RET1-catalyzed uridylylation shapes the mitochondrial transcriptome in Trypanosoma brucei.
ABSTRACT: RNA uridylylation is critical for the expression of the mitochondrial genome in trypanosomes. Short U tails are added to guide RNAs and rRNAs, while long A/U heteropolymers mark 3' ends of most mRNAs. Three divergent mitochondrial terminal uridylyl transferases (TUTases) are known: RET1 catalyzes guide RNA (gRNA) uridylylation, RET2 executes U insertion mRNA editing, and MEAT1 associates with the editosome-like complex. However, the activities responsible for 3' uridylylation of rRNAs and mRNAs, and the roles of these modifications, are unclear. To dissect the functions of mitochondrial TUTases, we investigated the effects of their repression and overexpression on abundance, processing, 3'-end status, and in vivo stability of major mitochondrially encoded RNA classes. We show that RET1 adds U tails to gRNAs, rRNAs, and select mRNAs and contributes U's into A/U heteropolymers. Furthermore, RET1's TUTase activity is required for the nucleolytic processing of gRNA, rRNA, and mRNA precursors. The U tail's presence does not affect the stability of gRNAs and rRNAs, while transcript-specific uridylylation triggers 3' to 5' mRNA decay. We propose that the minicircle-encoded antisense transcripts, which are stabilized by RET1-catalyzed uridylylation, may direct a nucleolytic cleavage of multicistronic precursors.
Project description:The insertion and deletion of U residues at specific sites in mRNAs in trypanosome mitochondria is thought to involve 3' terminal uridylyl transferase (TUTase) activity. TUTase activity is also required to create the nonencoded 3' oligo[U] tails of the transacting guide RNAs (gRNAs). We have described two TUTases, RET1 (RNA editing TUTase 1) and RET2 (RNA editing TUTase 2) as components of different editing complexes. Tandem affinity purification-tagged Trypanosoma brucei RET2 (TbRET2) was expressed and localized to the cytosol in Leishmania tarentolae cells by removing the mitochondrial signal sequence. Double-affinity isolation yielded tagged TbRET2, together with a few additional proteins. This material exhibits a U-specific transferase activity in which a single U is added to the 3' end of a single-stranded RNA, thereby confirming that RET2 is a 3' TUTase. We also found that RNA interference of RET2 expression in T. brucei inhibits in vitro U-insertion editing and has no effect on the length of the 3' oligo[U] tails of the gRNAs, whereas down-regulation of RET1 has a minor effect on in vitro U-insertion editing, but produces a decrease in the average length of the oligo[U] tails. This finding suggests that RET2 is responsible for U-insertions at editing sites and RET1 is involved in gRNA 3' end maturation, which is essential for creating functional gRNAs. From these results we have functionally relabeled the previously described TUT-II complex containing RET1 as the guide RNA processing complex.
Project description:Terminal uridyltransferases (TUTases) execute 3' RNA uridylation across protists, fungi, metazoan and plant species. Uridylation plays a particularly prominent role in RNA processing pathways of kinetoplastid protists typified by the causative agent of African sleeping sickness, Trypanosoma brucei In mitochondria of this pathogen, most mRNAs are internally modified by U-insertion/deletion editing while guide RNAs and rRNAs are U-tailed. The founding member of TUTase family, RNA editing TUTase 1 (RET1), functions as a subunit of the 3' processome in uridylation of gRNA precursors and mature guide RNAs. Along with KPAP1 poly(A) polymerase, RET1 also participates in mRNA translational activation. RET1 is divergent from human TUTases and is essential for parasite viability in the mammalian host and the insect vector. Given its robust in vitro activity, RET1 represents an attractive target for trypanocide development. Here, we report high-resolution crystal structures of the RET1 catalytic core alone and in complex with UTP analogs. These structures reveal a tight docking of the conserved nucleotidyl transferase bi-domain module with a RET1-specific C2H2 zinc finger and RNA recognition (RRM) domains. Furthermore, we define RET1 region required for incorporation into the 3' processome, determinants for RNA binding, subunit oligomerization and processive UTP incorporation, and predict druggable pockets.
Project description:Terminal RNA uridylyltransferases (TUTases) are functionally and structurally diverse nucleotidyl transferases that catalyze template-independent 3' uridylylation of RNAs. Within the DNA polymerase beta-type superfamily, TUTases are closely related to non-canonical poly(A) polymerases. Studies of U-insertion/deletion RNA editing in mitochondria of trypanosomatids identified the first TUTase proteins and their cellular functions: post-transcriptional uridylylation of guide RNAs by RNA editing TUTase 1 (RET1) and U-insertion mRNA editing by RNA editing TUTase 2 (RET2). The editing TUTases possess conserved catalytic and nucleotide base recognition domains, yet differ in quaternary structure, substrate specificity and processivity. The cytosolic TUTases TUT3 and TUT4 have also been identified in trypanosomes but their biological roles remain to be established. Structural analyses have revealed a mechanism of cognate nucleoside triphosphate selection by TUTases, which includes protein-UTP contacts as well as contribution of the RNA substrate. This review focuses on biological functions and structures of trypanosomal TUTases.
