Crystal structure analysis reveals functional flexibility in the selenocysteine-specific tRNA from mouse.
ABSTRACT: Selenocysteine tRNAs (tRNA(Sec)) exhibit a number of unique identity elements that are recognized specifically by proteins of the selenocysteine biosynthetic pathways and decoding machineries. Presently, these identity elements and the mechanisms by which they are interpreted by tRNA(Sec)-interacting factors are incompletely understood.We applied rational mutagenesis to obtain well diffracting crystals of murine tRNA(Sec). tRNA(Sec) lacking the single-stranded 3'-acceptor end ((?GCCA)RNA(Sec)) yielded a crystal structure at 2.0 Å resolution. The global structure of (?GCCA)RNA(Sec) resembles the structure of human tRNA(Sec) determined at 3.1 Å resolution. Structural comparisons revealed flexible regions in tRNA(Sec) used for induced fit binding to selenophosphate synthetase. Water molecules located in the present structure were involved in the stabilization of two alternative conformations of the anticodon stem-loop. Modeling of a 2'-O-methylated ribose at position U34 of the anticodon loop as found in a sub-population of tRNA(Sec)in vivo showed how this modification favors an anticodon loop conformation that is functional during decoding on the ribosome. Soaking of crystals in Mn(2+)-containing buffer revealed eight potential divalent metal ion binding sites but the located metal ions did not significantly stabilize specific structural features of tRNA(Sec).We provide the most highly resolved structure of a tRNA(Sec) molecule to date and assessed the influence of water molecules and metal ions on the molecule's conformation and dynamics. Our results suggest how conformational changes of tRNA(Sec) support its interaction with proteins.
Project description:O-Phosphoseryl-tRNA kinase (PSTK) is the key enzyme in recruiting selenocysteine (Sec) to the genetic code of archaea and eukaryotes. The enzyme phosphorylates Ser-tRNA(Sec) to produce O-phosphoseryl-tRNA(Sec) (Sep-tRNA(Sec)) that is then converted to Sec-tRNA(Sec) by Sep-tRNA:Sec-tRNA synthase. Earlier we reported the structure of the Methanocaldococcus jannaschii PSTK (MjPSTK) complexed with AMPPNP. This study presents the crystal structure (at 2.4-Å resolution) of MjPSTK complexed with an anticodon-stem/loop truncated tRNA(Sec) (Mj*tRNA(Sec)), a good enzyme substrate. Mj*tRNA(Sec) is bound between the enzyme's C-terminal domain (CTD) and N-terminal kinase domain (NTD) that are connected by a flexible 11 amino acid linker. Upon Mj*tRNA(Sec) recognition the CTD undergoes a 62-Å movement to allow proper binding of the 7-bp D-stem. This large reorganization of the PSTK quaternary structure likely provides a means by which the unique tRNA(Sec) species can be accurately recognized with high affinity by the translation machinery. However, while the NTD recognizes the tRNA acceptor helix, shortened versions of MjPSTK (representing only 60% of the original size, in which the entire CTD, linker loop and an adjacent NTD helix are missing) are still active in vivo and in vitro, albeit with reduced activity compared to the full-length enzyme.
Project description:Selenocysteine (Sec) is the 21st amino acid in translation. Sec tRNA (tRNA(Sec)) has an anticodon complementary to the UGA codon. We solved the crystal structure of human tRNA(Sec). tRNA(Sec) has a 9-bp acceptor stem and a 4-bp T stem, in contrast with the 7-bp acceptor stem and the 5-bp T stem in the canonical tRNAs. The acceptor stem is kinked between the U6:U67 and G7:C66 base pairs, leading to a bent acceptor-T stem helix. tRNA(Sec) has a 6-bp D stem and a 4-nt D loop. The long D stem includes unique A14:U21 and G15:C20a pairs. The D-loop:T-loop interactions include the base pairs G18:U55 and U16:U59, and a unique base triple, U20:G19:C56. The extra arm comprises of a 6-bp stem and a 4-nt loop. Remarkably, the D stem and the extra arm do not form tertiary interactions in tRNA(Sec). Instead, tRNA(Sec) has an open cavity, in place of the tertiary core of a canonical tRNA. The linker residues, A8 and U9, connecting the acceptor and D stems, are not involved in tertiary base pairing. Instead, U9 is stacked on the first base pair of the extra arm. These features might allow tRNA(Sec) to be the target of the Sec synthesis/incorporation machineries.
Project description:Posttranscriptional RNA modifications occur in all domains of life. Modifications of anticodon bases are of particular importance for ribosomal decoding and proteome homeostasis. The Elongator complex modifies uridines in the wobble position and is highly conserved in eukaryotes. Despite recent insights into Elongator's architecture, the structure and function of its regulatory factor Kti12 have remained elusive. Here, we present the crystal structure of Kti12's nucleotide hydrolase domain trapped in a transition state of ATP hydrolysis. The structure reveals striking similarities to an O-phosphoseryl-tRNA kinase involved in the selenocysteine pathway. Both proteins employ similar mechanisms of tRNA binding and show tRNASec-dependent ATPase activity. In addition, we demonstrate that Kti12 binds directly to Elongator and that ATP hydrolysis is crucial for Elongator to maintain proper tRNA anticodon modification levels in vivo. In summary, our data reveal a hitherto uncharacterized link between two translational control pathways that regulate selenocysteine incorporation and affect ribosomal tRNA selection via specific tRNA modifications.
