Structural organization of box C/D RNA-guided RNA methyltransferase.
ABSTRACT: Box C/D guide RNAs are abundant noncoding RNAs that primarily function to direct the 2'-O-methylation of specific nucleotides by base-pairing with substrate RNAs. In archaea, a bipartite C/D RNA assembles with L7Ae, Nop5, and the methyltransferase fibrillarin into a modification enzyme with unique substrate specificity. Here, we determined the crystal structure of an archaeal C/D RNA-protein complex (RNP) composed of all 3 core proteins and an engineered half-guide RNA at 4 A resolution, as well as 2 protein substructures at higher resolution. The RNP structure reveals that the C-terminal domains of Nop5 in the dimeric complex provide symmetric anchoring sites for 2 L7Ae-associated kink-turn motifs of the C/D RNA. A prominent protrusion in Nop5 seems to be important for guide RNA organization and function and for discriminating the structurally related U4 snRNA. Multiple conformations of the N-terminal domain of Nop5 and its associated fibrillarin in different structures indicate the inherent flexibility of the catalytic module, suggesting that a swinging motion of the catalytic module is part of the enzyme mechanism. We also built a model of a native C/D RNP with substrate and fibrillarin in an active conformation. Our results provide insight into the overall organization and mechanism of action of C/D RNA-guided RNA methyltransferases.
Project description:Archaeal fibrillarin (aFib) is a well-characterized S-adenosyl methionine (SAM)-dependent RNA 2'-O-methyltransferase that is known to act in a large C/D ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex together with Nop5 and L7Ae proteins and a box C/D guide RNA. In the reaction, the guide RNA serves to direct the methylation reaction to a specific site in tRNA or rRNA by sequence complementarity. Here we show that a Pyrococcus abyssi aFib-Nop5 heterodimer can alone perform SAM-dependent 2'-O-methylation of 16S and 23S ribosomal RNAs in vitro independently of L7Ae and C/D guide RNAs. Using tritium-labeling, mass spectrometry, and reverse transcription analysis, we identified three in vitro 2'-O-methylated positions in the 16S rRNA of P. abyssi, positions lying outside of previously reported pyrococcal C/D RNP methylation sites. This newly discovered stand-alone activity of aFib-Nop5 may provide an example of an ancestral activity retained in enzymes that were recruited to larger complexes during evolution.
Project description:The genome of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus contains dozens of small C/D-box sRNAs that use a complementary guide sequence to target 2'-O-ribose methylation to specific locations within ribosomal and transfer RNAs. The sRNAs are approximately 50-60 nucleotides in length and contain two RNA structural kink-turn (K-turn) motifs that are required for assembly with ribosomal protein L7Ae, Nop5, and fibrillarin to form an active ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particle. The complex catalyzes guide-directed methylation to target RNAs. Earlier work in our laboratory has characterized the assembly pathway and methylation reaction using the model sR1 sRNA from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. This sRNA contains only one antisense region situated adjacent to the D-box, and methylation is directed to position U52 in 16S rRNA. Here we have investigated through RNA mutagenesis, the relationship between the sR1 structure and methylation-guide function. We show that although full activity of the guide requires intact C/D and C'/D' K-turn motifs, each structure plays a distinct role in the methylation reaction. The C/D motif is directly implicated in the methylation function, whereas the C'/D' element appears to play an indirect structural role by facilitating the correct folding of the RNA. Our results suggest that L7Ae facilitates the folding of the K-turn motifs (chaperone function) and, in addition, is required for methylation activity in the presence of Nop5 and Fib.
Project description:Box C/D small nucleolar and Cajal body ribonucleoprotein particles (sno/scaRNPs) direct site-specific 2'-O-methylation of ribosomal and spliceosomal RNAs and are critical for gene expression. Here we report crystal structures of an archaeal box C/D RNP containing three core proteins (fibrillarin, Nop56/58, and L7Ae) and a half-mer box C/D guide RNA paired with a substrate RNA. The structure reveals a guide-substrate RNA duplex orientation imposed by a composite protein surface and the conserved GAEK motif of Nop56/58. Molecular modeling supports a dual C/D RNP structure that closely mimics that recently visualized by electron microscopy. The substrate-bound dual RNP model predicts an asymmetric protein distribution between the RNP that binds and methylates the substrate RNA. The predicted asymmetric nature of the holoenzyme is consistent with previous biochemical data on RNP assembly and provides a simple solution for accommodating base-pairing between the C/D guide RNA and large ribosomal and spliceosomal substrate RNAs.
