Architecture of the RNA polymerase-Spt4/5 complex and basis of universal transcription processivity.
ABSTRACT: Related RNA polymerases (RNAPs) carry out cellular gene transcription in all three kingdoms of life. The universal conservation of the transcription machinery extends to a single RNAP-associated factor, Spt5 (or NusG in bacteria), which renders RNAP processive and may have arisen early to permit evolution of long genes. Spt5 associates with Spt4 to form the Spt4/5 heterodimer. Here, we present the crystal structure of archaeal Spt4/5 bound to the RNAP clamp domain, which forms one side of the RNAP active centre cleft. The structure revealed a conserved Spt5-RNAP interface and enabled modelling of complexes of Spt4/5 counterparts with RNAPs from all kingdoms of life, and of the complete yeast RNAP II elongation complex with bound Spt4/5. The N-terminal NGN domain of Spt5/NusG closes the RNAP active centre cleft to lock nucleic acids and render the elongation complex stable and processive. The C-terminal KOW1 domain is mobile, but its location is restricted to a region between the RNAP clamp and wall above the RNA exit tunnel, where it may interact with RNA and/or other factors.
Project description:Spt5 is the only known RNA polymerase-associated factor that is conserved in all three domains of life. We have solved the structure of the Methanococcus jannaschii Spt4/5 complex by X-ray crystallography, and characterized its function and interaction with the archaeal RNAP in a wholly recombinant in vitro transcription system. Archaeal Spt4 and Spt5 form a stable complex that associates with RNAP independently of the DNA-RNA scaffold of the elongation complex. The association of Spt4/5 with RNAP results in a stimulation of transcription processivity, both in the absence and the presence of the non-template strand. A domain deletion analysis reveals the molecular anatomy of Spt4/5--the Spt5 Nus-G N-terminal (NGN) domain is the effector domain of the complex that both mediates the interaction with RNAP and is essential for its elongation activity. Using a mutagenesis approach, we have identified a hydrophobic pocket on the Spt5 NGN domain as binding site for RNAP, and reciprocally the RNAP clamp coiled-coil motif as binding site for Spt4/5.
Project description:In all domains of life, elongating RNA polymerases require the assistance of accessory factors to maintain their processivity and regulate their rate. Among these elongation factors, the Spt5/NusG factors stand out. Members of this protein family appear to be the only transcription accessory proteins that are universally conserved across all domains of life. In archaea and eukaryotes, Spt5 associates with a second protein, Spt4. In addition to regulating elongation, the eukaryotic Spt4-Spt5 complex appears to couple chromatin modification states and RNA processing to transcription elongation. This review discusses the experimental bases for our current understanding of Spt4-Spt5 function and recent studies that are beginning to elucidate the structure of Spt4-Spt5/RNA polymerase complexes and mechanism of Spt4-Spt5 action. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA polymerase II Transcript Elongation.
Project description:RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) undergoes structural changes during the transitions from initiation, elongation, and termination, which are aided by a collection of proteins called elongation factors. NusG/Spt5 is the only elongation factor conserved in all domains of life. Although much information exists about the interactions between NusG/Spt5 and RNA polymerase in prokaryotes, little is known about how the binding of eukaryotic Spt4/5 affects the biochemical activities of RNAPII. We characterized the activities of Spt4/5 and interrogated the structural features of Spt5 required for it to interact with elongation complexes, bind nucleic acids, and promote transcription elongation. The eukaryotic specific regions of Spt5 containing the Kyrpides, Ouzounis, Woese domains are involved in stabilizing the association with the RNAPII elongation complex, which also requires the presence of the nascent transcript. Interestingly, we identify a region within the conserved NusG N-terminal (NGN) domain of Spt5 that contacts the non-template strand of DNA both upstream of RNAPII and in the transcription bubble. Mutating charged residues in this region of Spt5 did not prevent Spt4/5 binding to elongation complexes, but abrogated the cross-linking of Spt5 to DNA and the anti-arrest properties of Spt4/5, thus suggesting that contact between Spt5 (NGN) and DNA is required for Spt4/5 to promote elongation. We propose that the mechanism of how Spt5/NGN promotes elongation is fundamentally conserved; however, the eukaryotic specific regions of the protein evolved so that it can serve as a platform for other elongation factors and maintain its association with RNAPII as it navigates genomes packaged into chromatin.
