Electrostatics in the ribosomal tunnel modulate chain elongation rates.
ABSTRACT: Electrostatic potentials along the ribosomal exit tunnel are nonuniform and negative. The significance of electrostatics in the tunnel remains relatively uninvestigated, yet they are likely to play a role in translation and secondary folding of nascent peptides. To probe the role of nascent peptide charges in ribosome function, we used a molecular tape measure that was engineered to contain different numbers of charged amino acids localized to known regions of the tunnel and measured chain elongation rates. Positively charged arginine or lysine sequences produce transient arrest (pausing) before the nascent peptide is fully elongated. The rate of conversion from transiently arrested to full-length nascent peptide is faster for peptides containing neutral or negatively charged residues than for those containing positively charged residues. We provide experimental evidence that extraribosomal mechanisms do not account for this charge-specific pausing. We conclude that pausing is due to charge-specific interactions between the tunnel and the nascent peptide.
Project description:Despite decades of research on the bacterial ribosome, the ribosomal exit tunnel is still poorly understood. Although it has been suggested that the exit tunnel is simply a convenient route of egress for the nascent chain, specific protein sequences serve to slow the rate of translation, suggesting some degree of interaction between the nascent peptide chain and the exit tunnel. To understand how the ribosome interacts with nascent peptide sequences, we synthesized and characterized a novel class of probe molecules. These peptide-macrolide (or "peptolide") conjugates were designed to present unique peptide sequences to the exit tunnel. Biochemical and X-ray structural analyses of the interactions between these probes and the ribosome reveal interesting insights about the exit tunnel. Using translation inhibition and RNA structure probing assays, we find the exit tunnel has a relaxed preference for the directionality (N ? C or C ? N orientation) of the nascent peptides. Moreover, the X-ray crystal structure of one peptolide derived from a positively charged, reverse Nuclear Localization Sequence peptide, bound to the 70S bacterial ribosome, reveals that the macrolide ring of the peptolide binds in the same position as other macrolides. However, the peptide tail folds over the macrolide ring, oriented toward the peptidyl transferase center and interacting in a novel manner with 23S rRNA residue C2442 and His69 of ribosomal protein L4. These data suggest that these peptolides are viable probes for interrogating nascent peptide-exit tunnel interaction.
Project description:As proteins are synthesized, the nascent polypeptide must pass through a negatively charged exit tunnel. During this stage, positively charged stretches can interact with the ribosome walls and slow the translation. Therefore, charged polypeptides may be important factors that affect protein expression. To determine the frequency and distribution of positively and negatively charged stretches in different proteomes, the net charge was calculated for every 30 consecutive amino acid residues, which corresponds to the length of the ribosome exit tunnel. The following annotated and reviewed proteins in the UniProt database (Swiss-Prot) were analyzed: 551,705 proteins from different organisms and a total of 180 million protein segments. We observed that there were more negative than positive stretches and that super-charged positive sequences (i.e., net charges ? 14) were underrepresented in the proteomes. Overall, the proteins were more positively charged at their N-termini and C-termini, and this feature was present in most organisms and subcellular localizations. To investigate whether the N-terminal charges affect the elongation rates, previously published ribosomal profiling data obtained from S. cerevisiae, without translation-interfering drugs, were analyzed. We observed a nonlinear effect of the charge on the ribosome occupancy in which values ? +5 and ? -6 showed increased and reduced ribosome densities, respectively. These groups also showed different distributions across 80S monosomes and polysomes. Basic polypeptides are more common within short proteins that are translated by monosomes, whereas negative stretches are more abundant in polysome-translated proteins. These findings suggest that the nascent peptide charge impacts translation and can be one of the factors that regulate translation efficiency and protein expression.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>During protein synthesis, the nascent peptide chain emerges from the ribosome through the ribosomal exit tunnel. Biochemical interactions between the nascent peptide and the tunnel may stall the ribosome movement and thus affect the expression level of the protein being synthesized. Earlier studies focused on one model organism (S. cerevisiae), have suggested that certain amino acid sequences may be responsible for ribosome stalling; however, the stalling effect at the individual amino acid level across many organisms has not yet been quantified.<h4>Results</h4>By analyzing multiple ribosome profiling datasets from different organisms (including prokaryotes and eukaryotes), we report for the first time the organism-specific amino acids that significantly lead to ribosome stalling. We show that the identity of the stalling amino acids vary across the tree of life. In agreement with previous studies, we observed a remarkable stalling signal of proline and arginine in S. cerevisiae. In addition, our analysis supports the conjecture that the stalling effect of positively charged amino acids is not universal and that in certain conditions, negative charge may also induce ribosome stalling. Finally, we show that the beginning part of the tunnel tends to undergo more interactions with the translated amino acids than other positions along the tunnel.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The reported results support the conjecture that the ribosomal exit tunnel interacts with various amino acids and that the nature of these interactions varies among different organisms. Our findings should contribute towards better understanding of transcript and proteomic evolution and translation elongation regulation.