Project description:In archaea and eukarya, box C/D ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes are responsible for 2'-O-methylation of tRNAs and rRNAs. The archaeal box C/D small RNP complex requires a small RNA component (sRNA) possessing Watson-Crick complementarity to the target RNA along with three proteins: L7Ae, Nop5p, and fibrillarin. Transfer of a methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine to the target RNA is performed by fibrillarin, which by itself has no affinity for the sRNA-target duplex. Instead, it is targeted to the site of methylation through association with Nop5p, which in turn binds to the L7Ae-sRNA complex. To understand how Nop5p serves as a bridge between the targeting and catalytic functions of the box C/D small RNP complex, we have employed alanine scanning to evaluate the interaction between the Pyrococcus horikoshii Nop5p domain and an L7Ae box C/D RNA complex. From these data, we were able to construct an isolated RNA-binding domain (Nop-RBD) that folds correctly as demonstrated by x-ray crystallography and binds to the L7Ae box C/D RNA complex with near wild type affinity. These data demonstrate that the Nop-RBD is an autonomously folding and functional module important for protein assembly in a number of complexes centered on the L7Ae-kinkturn RNP.
Project description:Box C/D RNA-protein complexes (RNPs) guide the 2'-O-methylation of nucleotides in both archaeal and eukaryotic ribosomal RNAs. The archaeal box C/D and C'/D' RNP subcomplexes are each assembled with three sRNP core proteins. The archaeal Nop56/58 core protein mediates crucial protein-protein interactions required for both sRNP assembly and the methyltransferase reaction by bridging the L7Ae and fibrillarin core proteins. The interaction of Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (Mj) Nop56/58 with the methyltransferase fibrillarin has been investigated using site-directed mutagenesis of specific amino acids in the N-terminal domain of Nop56/58 that interacts with fibrillarin. Extensive mutagenesis revealed an unusually strong Nop56/58-fibrillarin interaction. Only deletion of the NTD itself prevented dimerization with fibrillarin. The extreme stability of the Nop56/58-fibrillarin heterodimer was confirmed in both chemical and thermal denaturation analyses. However, mutations that did not affect Nop56/58 binding to fibrillarin or sRNP assembly nevertheless disrupted sRNP-guided nucleotide modification, revealing a role for Nop56/58 in methyltransferase activity. This conclusion was supported with the cross-linking of Nop56/58 to the target RNA substrate. The Mj Nop56/58 NTD was further characterized by solving its three-dimensional crystal structure to a resolution of 1.7 Å. Despite low primary sequence conservation among the archaeal Nop56/58 homologs, the overall structure of the archaeal NTD domain is very well conserved. In conclusion, the archaeal Nop56/58 NTD exhibits a conserved domain structure whose exceptionally stable interaction with fibrillarin plays a role in both RNP assembly and methyltransferase activity.
Project description:L7Ae is a universal archaeal protein that recognizes and stabilizes kink-turn (k-turn) motifs in RNA substrates. These structural motifs are widespread in nature and are found in many functional RNA species, including ribosomal RNAs. Synthetic biology approaches utilize L7Ae/k-turn interactions to control gene expression in eukaryotes. Here, we present results of comprehensive RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (RIP-Seq) analysis of genomically tagged L7Ae from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius A large set of interacting noncoding RNAs was identified. In addition, several mRNAs, including the l7ae transcript, were found to contain k-turn motifs that facilitate L7Ae binding. In vivo studies showed that L7Ae autoregulates the translation of its mRNA by binding to a k-turn motif present in the 5' untranslated region (UTR). A green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter system was established in Escherichia coli and verified conservation of L7Ae-mediated feedback regulation in Archaea Mobility shift assays confirmed binding to a k-turn in the transcript of nop5-fibrillarin, suggesting that the expression of all C/D box sRNP core proteins is regulated by L7Ae. These studies revealed that L7Ae-mediated gene regulation evolved in archaeal organisms, generating new tools for the modulation of synthetic gene circuits in bacteria.IMPORTANCE L7Ae is an essential archaeal protein that is known to structure ribosomal RNAs and small RNAs (sRNAs) by binding to their kink-turn motifs. Here, we utilized RIP-Seq methodology to achieve a first global analysis of RNA substrates for L7Ae. Several novel interactions with noncoding RNA molecules (e.g., with the universal signal recognition particle RNA) were discovered. In addition, L7Ae was found to bind to mRNAs, including its own transcript's 5' untranslated region. This feedback-loop control is conserved in most archaea and was incorporated into a reporter system that was utilized to control gene expression in bacteria. These results demonstrate that L7Ae-mediated gene regulation evolved originally in archaeal organisms. The feedback-controlled reporter gene system can easily be adapted for synthetic biology approaches that require strict gene expression control.