Project description:Selenocysteine (Sec)-decoding archaea and eukaryotes employ a unique route of Sec-tRNA(Sec) synthesis in which O-phosphoseryl-tRNA(Sec) kinase (PSTK) phosphorylates Ser-tRNA(Sec) to produce the O-phosphoseryl-tRNA(Sec) (Sep-tRNA(Sec)) substrate that Sep-tRNA:Sec-tRNA synthase (SepSecS) converts to Sec-tRNA(Sec). This study presents a biochemical characterization of Methanocaldococcus jannaschii PSTK, including kinetics of Sep-tRNA(Sec) formation (K(m) for Ser-tRNA(Sec) of 40 nM and ATP of 2.6 mM). PSTK binds both Ser-tRNA(Sec) and tRNA(Sec) with high affinity (K(d) values of 53 nM and 39 nM, respectively). The ATPase activity of PSTK may be activated via an induced fit mechanism in which binding of tRNA(Sec) specifically stimulates hydrolysis. Albeit with lower activity than ATP, PSTK utilizes GTP, CTP, UTP and dATP as phosphate-donors. Homology with related kinases allowed prediction of the ATPase active site, comprised of phosphate-binding loop (P-loop), Walker B and RxxxR motifs. Gly14, Lys17, Ser18, Asp41, Arg116 and Arg120 mutations resulted in enzymes with decreased activity highlighting the importance of these conserved motifs in PSTK catalysis both in vivo and in vitro. Phylogenetic analysis of PSTK in the context of its 'DxTN' kinase family shows that PSTK co-evolved precisely with SepSecS and indicates the presence of a previously unidentified PSTK in Plasmodium species.
Project description:Seryl-tRNA synthetase (SerRS) attaches L-serine to the cognate serine tRNA (tRNASer) and the noncognate selenocysteine tRNA (tRNASec). The latter activity initiates the anabolic cycle of selenocysteine (Sec), proper decoding of an in-frame Sec UGA codon, and synthesis of selenoproteins across all domains of life. While the accuracy of SerRS is important for overall proteome integrity, it is its substrate promiscuity that is vital for the integrity of the selenoproteome. This raises a question as to what elements in the two tRNA species, harboring different anticodon sequences and adopting distinct folds, facilitate aminoacylation by a common aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. We sought to answer this question by analyzing the ability of human cytosolic SerRS to bind and act on tRNASer, tRNASec, and 10 mutant and chimeric constructs in which elements of tRNASer were transposed onto tRNASec We show that human SerRS only subtly prefers tRNASer to tRNASec, and that discrimination occurs at the level of the serylation reaction. Surprisingly, the tRNA mutants predicted to adopt either the 7/5 or 8/5 fold are poor SerRS substrates. In contrast, shortening of the acceptor arm of tRNASec by a single base pair yields an improved SerRS substrate that adopts an 8/4 fold. We suggest that an optimal tertiary arrangement of structural elements within tRNASec and tRNASer dictate their utility for serylation. We also speculate that the extended acceptor-TΨC arm of tRNASec evolved as a compromise for productive binding to SerRS while remaining the major recognition element for other enzymes involved in Sec and selenoprotein synthesis.
Project description:Bacterial selenocysteine incorporation occurs in response to opal stop codons and is dependent on the presence of a selenocysteine insertion sequence (SECIS) element, which recruits the selenocysteine specific elongation factor and tRNA(Sec) needed to reassign the UGA codon. The SECIS element is a stem-loop RNA structure immediately following the UGA codon and forms part of the coding sequence in bacterial selenoproteins. Although the site specific incorporation of selenocysteine is of great interest for protein engineering, the sequence constraints imposed by the adjoining SECIS element severely limit its use. We have evolved an E. coli tRNA(Sec) that is compatible with the canonical translation machinery and can suppress amber stop codons to incorporate selenocysteine with high efficiency. This evolved tRNA(Sec) allows the production of new recombinant selenoproteins containing structural motifs such as selenyl-sulfhydryl and diselenide bonds.
Project description:Selenocysteine (Sec) is translationally incorporated into proteins in response to the UGA codon. The tRNA specific to Sec (tRNA(Sec)) is first ligated with serine by seryl-tRNA synthetase (SerRS). To elucidate the tertiary structure of bacterial tRNA(Sec) and its specific interaction with SerRS, the bacterial tRNA(Sec) from Aquifex aeolicus was crystallized as the heterologous complex with the archaeal SerRS from Methanopyrus kandleri. Although X-ray diffraction by crystals of tRNA(Sec) in complex with wild-type SerRS was rather poor (to 5.7 Å resolution), the resolution was improved by introducing point mutations targeting the crystal-packing interface. Heavy-atom labelling also contributed to resolution improvement. A 3.2 Å resolution diffraction data set for phase determination was obtained from a K(2)Pt(CN)(4)-soaked crystal.