Project description:A number of regulatory nascent peptides have been shown to regulate gene expression by causing programmed ribosome stalling during translation. Nascent peptide emerges from the ribosome through the exit tunnel, and one-third of the way along which ?-loop structures of ribosomal proteins uL4 and uL22 protrude into the tunnel to form the constriction region. Structural studies have shown interactions between nascent peptides and the exit tunnel components including the constriction region. In eukaryotes, however, there is a lack of genetic studies for the involvement of the constriction region in ribosome stalling. Here, we established transgenic Arabidopsis lines that carry mutations in the ?-loop structure of uL4. Translation analyses using a cell-free translation system derived from the transgenic Arabidopsis carrying the mutant ribosome showed that the uL4 mutations reduced the ribosome stalling of four eukaryotic stalling systems, including those for which stalled structures have been solved. Our data, which showed differential effects of the uL4 mutations depending on the stalling systems, explained the spatial allocations of the nascent peptides at the constriction that were deduced by structural studies. Conversely, our data may predict allocation of the nascent peptide at the constriction of stalling systems for which structural studies are not done.
Project description:The traditional view of macrolide antibiotics as plugs inside the ribosomal nascent peptide exit tunnel (NPET) has lately been challenged in favor of a more complex, heterogeneous mechanism, where drug-peptide interactions determine the fate of a translating ribosome. To investigate these highly dynamic processes, we applied single-molecule tracking of elongating ribosomes during inhibition of elongation by erythromycin of several nascent chains, including ErmCL and H-NS, which were shown to be, respectively, sensitive and resistant to erythromycin. Peptide sequence-specific changes were observed in translation elongation dynamics in the presence of a macrolide-obstructed NPET. Elongation rates were not severely inhibited in general by the presence of the drug; instead, stalls or pauses were observed as abrupt events. The dynamic pathways of nascent-chain-dependent elongation pausing in the presence of macrolides determine the fate of the translating ribosome stalling or readthrough.
Project description:Nascent-peptide modulation of translation is a common regulatory mechanism of gene expression. In this mechanism, while the nascent peptide is still in the exit tunnel of the ribosome, it induces translational pausing, thereby controlling the expression of downstream genes. One example is SecM, which inhibits peptide-bond formation in the ribosome's peptidyl transferase center (PTC) during its own translation, upregulating the expression of the protein translocase SecA. Although biochemical experiments and cryo-electron microscopy data have led to the identification of some residues involved in SecM recognition, the full pathway of interacting residues that connect SecM to the PTC through the ribosome has not yet been conclusively established. Here, using the cryo-electron microscopy data, we derived the first (to our knowledge) atomic model of the SecM-stalled ribosome via molecular-dynamics flexible fitting, complete with P- and A-site tRNAs. Subsequently, we carried out simulations of native and mutated SecM-stalled ribosomes to investigate possible interaction pathways between a critical SecM residue, R163, and the PTC. In particular, the simulations reveal the role of SecM in altering the position of the tRNAs in the ribosome, and thus demonstrate how the presence of SecM in the exit tunnel induces stalling. Finally, steered molecular-dynamics simulations in which SecM was pulled toward the tunnel exit suggest how SecA interacting with SecM from outside the ribosome relieves stalling.