Project description:In the mitochondria of trypanosomatids, the majority of mRNAs undergo massive uracil-insertion/deletion editing. Throughout the processes of pre-mRNA polyadenylation, guide RNA (gRNA) uridylylation and annealing to mRNA, and editing reactions, several multiprotein complexes must engage in transient interactions to produce a template for protein synthesis. Here, we report the identification of a protein complex essential for gRNA stability. The gRNA-binding complex (GRBC) interacts with gRNA processing, editing, and polyadenylation machineries and with the mitochondrial edited mRNA stability (MERS1) factor. RNAi knockdown of the core subunits, GRBC1 and GRBC2, led to the elimination of gRNAs, thus inhibiting mRNA editing. Inhibition of MERS1 expression selectively abrogated edited mRNAs. Homologous proteins unique to the order of Kinetoplastida, GRBC1 and GRBC2, form a stable 200 kDa particle that directly binds gRNAs. Systematic analysis of RNA-mediated and RNA-independent interactions involving the GRBC and MERS1 suggests a unified model for RNA processing in the kinetoplast mitochondria.
Project description:The complete sequences of three kinetoplast DNA minicircles (B4, D3 and D12) from Leishmania tarentolae are reported. All L. tarentolae minicircles encode single gRNAs localized within the variable region approximately 150 bp from the conserved region. The 5' termini and tentative 3' termini of the new gRNAs were determined and the gene sequences and flanking sequences of all minicircle gRNA genes compared for conserved motifs of possible transcriptional regulatory significance. All minicircle gRNAs possess 3' oligo-[U] tails of variable length similar to maxicircle gRNAs. A role for the D3 minicircle gRNA in the editing of the 5' pan-edited MURF4 mRNA was suggested by sequence analysis, and a role for the D12 minicircle gRNA in the editing of the COIII mRNA and another minicircle gRNA (Lt154) in the editing of the pan-edited G6 mRNA have been previously reported. The cryptogene mRNAs edited by the B4 and Lt19 minicircle gRNAs are yet undetermined.
Project description:The majority of trypanosomal mitochondrial pre-mRNAs undergo massive uridine insertion/deletion editing, which creates open reading frames. Although the pre-editing addition of short 3' A tails is known to stabilize transcripts during and after the editing, the processing event committing the fully edited mRNAs to translation remained unknown. Here, we show that a heterodimer of pentatricopeptide repeat-containing (PPR) proteins, termed kinetoplast polyadenylation/uridylation factors (KPAFs) 1 and 2, induces the postediting addition of A/U heteropolymers by KPAP1 poly(A) polymerase and RET1 terminal uridyltransferase. Edited transcripts bearing 200- to 300-nucleotide-long A/U tails, but not short A tails, were enriched in translating ribosomal complexes and affinity-purified ribosomal particles. KPAF1 repression led to a selective loss of A/U-tailed mRNAs and concomitant inhibition of protein synthesis. These results establish A/U extensions as the defining cis-elements of translation-competent mRNAs. Furthermore, we demonstrate that A/U-tailed mRNA preferentially interacts with the small ribosomal subunit, whereas edited substrates and complexes bind to the large subunit.
Project description:In kinetoplastid protozoa, mitochondrial (mt) mRNAs are post-transcriptionally edited by insertion and deletion of uridylate residues, the information being provided by guide (g)RNAs. Currently popular mechanisms for the editing process envisage a series of consecutive 'cut-and-paste' reactions, carried out by a complex RNP machinery. Here we report on the purification, cloning and functional analysis of two gRNA-binding proteins of 28.8 (gBP29) and 26.8 kDa (gBP27) from mitochondria of the insect trypanosome Crithidia fasciculata. gBP29 and gBP27 proved to be similar, Arg + Ala-rich proteins, with pI values of approximately 10.0. gBP27 has no homology to known proteins, but gBP29 is the C.fasciculata orthologue of gBP21 from Trypanosoma brucei, a gRNA-binding protein that associates with active RNA editing complexes. As measured in UV cross-linking assays, His-tagged recombinant gBP29 and gBP27 bind to radiolabelled poly(U) and synthetic gRNAs, while competition experiments suggest a role for the gRNA 3'-(U)-tail in binding to these proteins. Immunoprecipitates of mt extracts generated with antibodies against gBP29 also contained gBP27 and vice versa. The immunoprecipitates further harbored a large proportion of the cellular content of four different gRNAs and of edited and pre-edited NADH dehydrogenase subunit 7 mRNAs, but only small amounts of mt rRNAs. In addition, the bulk of gBP29 and gBP27 co-eluted with gRNAs from gel filtration columns in the high molecular weight range. Together, these results suggest that the proteins are part of a large macromolecular complex(es). We infer that gBP29 and gBP27 are components of the C.fasciculata editing machinery that may interact with gRNAs.
