SnRNA-specific role of SMN in trypanosome snRNP biogenesis in vivo.
ABSTRACT: Pre-mRNA splicing in trypanosomes requires the SMN-mediated assembly of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). In contrast to higher eukaryotes, the cellular localization of snRNP biogenesis and the involvement of nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking in trypanosomes are controversial. By using RNAi knockdown of SMN in T. brucei to investigate its functional role in snRNP assembly, we found dramatic changes in the steady-state levels of snRNAs and snRNPs: The SL RNA accumulates, whereas U1, U4, and U5 snRNA levels decrease, and Sm core assembly in particular of the SL RNA is strongly reduced. In addition, SMN depletion blocks U4/U6 di-snRNP formation; the variant Sm core of the U2 snRNP, however, still forms efficiently after SMN knockdown. Concerning the longstanding question, whether nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking is involved in trypanosomal snRNP biogenesis, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunofluorescence assays revealed that the SL RNA genes and transcripts colocalize with SMN. Remarkably, SMN silencing leads to a nucleoplasmic accumulation of both SL RNA and the Sm proteins. In sum, our data demonstrate an essential and snRNA-selective role of SMN in snRNP biogenesis in vivo and strongly argue for a nucleoplasmic Sm core assembly of the SL RNP.
Project description:Spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in trypanosomes contain either the canonical heptameric Sm ring (U1, U5, spliced leader snRNPs), or variant Sm cores with snRNA-specific Sm subunits (U2, U4 snRNPs). Searching for specificity factors, we identified SMN and Gemin2 proteins that are highly divergent from known orthologs. SMN is splicing-essential in trypanosomes and nuclear-localized, suggesting that Sm core assembly in trypanosomes is nuclear. We demonstrate in vitro that SMN is sufficient to confer specificity of canonical Sm core assembly and to discriminate against binding to nonspecific RNA and to U2 and U4 snRNAs. SMN interacts transiently with the SmD3B subcomplex, contacting specifically SmB. SMN remains associated throughout the assembly of the Sm heteroheptamer and dissociates only when a functional Sm site is incorporated. These data establish a novel role of SMN, mediating snRNP specificity in Sm core assembly, and yield new biochemical insight into the mechanism of SMN activity.
Project description:Spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in trypanosomes contain either the canonical heptameric Sm ring or variant Sm cores with snRNA-specific Sm subunits. Here we show biochemically by a combination of RNase H cleavage and tandem affinity purification that the U4 snRNP contains a variant Sm heteroheptamer core in which only SmD3 is replaced by SSm4. This U4-specific, nuclear-localized Sm core protein is essential for growth and splicing. As shown by RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown, SSm4 is specifically required for the integrity of the U4 snRNA and the U4/U6 di-snRNP in trypanosomes. In addition, we demonstrate by in vitro reconstitution of Sm cores that under stringent conditions, the SSm4 protein suffices to specify the assembly of U4 Sm cores. Together, these data indicate that the assembly of the U4-specific Sm core provides an essential step in U4/U6 di-snRNP biogenesis and splicing in trypanosomes.
Project description:The SMN complex assembles Sm cores on snRNAs, a key step in the biogenesis of snRNPs, the spliceosome's major components. Here, using SMN complex inhibitors identified by high-throughput screening and a ribo-proteomic strategy on formaldehyde crosslinked RNPs, we dissected this pathway in cells. We show that protein synthesis inhibition impairs the SMN complex, revealing discrete SMN and Gemin subunits and accumulating an snRNA precursor (pre-snRNA)-Gemin5 intermediate. By high-throughput sequencing of this transient intermediate's RNAs, we discovered the previously undetectable precursors of all the snRNAs and identified their Gemin5-binding sites. We demonstrate that pre-snRNA 3' sequences function to enhance snRNP biogenesis. The SMN complex is also inhibited by oxidation, and we show that it stalls an inventory-complete SMN complex containing pre-snRNAs. We propose a stepwise pathway of SMN complex formation and snRNP biogenesis, highlighting Gemin5's function in delivering pre-snRNAs as substrates for Sm core assembly and processing.