Project description:Selenocysteine (Sec) tRNA (tRNA([Ser]Sec)) serves as both the site of Sec biosynthesis and the adapter molecule for donation of this amino acid to protein. The consequences on selenoprotein biosynthesis of overexpressing either the wild type or a mutant tRNA([Ser]Sec) lacking the modified base, isopentenyladenosine, in its anticodon loop were examined by introducing multiple copies of the corresponding tRNA([Ser]Sec) genes into the mouse genome. Overexpression of wild-type tRNA([Ser]Sec) did not affect selenoprotein synthesis. In contrast, the levels of numerous selenoproteins decreased in mice expressing isopentenyladenosine-deficient (i(6)A(-)) tRNA([Ser]Sec) in a protein- and tissue-specific manner. Cytosolic glutathione peroxidase and mitochondrial thioredoxin reductase 3 were the most and least affected selenoproteins, while selenoprotein expression was most and least affected in the liver and testes, respectively. The defect in selenoprotein expression occurred at translation, since selenoprotein mRNA levels were largely unaffected. Analysis of the tRNA([Ser]Sec) population showed that expression of i(6)A(-) tRNA([Ser]Sec) altered the distribution of the two major isoforms, whereby the maturation of tRNA([Ser]Sec) by methylation of the nucleoside in the wobble position was repressed. The data suggest that the levels of i(6)A(-) tRNA([Ser]Sec) and wild-type tRNA([Ser]Sec) are regulated independently and that the amount of wild-type tRNA([Ser]Sec) is determined, at least in part, by a feedback mechanism governed by the level of the tRNA([Ser]Sec) population. This study marks the first example of transgenic mice engineered to contain functional tRNA transgenes and suggests that i(6)A(-) tRNA([Ser]Sec) transgenic mice will be useful in assessing the biological roles of selenoproteins.
Project description:The trace element selenium is found in proteins as selenocysteine (Sec), the 21st amino acid to participate in ribosome-mediated translation. The substrate for ribosomal protein synthesis is selenocysteinyl-tRNA(Sec). Its biosynthesis from seryl-tRNA(Sec) has been established for bacteria, but the mechanism of conversion from Ser-tRNA(Sec) remained unresolved for archaea and eukarya. Here, we provide evidence for a different route present in these domains of life that requires the tRNA(Sec)-dependent conversion of O-phosphoserine (Sep) to Sec. In this two-step pathway, O-phosphoseryl-tRNA(Sec) kinase (PSTK) converts Ser-tRNA(Sec) to Sep-tRNA(Sec). This misacylated tRNA is the obligatory precursor for a Sep-tRNA:Sec-tRNA synthase (SepSecS); this protein was previously annotated as SLA/LP. The human and archaeal SepSecS genes complement in vivo an Escherichia coli Sec synthase (SelA) deletion strain. Furthermore, purified recombinant SepSecS converts Sep-tRNA(Sec) into Sec-tRNA(Sec) in vitro in the presence of sodium selenite and purified recombinant E. coli selenophosphate synthetase (SelD). Phylogenetic arguments suggest that Sec decoding was present in the last universal common ancestor. SepSecS and PSTK coevolved with the archaeal and eukaryotic lineages, but the history of PSTK is marked by several horizontal gene transfer events, including transfer to non-Sec-decoding Cyanobacteria and fungi.
Project description:Expression of selenoproteins requires the co-translational incorporation of selenocysteine (Sec) in response to an in-frame UGA codon. The machinery of UGA/Sec re-coding is complex and many factors affect the hierarchy of expression among selenoproteins, including modification of tRNA[Ser]Sec. Its hyper-modification in the anticodon stem loop is influenced by selenium bioavailability, and a mutation in adenosine 37 (A37) that abrogates isopentenylation, has a profound effect on selenoprotein expression in mice. Patients with mutations in tRNA-isopentenyl-transferase (TRIT1) show a severe neurological disorder and hence we wondered whether mutations in TRIT1 negatively affected the expression of selenoproteins. Fibroblasts from a patient carrying a pathogenic R323Q mutation in TRIT1 in homozygosity did not show decreased selenoprotein expression, although recombinant TRIT1R323Q had significantly reduced activity in vitro towards anticodon stem-loop substrates. We thus engineered mice conditionally deficient in Trit1 in hepatocytes and neurons. Selenoprotein expression as assessed by western blotting, 75Se metabolic labeling, and ribosomal profiling was not decreased despite the general reduction of N6-isopentenyl-adenosine in tRNAs. We show that 5-methylcarboxymethylation and 2’O-methylation of U34 occur independently of isopentenylation of A37 in tRNA[Ser]Sec. Reanalyzing previously published ribosomal profiling datasets, we demonstrate that (i) failure of 5-carboxymethylation at U34 is associated with reduced expression of GPX1, but not GPX4, and that (ii) FTSJ1 is not the elusive U34-2’O-methyltransferase involved in the methylation of tRNA[Ser]Sec. Overall design: Ribosome profiling of liver samples from 3 Trit1-deficient mice and 3 control mice