Project description:Expression of mitochondrial genomes in Kinetoplastida protists requires massive uracil insertion/deletion mRNA editing. The cascade of editing reactions is accomplished by a multiprotein complex, the 20S editosome, and is directed by trans-acting guide RNAs. Two distinct RNA terminal uridylyl transferases (TUTases), RNA Editing TUTase 1 (RET1) and RNA Editing TUTase 2 (RET2), catalyze 3' uridylylation of guide RNAs and U-insertions into the mRNAs, respectively. RET1 is also involved in mitochondrial mRNA turnover and participates in numerous heterogeneous complexes; RET2 is an integral part of the 20S editosome, in which it forms a U-insertion subcomplex with zinc finger protein MP81 and RNA editing ligase REL2. Here we report the identification of a third mitochondrial TUTase from Trypanosoma brucei. The mitochondrial editosome-like complex associated TUTase (MEAT1) interacts with a 20S editosome-like particle, effectively substituting the U-insertion subcomplex. MEAT1 and RET2 are mutually exclusive in their respective complexes, which otherwise share several components. Similarly to RET2, MEAT1 is exclusively U-specific in vitro and is active on gapped double-stranded RNA resembling editing substrates. However, MEAT1 does not require a 5' phosphate group on the 3' mRNA cleavage fragment produced by editing endonucleases. The functional RNAi complementation experiments showed that MEAT1 is essential for viability of bloodstream and insect parasite forms. The growth inhibition phenotype in the latter can be rescued by coexpressing an RNAi-resistant gene with double-stranded RNA targeting the endogenous transcript. However, preliminary RNA analysis revealed no gross effects on RNA editing in MEAT1-depleted cells and indicated its possible role in regulating the mitochondrial RNA stability.
Project description:In Trypanosoma brucei, two classes of transcripts are produced from two distinct mitochondrial genome components. Guide RNAs (gRNAs) are usually minicircle encoded and exist as primary transcripts, while the maxicircle-encoded rRNAs and mRNAs are processed from a polycistronic precursor. The genes for the gRNAs gMURF2-II and gCYb(560) each have uncommon kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) locations that are not typically associated with transcription initiation events. We demonstrate that the conserved maxicircle gRNA gMURF2-II has an unusual location within the ND4 gene. This is the first report of a completely intragenic gene in kDNA. In addition, the gMURF2-II and ND4 transcripts are generated by distinctly different events; the ND4 mRNA is processed from a polycistronic precursor, while transcription of the gRNA initiates downstream of the 5' end of the ND4 gene. The gCYb(560) gene has an atypical minicircle location in that it is not flanked by the inverted repeat sequences that surround the majority of minicircle gRNA genes. Our data indicate that the mature gCYb(560) gRNA is also a primary transcript and that the 5'-end heterogeneity previously observed for this gRNA is a result of multiple transcription initiation sites and not of imprecise 5'-end processing. Together, these data indicate that gRNA genes represent individual transcription units, regardless of their genomic context, and suggest a complex mechanism for mitochondrial gene expression in T. brucei.
Project description:RNA editing adds and removes uridines at specific sites in several mitochondrial transcripts in kinetoplastid parasites probably as specified by guide RNAs (gRNAs) that are complementary to the final edited sequence. Editing has been postulated to involve transesterification which predicts (1) chimeric molecules with a gRNA covalently attached by its non-encoded oligo U tail to an internal editing site in the mRNA and (2) the corresponding truncated 5' portions of the mRNAs. We have characterized cDNAs representing a large number of both types of intermediates from Trypanosoma brucei. The lengths of both U tails and encoded gRNA sequences vary greatly in length. The majority of encoded gRNA sequences are shorter than predicted based on their minicircle coding sequences. Analysis of the predominant sites of gRNA attachment in chimeras suggests that the transesterifications that religate the truncated 5' mRNAs may proceed more rapidly at editing sites at the 5' end of an editing domain and at sites of U deletion. Partially edited sequences in the mRNA portion of chimeras and at the 3' ends of truncated 5' mRNAs also indicate a non-consecutive order of site selection during RNA editing.