Project description:The spliceosome is a dynamic macromolecular machine that assembles on pre-messenger RNA substrates and catalyses the excision of non-coding intervening sequences (introns). Four of the five major components of the spliceosome, U1, U2, U4 and U5 small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), contain seven Sm proteins (SmB/B', SmD1, SmD2, SmD3, SmE, SmF and SmG) in common. Following export of the U1, U2, U4 and U5 snRNAs to the cytoplasm, the seven Sm proteins, chaperoned by the survival of motor neurons (SMN) complex, assemble around a single-stranded, U-rich sequence called the Sm site in each small nuclear RNA (snRNA), to form the core domain of the respective snRNP particle. Core domain formation is a prerequisite for re-import into the nucleus, where these snRNPs mature via addition of their particle-specific proteins. Here we present a crystal structure of the U4 snRNP core domain at 3.6?Å resolution, detailing how the Sm site heptad (AUUUUUG) binds inside the central hole of the heptameric ring of Sm proteins, interacting one-to-one with SmE-SmG-SmD3-SmB-SmD1-SmD2-SmF. An irregular backbone conformation of the Sm site sequence combined with the asymmetric structure of the heteromeric protein ring allows each base to interact in a distinct manner with four key residues at equivalent positions in the L3 and L5 loops of the Sm fold. A comparison of this structure with the U1 snRNP at 5.5?Å resolution reveals snRNA-dependent structural changes outside the Sm fold, which may facilitate the binding of particle-specific proteins that are crucial to biogenesis of spliceosomal snRNPs.
Project description:The Sm proteins are loaded on snRNAs by the SMN complex, but how snRNP-specific proteins are assembled remains poorly characterized. U4 snRNP and box C/D snoRNPs have structural similarities. They both contain the 15.5K and proteins with NOP domains (PRP31 for U4, NOP56/58 for snoRNPs). Biogenesis of box C/D snoRNPs involves NUFIP and the HSP90/R2TP chaperone system and here, we explore the function of this machinery in U4 RNP assembly. We show that yeast Prp31 interacts with several components of the NUFIP/R2TP machinery, and that these interactions are separable from each other. In human cells, PRP31 mutants that fail to stably associate with U4 snRNA still interact with components of the NUFIP/R2TP system, indicating that these interactions precede binding of PRP31 to U4 snRNA. Knock-down of NUFIP leads to mislocalization of PRP31 and decreased association with U4. Moreover, NUFIP is associated with the SMN complex through direct interactions with Gemin3 and Gemin6. Altogether, our data suggest a model in which the NUFIP/R2TP system is connected with the SMN complex and facilitates assembly of U4 snRNP-specific proteins.
Project description:Cajal bodies (CBs) have been implicated in the nuclear phase of the biogenesis of spliceosomal U small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (U snRNPs). Here, we have investigated the distribution of the CB marker protein coilin, U snRNPs, and proteins present in C/D box small nucleolar (sno)RNPs in cells depleted of hTGS1, SMN, or PHAX. Knockdown of any of these three proteins by RNAi interferes with U snRNP maturation before the reentry of U snRNA Sm cores into the nucleus. Strikingly, CBs are lost in the absence of hTGS1, SMN, or PHAX and coilin is dispersed in the nucleoplasm into numerous small foci. This indicates that the integrity of canonical CBs is dependent on ongoing U snRNP biogenesis. Spliceosomal U snRNPs show no detectable concentration in nuclear foci and do not colocalize with coilin in cells lacking hTGS1, SMN, or PHAX. In contrast, C/D box snoRNP components concentrate into nuclear foci that partially colocalize with coilin after inhibition of U snRNP maturation. We demonstrate by siRNA-mediated depletion that coilin is required for the condensation of U snRNPs, but not C/D box snoRNP components, into nucleoplasmic foci, and also for merging these factors into canonical CBs. Altogether, our data suggest that CBs have a modular structure with distinct domains for spliceosomal U snRNPs and snoRNPs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Cajal bodies (CBs) are nuclear suborganelles that play a role in the biogenesis of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which are crucial for pre-mRNA splicing. Upon nuclear reentry, Sm-class snRNPs localize first to the CB, where the snRNA moiety of the snRNP is modified. It is not clear how snRNPs target to the CB and are released from this structure after their modification. Coilin, the CB marker protein, may participate in snRNP biogenesis given that it can interact with snRNPs and SMN. SMN is crucial for snRNP assembly and is the protein mutated in the neurodegenerative disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Coilin knockout mice display significant viability problems and altered CB formation. Thus characterization of the CB and its associated proteins will give insight into snRNP biogenesis and clarify the dynamic organization of the nucleus. RESULTS: In this report, we identify a novel protein isoform of EB-1/AIDA-1, termed AIDA-1c, that interacts with the CB marker protein, coilin. Northern and nested PCR experiments reveal that the AIDA-1c isoform is expressed in brain and several cancer cell lines. Competition binding experiments demonstrate that AIDA-1c competes with SmB' for coilin binding sites, but does not bind SMN. When ectopically expressed, AIDA-1c is predominantly nuclear with no obvious accumulations in CBs. Interestingly, another EB-1/AIDA-1 nuclear isoform, AIDA-1a, does not bind coilin in vivo as efficiently as AIDA-1c. Knockdown of EB-1/AIDA-1 isoforms by siRNA altered Cajal body organization and reduced cell viability. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that specific EB-1/AIDA-1 isoforms, such as AIDA-1c, may participate in the regulation of nucleoplasmic coilin protein interactions in neuronal and transformed cells.
