How the CCA-adding enzyme selects adenine over cytosine at position 76 of tRNA.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:CCA-adding enzyme [ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferase], a template-independent RNA polymerase, adds the defined 'cytidine-cytidine-adenosine' sequence onto the 3' end of tRNA. The archaeal CCA-adding enzyme (class I) and eubacterial/eukaryotic CCA-adding enzyme (class II) show little amino acid sequence homology, but catalyze the same reaction in a defined fashion. Here, we present the crystal structures of the class I archaeal CCA-adding enzyme from Archaeoglobus fulgidus, and its complexes with CTP and ATP at 2.0, 2.0 and 2.7 A resolutions, respectively. The geometry of the catalytic carboxylates and the relative positions of CTP and ATP to a single catalytic site are well conserved in both classes of CCA-adding enzymes, whereas the overall architectures, except for the catalytic core, of the class I and class II CCA-adding enzymes are fundamentally different. Furthermore, the recognition mechanisms of substrate nucleotides and tRNA molecules are distinct between these two classes, suggesting that the catalytic domains of class I and class II enzymes share a common origin, and distinct substrate recognition domains have been appended to form the two presently divergent classes.
Project description:The last step in ribosome-catalyzed protein synthesis is the hydrolytic release of the newly formed polypeptide from the P-site bound tRNA. Hydrolysis of the ester link of the peptidyl-tRNA is stimulated normally by the binding of release factors (RFs). However, an unacylated tRNA or just CCA binding to the ribosomal A site can also stimulate deacylation under some nonphysiological conditions. Although the sequence of events is well described by biochemical studies, the structural basis of the mechanism underlying this process is not well understood. Two new structures of the large ribosomal subunit of Haloarcula marismortui complexed with a peptidyl-tRNA analog in the P site and two oligonucleotide mimics of unacylated tRNA, CCA and CA, in the A site show that the binding of either CA or CCA induces a very similar conformational change in the peptidyl-transferase center as induced by aminoacyl-CCA. However, only CCA positions a water molecule appropriately to attack the carbonyl carbon of the peptidyl-tRNA and stabilizes the proper orientation of the ester link for hydrolysis. We, thus, conclude that both the ability of the O3'-hydroxyl group of the A-site A76 to position the water and the A-site CCA induced conformational change of the PTC are critical for the catalysis of the deacylation of the peptidyl-tRNA by CCA, and perhaps, an analogous mechanism is used by RFs.
Project description:Dictyostelium discoideum, the model organism for the evolutionary supergroup of Amoebozoa, is a social amoeba that, upon starvation, undergoes transition from a unicellular to a multicellular organism. In its genome, we identified two genes encoding for tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Such pairs of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases usually represent collaborating partial activities catalyzing CC- and A-addition to the tRNA 3'-end, respectively. In D. discoideum, however, both enzymes exhibit identical activities, representing bona-fide CCA-adding enzymes. Detailed characterization of the corresponding activities revealed that both enzymes seem to be essential and are regulated inversely during different developmental stages of D. discoideum. Intriguingly, this is the first description of two functionally equivalent CCA-adding enzymes using the same set of tRNAs and showing a similar distribution within the cell. This situation seems to be a common feature in Dictyostelia, as other members of this phylum carry similar pairs of tRNA nucleotidyltransferase genes in their genome.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are highly specific RNA polymerases that synthesize and maintain the sequence CCA at the tRNA 3'-end. This nucleotide triplet is a prerequisite for tRNAs to be aminoacylated and to participate in protein biosynthesis. During CCA-addition, a set of highly conserved motifs in the catalytic core of these enzymes is responsible for accurate sequential nucleotide incorporation. In the nucleotide binding pocket, three amino acid residues form Watson-Crick-like base pairs to the incoming CTP and ATP. A reorientation of these templating amino acids switches the enzyme's specificity from CTP to ATP recognition. However, the mechanism underlying this essential structural rearrangement is not understood. Here, we show that motif C, whose actual function has not been identified yet, contributes to the switch in nucleotide specificity during polymerization. Biochemical characterization as well as EPR spectroscopy measurements of the human enzyme reveal that mutating the highly conserved amino acid position D139 in this motif interferes with AMP incorporation and affects interdomain movements in the enzyme. We propose a model of action, where motif C forms a flexible spring element modulating the relative orientation of the enzyme's head and body domains to accommodate the growing 3'-end of the tRNA. Furthermore, these conformational transitions initiate the rearranging of the templating amino acids to switch the specificity of the nucleotide binding pocket from CTP to ATP during CCA-synthesis.
