinetic rheostat-like behavior of the Arabidopsis thaliana TPP riboswitch.
Project description:Riboswitches are non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by binding to specific ligands. They are primarily found in bacteria. However, one riboswitch type, the thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitch, has also been described in some plants, marine protists and fungi. We find that riboswitches are widespread in the budding yeasts (Saccharomycotina), and they are most common in homologs of DUR31, originally described as a spermidine transporter. We show that DUR31 (an ortholog of N. crassa gene NCU01977) encodes a thiamin transporter in Candida species. Using an RFP/riboswitch expression system, we show that the functional elements of the riboswitch are contained within the native intron of DUR31 from Candida parapsilosis, and that the riboswitch regulates splicing in a thiamin-dependent manner when RFP is constitutively expressed. The DUR31 gene has been lost from Saccharomyces, and may have been displaced by an alternative thiamin transporter. TPP riboswitches are also present in other putative transporters in yeasts and filamentous fungi. However, they are rare in thiamin biosynthesis genes THI4 and THI5 in the Saccharomycotina, and have been lost from all genes in the sequenced species in the family Saccharomycetaceae, including S. cerevisiae.
Project description:Vitamin B1 (thiamine pyrophosphate, TPP) is essential to all life but scarce in ocean surface waters. In many bacteria and a few eukaryotic groups thiamine biosynthesis genes are controlled by metabolite-sensing mRNA-based gene regulators known as riboswitches. Using available genome sequences and transcriptomes generated from ecologically important marine phytoplankton, we identified 31 new eukaryotic riboswitches. These were found in alveolate, cryptophyte, haptophyte and rhizarian phytoplankton as well as taxa from two lineages previously known to have riboswitches (green algae and stramenopiles). The predicted secondary structures bear hallmarks of TPP-sensing riboswitches. Surprisingly, most of the identified riboswitches are affiliated with genes of unknown function, rather than characterized thiamine biosynthesis genes. Using qPCR and growth experiments involving two prasinophyte algae, we show that expression of these genes increases significantly under vitamin B1-deplete conditions relative to controls. Pathway analyses show that several algae harboring the uncharacterized genes lack one or more enzymes in the known TPP biosynthesis pathway. We demonstrate that one such alga, the major primary producer Emiliania huxleyi, grows on 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (a thiamine precursor moiety) alone, although long thought dependent on exogenous sources of thiamine. Thus, overall, we have identified riboswitches in major eukaryotic lineages not known to undergo this form of gene regulation. In these phytoplankton groups, riboswitches are often affiliated with widespread thiamine-responsive genes with as yet uncertain roles in TPP pathways. Further, taxa with 'incomplete' TPP biosynthesis pathways do not necessarily require exogenous vitamin B1, making vitamin control of phytoplankton blooms more complex than the current paradigm suggests.