Project description:Translation arrest directed by nascent peptides and small cofactors controls expression of important bacterial and eukaryotic genes, including antibiotic resistance genes, activated by binding of macrolide drugs to the ribosome. Previous studies suggested that specific interactions between the nascent peptide and the antibiotic in the ribosomal exit tunnel play a central role in triggering ribosome stalling. However, here we show that macrolides arrest translation of the truncated ErmDL regulatory peptide when the nascent chain is only three amino acids and therefore is too short to be juxtaposed with the antibiotic. Biochemical probing and molecular dynamics simulations of erythromycin-bound ribosomes showed that the antibiotic in the tunnel allosterically alters the properties of the catalytic center, thereby predisposing the ribosome for halting translation of specific sequences. Our findings offer a new view on the role of small cofactors in the mechanism of translation arrest and reveal an allosteric link between the tunnel and the catalytic center of the ribosome.
Project description:The evolution of the genetic code is mapped out starting with the aminoacyl tRNA-synthetases and their interaction with the operational code in the tRNA acceptor arm. Combining this operational code with a metric based on the biosynthesis of amino acids from the Citric acid, we come to the conclusion that the earliest genetic code was a Guanine Cytosine (GC) code. This has implications for the likely earliest positively charged amino acids. The progression from this pure GC code to the extant one is traced out in the evolution of the Large Ribosomal Subunit, LSU, and its proteins; in particular those associated with the Peptidyl Transfer Center (PTC) and the nascent peptide exit tunnel. This progression has implications for the earliest encoded peptides and their evolutionary progression into full complex proteins.
Project description:Protein biosynthesis is inherently coupled to cotranslational protein folding. Folding of the nascent chain already occurs during synthesis and is mediated by spatial constraints imposed by the ribosomal exit tunnel as well as self-interactions. The polypeptide's vectorial emergence from the ribosomal tunnel establishes the possible folding pathways leading to its native tertiary structure. How cotranslational protein folding and the rate of synthesis are linked to a protein's amino acid sequence is still not well defined. Here, we follow synthesis by individual ribosomes using dual-trap optical tweezers and observe simultaneous folding of the nascent polypeptide chain in real time. We show that observed stalling during translation correlates with slowed peptide bond formation at successive proline sequence positions and electrostatic interactions between positively charged amino acids and the ribosomal tunnel. We also determine possible cotranslational folding sites initiated by hydrophobic collapse for an unstructured and two globular proteins while directly measuring initial cotranslational folding forces. Our study elucidates the intricate relationship among a protein's amino acid sequence, its cotranslational nascent-chain elongation rate, and folding.
Project description:The antibiotic activity of erythromycin, which reversibly binds to a site within the bacterial ribosome exit tunnel, against many gram positive microorganisms indicates that it effectively inhibits the production of proteins. Similar to other macrolides, the activity of erythromycin is far from universal, as some peptides can bypass the macrolide-obstructed exit tunnel and become partially or fully synthesized. It is unclear why, at the molecular level, some proteins can be synthesized while others cannot. Here, we use steered molecular dynamics simulations to examine how erythromycin inhibits synthesis of the peptide ErmCL but not the peptide H-NS. By pulling these peptides through the exit tunnel of the E.coli ribosome with and without erythromycin present, we find that erythromycin directly interacts with both nascent peptides, but the force required for ErmCL to bypass erythromycin is greater than that of H-NS. The largest forces arise three to six residues from their N-terminus as they start to bypass Erythromycin. Decomposing the interaction energies between erythromycin and the peptides at this point, we find that there are stronger electrostatic and dispersion interactions with the more C-terminal residues of ErmCL than with H-NS. These results suggest that erythromycin slows or stalls synthesis of ErmCL compared to H-NS due to stronger interactions with particular residue positions along the nascent protein.