Project description:The human transcription elongation factor DSIF is highly conserved throughout all kingdoms of life and plays multiple roles during transcription. DSIF is a heterodimer, consisting of Spt4 and Spt5 that interacts with RNA polymerase II (RNAP II). DSIF binds to the elongation complex and induces promoter-proximal pausing of RNAP II. Human Spt5 consists of a NusG N-terminal (NGN) domain motif, which is followed by several KOW domains. We determined the solution structures of the human Spt5 KOW4 and the C-terminal domain by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In addition to the typical KOW fold, the solution structure of KOW4 revealed an N-terminal four-stranded ?-sheet, previously designated as the KOW3-KOW4 linker. In solution, the C-terminus of Spt5 consists of two ?-barrel folds typical for KOW domains, designated KOW6 and KOW7. We also analysed the nucleic acid and RNAP II binding properties of the KOW domains. KOW4 variants interacted with nucleic acids, preferentially single stranded RNA, whereas no nucleic acid binding could be detected for KOW6-7. Weak binding of KOW4 to the RNAP II stalk, which is comprised of Rpb4/7, was also detected, consistent with transient interactions between Spt5 and these RNAP II subunits.
Project description:Transcription is an intrinsically dynamic process and requires the coordinated interplay of RNA polymerases (RNAPs) with nucleic acids and transcription factors. Classical structural biology techniques have revealed detailed snapshots of a subset of conformational states of the RNAP as they exist in crystals. A detailed view of the conformational space sampled by the RNAP and the molecular mechanisms of the basal transcription factors E (TFE) and Spt4/5 through conformational constraints has remained elusive. We monitored the conformational changes of the flexible clamp of the RNAP by combining a fluorescently labeled recombinant 12-subunit RNAP system with single-molecule FRET measurements. We measured and compared the distances across the DNA binding channel of the archaeal RNAP. Our results show that the transition of the closed to the open initiation complex, which occurs concomitant with DNA melting, is coordinated with an opening of the RNAP clamp that is stimulated by TFE. We show that the clamp in elongation complexes is modulated by the nontemplate strand and by the processivity factor Spt4/5, both of which stimulate transcription processivity. Taken together, our results reveal an intricate network of interactions within transcription complexes between RNAP, transcription factors, and nucleic acids that allosterically modulate the RNAP during the transcription cycle.
Project description:Previous characterization of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Spt4, Spt5, and Spt6 proteins suggested that these proteins act as transcription factors that modify chromatin structure. In this work, we report new genetic and biochemical studies of Spt4, Spt5, and Spt6 that reveal a role for these factors in transcription elongation. We have isolated conditional mutations in SPT5 that can be suppressed in an allele-specific manner by mutations in the two largest subunits of RNA polymerase II (Pol II). Strikingly, one of these RNA Pol II mutants is defective for transcription elongation and the others cause phenotypes consistent with an elongation defect. In addition, we show that spt4, spt5, and spt6 mutants themselves have phenotypes suggesting defects in transcription elongation in vivo. Consistent with these findings, we show that Spt5 is physically associated with RNA Pol II in vivo, and have identified a region of sequence similarity between Spt5 and NusG, an Escherichia coli transcription elongation factor that binds directly to RNA polymerase. Finally, we show that Spt4 and Spt5 are tightly associated in a complex that does not contain Spt6. These results, taken together with the biochemical identification of a human Spt4-Spt5 complex as a transcription elongation factor (Wada et al. 1998), provide strong evidence that these factors are important for transcription elongation in vivo.
Project description:Evolutionary related multisubunit RNA polymerases (RNAPs) transcribe the genomes of all living organisms. Whereas the core subunits of RNAPs are universally conserved in all three domains of life-indicative of a common evolutionary descent-this only applies to one RNAP-associated transcription factor-Spt5, also known as NusG in bacteria. All other factors that aid RNAP during the transcription cycle are specific for the individual domain or only conserved between archaea and eukaryotes. Spt5 and its bacterial homologue NusG regulate gene expression in several ways by (i) modulating transcription processivity and promoter proximal pausing, (ii) coupling transcription and RNA processing or translation, and (iii) recruiting termination factors and thereby silencing laterally transferred DNA and protecting the genome against double-stranded DNA breaks. This review discusses recent discoveries that identify Spt5-like factors as evolutionary conserved nexus for the regulation and coordination of the machineries responsible for information processing in the cell.