Project description:Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) require the absolutely conserved sequence motif CCA at their 3'-ends, representing the site of aminoacylation. In the majority of organisms, this trinucleotide sequence is not encoded in the genome and thus has to be added post-transcriptionally by the CCA-adding enzyme, a specialized nucleotidyltransferase. In eukaryotic genomes this ubiquitous and highly conserved enzyme family is usually represented by a single gene copy. Analysis of published sequence data allows us to pin down the unusual evolution of eukaryotic CCA-adding enzymes. We show that the CCA-adding enzymes of animals originated from a horizontal gene transfer event in the stem lineage of Holozoa, i.e. Metazoa (animals) and their unicellular relatives, the Choanozoa. The tRNA nucleotidyltransferase, acquired from an ?-proteobacterium, replaced the ancestral enzyme in Metazoa. However, in Choanoflagellata, the group of Choanozoa that is closest to Metazoa, both the ancestral and the horizontally transferred CCA-adding enzymes have survived. Furthermore, our data refute a mitochondrial origin of the animal tRNA nucleotidyltransferases.
Project description: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:CCA-adding enzyme builds the 3'-end CCA of tRNA without a nucleic acid template. The mechanism for the maintenance of fidelity during the CCA-adding reaction remains elusive. Here, we present almost a dozen complex structures of the class I CCA-adding enzyme and tRNA mini-helices (mini-D(73)N(74), mini-D(73)N(74)C(75) and mini-D(73)C(74)N(75); D(73) is a discriminator nucleotide and N is either A, G, or U). The mini-D(73)N(74) complexes adopt catalytically inactive open forms, and CTP shifts the enzymes to the active closed forms and allows N(74) to flip for CMP incorporation. In contrast, unlike the catalytically active closed form of the mini-D(73)C(74)C(75) complex, the mini-D(73)N(74)C(75) and mini-D(73)C(74)N(75) complexes adopt inactive open forms. Only the mini-D(73)C(74)U(75) accepts AMP to a similar extent as mini-D(73)C(74)C(75), and ATP shifts the enzyme to a closed, active form and allows U(75) to flip for AMP incorporation. These findings suggest that the 3'-region of RNA is proofread, after two nucleotide additions, in the closed, active form of the complex at the AMP incorporation stage. This proofreading is a prerequisite for the maintenance of fidelity for complete CCA synthesis.
Project description:In eukaryotic cells tRNA synthesis is negatively regulated by the protein Maf1, conserved from yeast to humans. Maf1 from yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae mediates repression of trna transcription when cells are transferred from medium with glucose to medium with glycerol, a non-fermentable carbon source. The strain with deleted gene encoding Maf1 (maf1?) is viable but accumulates tRNA precursors. In this study tRNA precursors were analysed by RNA-Seq and Northern hybridization in wild type strain and maf1? mutant grown in glucose medium or upon shift to repressive conditions. A negative effect of maf1? mutant on the addition of the auxiliary CCA nucleotides to the 3' end of pre-tRNAs was observed in cells shifted to unfavourable growth conditions. This effect was reduced by overexpression of the yeast CCA1 gene encoding ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferase. The CCA sequence at the 3' end is important for export of tRNA precursors from the nucleus and essential for tRNA charging with amino acids. Data presented here indicate that CCA-addition to intron-containing end-processed tRNA precursors is a limiting step in tRNA maturation when there is no Maf1 mediated RNA polymerase III (Pol III) repression. The correlation between CCA synthesis and Pol III regulation by Maf1 could be important in coordination of tRNA transcription, processing and regulation of translation.