Project description:2'-O-rRNA methylation, which is essential in eukaryotes and archaea, is catalysed by the Box C/D RNP complex in an RNA-guided manner. Despite the conservation of the methylation sites, the abundance of site-specific modifications shows variability across species and tissues, suggesting that rRNA methylation may provide a means of controlling gene expression. As all Box C/D RNPs are thought to adopt a similar structure, it remains unclear how the methylation efficiency is regulated. Here, we provide the first structural evidence that, in the context of the Box C/D RNP, the affinity of the catalytic module fibrillarin for the substrate-guide helix is dependent on the RNA sequence outside the methylation site, thus providing a mechanism by which both the substrate and guide RNA sequences determine the degree of methylation. To reach this result, we develop an iterative structure-calculation protocol that exploits the power of integrative structural biology to characterize conformational ensembles.
Project description:Among the large family of C/D methylation guide RNAs, the intron of euryarchaeal pre-tRNA(Trp) represents an outstanding specimen able to guide in cis, instead of in trans, two 2'-O-methylations in the pre-tRNA exons. Remarkably, both sites of methylation involve nucleotides within the bulge-helix-bulge (BHB) splicing motif, while the RNA-guided methylation and pre-tRNA splicing events depend on mutually exclusive RNA folding patterns. Using the three recombinant core proteins of archaeal C/D RNPs, we have analyzed in vitro RNP assembly of the pre-tRNA and tested its site-specific methylation activity. Recognition by L7Ae of hallmark K-turns at the C/D and C'/D' motifs appears as a crucial assembly step required for subsequent binding of a Nop5p-aFib heterodimer at each site. Unexpectedly, however, even without L7Ae but at a higher concentration of Nop5p-aFib, a substantially active RNP complex can still form, possibly reflecting the higher propensity of the cis-acting system to form guide RNA duplex(es) relative to classical trans- acting C/D RNA guides. Moreover, footprinting data of RNPs, consistent with Nop5p interacting with the non-canonical stem of the K-turn, suggest that binding of Nop5p-aFib to the pre-tRNA-L7Ae complex might direct transition from a splicing-competent structure to an RNA conformer displaying the guide RNA duplexes required for site-specific methylation.
Project description:Multiple RNA-guided pseudouridine synthases, H/ACA ribonucleoprotein particles (RNPs) which contain a guide RNA and four proteins, catalyze site-specific post-transcriptional isomerization of uridines into pseudouridines in substrate RNAs. In archaeal particles, the guide small RNA (sRNA) is anchored by the pseudouridine synthase aCBF5 and the ribosomal protein L7Ae. Protein aNOP10 interacts with both aCBF5 and L7Ae. The fourth protein, aGAR1, interacts with aCBF5 and enhances catalytic efficiency. Here, we compared the features of two H/ACA sRNAs, Pab21 and Pab91, from Pyrococcus abyssi. We found that aCBF5 binds much more weakly to Pab91 than to Pab21. Surprisingly, the Pab91 sRNP exhibits a higher catalytic efficiency than the Pab21 sRNP. We thus investigated the molecular basis of the differential efficiencies observed for the assembly and catalytic activity of the two enzymes. For this, we compared profiles of the extent of lead-induced cleavages in these sRNAs during a stepwise reconstitution of the sRNPs, and analyzed the impact of the absence of the aNOP10-L7Ae interaction. Such probing experiments indicated that the sRNAs undergo a series of conformational changes upon RNP assembly. These changes were also evaluated directly by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, a tool highly adapted to analyzing RNA conformational dynamics. In addition, our results reveal that the conformation of helix P1 formed at the base of the H/ACA sRNAs is optimized in Pab21 for efficient aCBF5 binding and RNP assembly. Moreover, P1 swapping improved the assembly of the Pab91 sRNP. Nonetheless, efficient aCBF5 binding probably also relies on the pseudouridylation pocket which is not optimized for high activity in the case of Pab21.
Project description:Box C/D RNAs guide site-specific 2'-O-methylation of RNAs in archaea and eukaryotes. The spacer regions between boxes C to D' and boxes C' to D contain the guide sequence that can form a stretch of base pairs with substrate RNAs. The lengths of spacer regions and guide-substrate duplexes are variable among C/D RNAs. In a previously determined structure of C/D ribonucleoprotein (RNP), a 12-nt-long spacer forms 10 bp with the substrate. How spacers and guide-substrate duplexes of other lengths are accommodated remains unknown. Here we analyze how the lengths of spacers and guide-substrate duplexes affect the modification activity and determine three structures of C/D RNPs assembled with different spacers and substrates. We show that the guide can only form a duplex of a maximum of 10 bp with the substrate during modification. Slightly shorter duplexes are tolerated, but longer duplexes must be unwound to fit into a capped protein channel for modification. Spacers with <12 nucleotides are defective, mainly because they cannot load the substrate in the active conformation. For spacers with >12 nucleotides, the excessive unpaired sequences near the box C/C' side are looped out. Our results provide insight into the substrate recognition mechanism of C/D RNA and refute the RNA-swapped model for dimeric C/D RNP.