Project description:The Spt5-Spt4 complex regulates early transcription elongation by RNA polymerase II and has an imputed role in pre-mRNA processing via its physical association with mRNA capping enzymes. Here we characterize the Schizosaccharomyces pombe core Spt5-Spt4 complex as a heterodimer and map a trypsin-resistant Spt4-binding domain within the Spt5 subunit. A genetic analysis of Spt4 in S. pombe revealed it to be inessential for growth at 25 degrees C-30 degrees C but critical at 37 degrees C. These results echo the conditional spt4Delta growth phenotype in budding yeast, where we find that Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. pombe Spt4 are functionally interchangeable. Complementation of S. cerevisiae spt4Delta and a two-hybrid assay for Spt4-Spt5 interaction provided a readout of the effects of 33 missense and truncation mutations on S. pombe Spt4 function in vivo, which were interpreted in light of the recent crystal structure of S. cerevisiae Spt4 fused to a fragment of Spt5. Our results highlight the importance of the Spt4 Zn2+-binding residues--Cys12, Cys15, Cys29, and Asp32--and of Ser57, a conserved constituent of the Spt4-Spt5 interface. The 990-amino acid S. pombe Spt5 protein has an exceptionally regular carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) composed of 18 nonapeptide repeats. We find that as few as three nonamer repeats sufficed for S. pombe growth, but only when Spt4 was present. Synthetic lethality of the spt5(1-835) spt4Delta double mutant at 34 degrees C suggests that interaction of Spt4 with the central domain of Spt5 overlaps functionally with the Spt5 CTD.
Project description:Macroautophagy/autophagy, a highly conserved dynamic process, is one of the major degradative pathways in cells. So far, over 40 autophagy-related (ATG) genes have been identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, most of which have homologs in more complex eukaryotes. Autophagy plays a crucial role in cell survival and maintenance, and its dysfunction is related to various diseases, indicating that the proper regulation of autophagy is important. Although the overall process of autophagy has been extensively studied, in particular with regard to the function of the Atg proteins, relatively little is known about the regulatory mechanisms that control autophagy activity. Spt5 is one of the transcriptional factors that is universally conserved across all domains. This protein can form a complex with Spt4, together playing a central role in transcription. In complex eukaryotic cells, the Spt4-Spt5 complex plays a dual role in gene regulation, acting both to delay transcription through promoter-proximal pausing, and to facilitate transcriptional elongation. In contrast, in S. cerevisiae, only the positive function of the Spt4-Spt5 complex has been identified. Here, we show for the first time that the Spt4-Spt5 transcription factor complex negatively regulates ATG genes in S. cerevisiae, inhibiting autophagy activity during active growth. Under autophagy-inducing conditions, the repression is released by Spt5 phosphorylation, allowing an upregulation of autophagy activity. ABBREVIATIONS:AID: auxin-inducible degron; ATG: autophagy-related; ChIP: chromatin immunoprecipitation;Cvt: cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting; DSIF: DRB sensitivity-inducible factor; NELF: negativeelongation factor; ORF: open reading frame; PA: protein A; PE: phosphatidylethanolamine;prApe1: precursor aminopeptidase I; RT-qPCR: real-time quantitative PCR; RNAP II: RNApolymerase II; TSS: transcription start site; WT: wild-type.
Project description:Spt4/5 in archaea and eukaryote and its bacterial homolog NusG is the only elongation factor conserved in all three domains of life and plays many key roles in cotranscriptional regulation and in recruiting other factors to the elongating RNA polymerase. Here, we present the crystal structure of Spt4/5 as well as the structure of RNA polymerase-Spt4/5 complex using cryoelectron microscopy reconstruction and single particle analysis. The Spt4/5 binds in the middle of RNA polymerase claw and encloses the DNA, reminiscent of the DNA polymerase clamp and ring helicases. The transcription elongation complex model reveals that the Spt4/5 is an upstream DNA holder and contacts the nontemplate DNA in the transcription bubble. These structures reveal that the cellular RNA polymerases also use a strategy of encircling DNA to enhance its processivity as commonly observed for many nucleic acid processing enzymes including DNA polymerases and helicases.