Project description:Reduction of the survival of motor neurons (SMN) protein levels causes the motor neuron degenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy, the severity of which correlates with the extent of reduction in SMN. SMN, together with Gemins 2 to 7, forms a complex that functions in the assembly of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs). Complete depletion of the SMN complex from cell extracts abolishes snRNP assembly, the formation of heptameric Sm cores on snRNAs. However, what effect, if any, reduction of SMN protein levels, as occurs in spinal muscular atrophy patients, has on the capacity of cells to produce snRNPs is not known. To address this, we developed a sensitive and quantitative assay for snRNP assembly, the formation of high-salt- and heparin-resistant stable Sm cores, that is strictly dependent on the SMN complex. We show that the extent of Sm core assembly is directly proportional to the amount of SMN protein in cell extracts. Consistent with this, pulse-labeling experiments demonstrate a significant reduction in the rate of snRNP biogenesis in low-SMN cells. Furthermore, extracts of cells from spinal muscular atrophy patients have a lower capacity for snRNP assembly that corresponds directly to the reduced amount of SMN. Thus, SMN determines the capacity for snRNP biogenesis, and our findings provide evidence for a measurable deficiency in a biochemical activity in cells from patients with spinal muscular atrophy.
Project description:In humans, assembly of spliceosomal snRNPs (small nuclear ribonucleoproteins) begins in the cytoplasm where the multi-protein SMN (survival of motor neuron) complex mediates the formation of a seven-membered ring of Sm proteins on to a conserved site of the snRNA (small nuclear RNA). The SMN complex contains the SMN protein Gemin2 and several additional Gemins that participate in snRNP biosynthesis. SMN was first identified as the product of a gene found to be deleted or mutated in patients with the neurodegenerative disease SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. In the present study, we report the solution structure of Gemin2 bound to the Gemin2-binding domain of SMN determined by NMR spectroscopy. This complex reveals the structure of Gemin2, how Gemin2 binds to SMN and the roles of conserved SMN residues near the binding interface. Surprisingly, several conserved SMN residues, including the sites of two SMA patient mutations, are not required for binding to Gemin2. Instead, they form a conserved SMN/Gemin2 surface that may be functionally important for snRNP assembly. The SMN-Gemin2 structure explains how Gemin2 is stabilized by SMN and establishes a framework for structure-function studies to investigate snRNP biogenesis as well as biological processes involving Gemin2 that do not involve snRNP assembly.
Project description:Despite equal snRNP stoichiometry in spliceosomes, U1 snRNP (U1) is typically the most abundant vertebrate snRNP. Mechanisms regulating U1 overabundance and snRNP repertoire are unknown. In Sm-core assembly, a key snRNP-biogenesis step mediated by the SMN complex, the snRNA-specific RNA-binding protein (RBP) Gemin5 delivers pre-snRNAs, which join SMN-Gemin2-recruited Sm proteins. We show that the human U1-specific RBP U1-70K can bridge pre-U1 to SMN-Gemin2-Sm, in a Gemin5-independent manner, thus establishing an additional and U1-exclusive Sm core-assembly pathway. U1-70K hijacks SMN-Gemin2-Sm, enhancing Sm-core assembly on U1s and inhibiting that on other snRNAs, thereby promoting U1 overabundance and regulating snRNP repertoire. SMN-Gemin2's ability to facilitate transactions between different RBPs and RNAs explains its multi-RBP valency and the myriad transcriptome perturbations associated with SMN deficiency in neurodegenerative spinal muscular atrophy. We propose that SMN-Gemin2 is a versatile hub for RNP exchange that functions broadly in RNA metabolism.