On the role of a conserved, potentially helix-breaking residue in the tRNA-binding alpha-helix of archaeal CCA-adding enzymes.
ABSTRACT: 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 synthesize and maintain the C-C-A sequence at the tRNA 3'-end, generating the attachment site for amino acids. While tRNAs are the most prominent substrates for this polymerase, CCA additions on non-tRNA transcripts are described as well. To identify general features for substrate requirement, a pool of randomized transcripts was incubated with the human CCA-adding enzyme. Most of the RNAs accepted for CCA addition carry an acceptor stem-like terminal structure, consistent with tRNA as the main substrate group for this enzyme. While these RNAs show no sequence conservation, the position upstream of the CCA end was in most cases represented by an adenosine residue. In tRNA, this position is described as discriminator base, an important identity element for correct aminoacylation. Mutational analysis of the impact of the discriminator identity on CCA addition revealed that purine bases (with a preference for adenosine) are strongly favoured over pyrimidines. Furthermore, depending on the tRNA context, a cytosine discriminator can cause a dramatic number of misincorporations during CCA addition. The data correlate with a high frequency of adenosine residues at the discriminator position observed in vivo. Originally identified as a prominent identity element for aminoacylation, this position represents a likewise important element for efficient and accurate CCA addition.
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 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:The CCA-adding enzyme [ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferase] adds CCA to the 3' ends of transfer RNAs (tRNAs), a critical step in tRNA biogenesis that generates the amino acid attachment site. We found that the CCA-adding enzyme plays a key role in tRNA quality control by selectively marking structurally unstable tRNAs and tRNA-like small RNAs for degradation. Instead of adding CCA to the 3' ends of these transcripts, CCA-adding enzymes from all three kingdoms of life add CCACCA. In addition, hypomodified mature tRNAs are subjected to CCACCA addition as part of a rapid tRNA decay pathway in vivo. We conjecture that CCACCA addition is a universal mechanism for controlling tRNA levels and preventing errors in translation.
Project description:The CCA-adding enzyme adds CCA to the 3' ends of transfer RNAs (tRNAs), a critical step in tRNA biogenesis that generates the amino acid attachment site. We found that the CCA-adding enzyme plays a key role in tRNA quality control by selectively marking unstable tRNAs and tRNA-like small RNAs for degradation. Instead of adding CCA to the 3' ends of these transcripts, CCA-adding enzymes from all three kingdoms of life add CCACCA. Here, we report deep sequencing analysis of the 3' ends of tRNA-Ser-CGA and tRNA-Ser-UGA from S. cerevisiae strains and show that hypomodified mature tRNAs are subjected to CCACCA (or poly(A) addition) as part of a rapid tRNA decay pathway in vivo. We conjecture that CCACCA addtion is a universal mechanism for controlling tRNA levels and preventing errors in translation. 121 samples analyzed in total, representing time courses of 10 different yeast strains; Biological replicates for each time point are included
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: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:Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are a family of enzymes responsible for the covalent link of amino acids to their cognate tRNAs. The selectivity and species-specificity in the recognitions of both amino acid and tRNA by aaRSs play a vital role in maintaining the fidelity of protein synthesis. We report here the first crystal structure of human tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (hTrpRS) in complex with tRNA(Trp) and Trp which, together with biochemical data, reveals the molecular basis of a novel tRNA binding and recognition mechanism. hTrpRS recognizes the tRNA acceptor arm from the major groove; however, the 3' end CCA of the tRNA makes a sharp turn to bind at the active site with a deformed conformation. The discriminator base A73 is specifically recognized by an alpha-helix of the unique N-terminal domain and the anticodon loop by an alpha-helix insertion of the C-terminal domain. The N-terminal domain appears to be involved in Trp activation, but not essential for tRNA binding and acylation. Structural and sequence comparisons suggest that this novel tRNA binding and recognition mechanism is very likely shared by other archaeal and eukaryotic TrpRSs, but not by bacterial TrpRSs. Our findings provide insights into the molecular basis of tRNA specificity and species-specificity.
Project description:Correct synthesis and maintenance of functional tRNA 3'-CCA-ends is a crucial prerequisite for aminoacylation and must be achieved by the phylogenetically diverse group of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. While numerous reports on the in vitro characterization exist, robust analysis under in vivo conditions is lacking. Here, we utilize Escherichia coli RNase T, a tRNA-processing enzyme responsible for the tRNA-CCA-end turnover, to generate an in vivo system for the evaluation of A-adding activity. Expression of RNase T results in a prominent growth phenotype that renders the presence of a CCA- or A-adding enzyme essential for cell survival in an E. coli ?cca background. The distinct growth fitness allows for both complementation and selection of enzyme variants in a natural environment. We demonstrate the potential of our system via detection of altered catalytic efficiency and temperature sensitivity. Furthermore, we select functional enzyme variants out of a sequence pool carrying a randomized codon for a highly conserved position essential for catalysis. The presented E. coli-based approach opens up a wide field of future studies including the investigation of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases from all domains of life and the biological relevance of in vitro data concerning their functionality and mode of operation.
Project description:For efficient aminoacylation, tRNAs carry the conserved 3'-terminal sequence C-C-A, which is synthesized by highly specific tRNA nucleotidyltransferases (CCA-adding enzymes). In several prokaryotes, this function is accomplished by separate enzymes for CC- and A-addition. As A-adding enzymes carry an N-terminal catalytic core identical to that of CCA-adding enzymes, it is unclear why their activity is restricted. Here, it is shown that C-terminal deletion variants of A-adding enzymes acquire full and precise CCA-incorporating activity. The deleted region seems to be responsible for tRNA primer selection, restricting the enzyme's specificity to tRNAs ending with CC. The data suggest that A-adding enzymes carry an intrinsic CCA-adding activity that can be reactivated by the introduction of deletions in the C-terminal domain. Furthermore, a unique subtype of CCA-adding enzymes could be identified that evolved out of A-adding enzymes, suggesting that mutations and deletions in nucleotidyltransferases can lead to altered and even more complex activities, as a simple A-incorporation is converted into sequence-specific addition of C and A residues. Such activity-modifying events may have had an important role in the evolution of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases.