An inhibitory C-terminal region dictates the specificity of A-adding enzymes.
ABSTRACT: For efficient aminoacylation, tRNAs carry the conserved 3'-terminal sequence C-C-A, which is synthesized by highly specific tRNA nucleotidyltransferases (CCA-adding enzymes). In several prokaryotes, this function is accomplished by separate enzymes for CC- and A-addition. As A-adding enzymes carry an N-terminal catalytic core identical to that of CCA-adding enzymes, it is unclear why their activity is restricted. Here, it is shown that C-terminal deletion variants of A-adding enzymes acquire full and precise CCA-incorporating activity. The deleted region seems to be responsible for tRNA primer selection, restricting the enzyme's specificity to tRNAs ending with CC. The data suggest that A-adding enzymes carry an intrinsic CCA-adding activity that can be reactivated by the introduction of deletions in the C-terminal domain. Furthermore, a unique subtype of CCA-adding enzymes could be identified that evolved out of A-adding enzymes, suggesting that mutations and deletions in nucleotidyltransferases can lead to altered and even more complex activities, as a simple A-incorporation is converted into sequence-specific addition of C and A residues. Such activity-modifying events may have had an important role in the evolution of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases.
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:Synthesis of the CCA end of essential tRNAs is performed either by CCA-adding enzymes or as a collaboration between enzymes restricted to CC- and A-incorporation. While the occurrence of such tRNA nucleotidyltransferases with partial activities seemed to be restricted to Bacteria, the first example of such split CCA-adding activities was reported in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Here, we demonstrate that the choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta also carries CC- and A-adding enzymes. However, these enzymes have distinct evolutionary origins. Furthermore, the restricted activity of the eukaryotic CC-adding enzymes has evolved in a different way compared to their bacterial counterparts. Yet, the molecular basis is very similar, as highly conserved positions within a catalytically important flexible loop region are missing in the CC-adding enzymes. For both the CC-adding enzymes from S. rosetta as well as S. pombe, introduction of the loop elements from closely related enzymes with full activity was able to restore CCA-addition, corroborating the significance of this loop in the evolution of bacterial as well as eukaryotic tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Our data demonstrate that partial CC- and A-adding activities in Bacteria and Eukaryotes are based on the same mechanistic principles but, surprisingly, originate from different evolutionary events.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are specialized polymerases that add a specific sequence (C-C-A) to tRNA 3' ends without requiring a nucleic acid template. In some organisms, CCA synthesis is accomplished by the collaboration of evolutionary closely related enzymes with partial activities (CC and A addition). These enzymes carry all known motifs of the catalytic core found in CCA-adding enzymes. Therefore, it is a mystery why these polymerases are restricted in their activity and do not synthesize a complete CCA terminus. Here, a region located outside of the conserved motifs was identified that is missing in CC-adding enzymes. When recombinantly introduced from a CCA-adding enzyme, the region restores full CCA-adding activity in the resulting chimera. Correspondingly, deleting the region in a CCA-adding enzyme abolishes the A-incorporating activity, also leading to CC addition. The presence of the deletion was used to predict the CC-adding activity of putative bacterial tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Indeed, two such enzymes were experimentally identified as CC-adding enzymes, indicating that the existence of the deletion is a hallmark for this activity. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of identified and putative CC-adding enzymes indicates that this type of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases emerged several times during evolution. Obviously, these enzymes descend from CCA-adding enzymes, where the occurrence of the deletion led to the restricted activity of CC addition. A-adding enzymes, however, seem to represent a monophyletic group that might also be ancestral to CCA-adding enzymes. Yet, experimental data indicate that it is possible that A-adding activities also evolved from CCA-adding enzymes by the occurrence of individual point mutations.
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: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:The CCA-adding enzyme [ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferase] adds CCA to the 3' ends of transfer RNAs (tRNAs), a critical step in tRNA biogenesis that generates the amino acid attachment site. We found that the CCA-adding enzyme plays a key role in tRNA quality control by selectively marking structurally unstable tRNAs and tRNA-like small RNAs for degradation. Instead of adding CCA to the 3' ends of these transcripts, CCA-adding enzymes from all three kingdoms of life add CCACCA. In addition, hypomodified mature tRNAs are subjected to CCACCA addition as part of a rapid tRNA decay pathway in vivo. We conjecture that CCACCA addition is a universal mechanism for controlling tRNA levels and preventing errors in translation.
Project description:The CCA-adding enzyme adds CCA to the 3' ends of transfer RNAs (tRNAs), a critical step in tRNA biogenesis that generates the amino acid attachment site. We found that the CCA-adding enzyme plays a key role in tRNA quality control by selectively marking unstable tRNAs and tRNA-like small RNAs for degradation. Instead of adding CCA to the 3' ends of these transcripts, CCA-adding enzymes from all three kingdoms of life add CCACCA. Here, we report deep sequencing analysis of the 3' ends of tRNA-Ser-CGA and tRNA-Ser-UGA from S. cerevisiae strains and show that hypomodified mature tRNAs are subjected to CCACCA (or poly(A) addition) as part of a rapid tRNA decay pathway in vivo. We conjecture that CCACCA addtion is a universal mechanism for controlling tRNA levels and preventing errors in translation. 121 samples analyzed in total, representing time courses of 10 different yeast strains; Biological replicates for each time point are included
Project description:The 3'-termini of tRNA are the point of amino acid linkage and thus crucial for their function in delivering amino acids to the ribosome and other enzymes. Therefore, to provide tRNA functionality, cells have to ensure the integrity of the 3'-terminal CCA-tail, which is generated during maturation by the 3'-trailer processing machinery and maintained by the CCA-adding enzyme. We developed a new tRNA sequencing method that is specifically tailored to assess the 3'-termini of <i>E. coli</i> tRNA. Intriguingly, we found a significant fraction of tRNAs with damaged CCA-tails under exponential growth conditions and, surprisingly, this fraction decreased upon transition into stationary phase. Interestingly, tRNAs bearing guanine as a discriminator base are generally unaffected by CCA-tail damage. In addition, we showed tRNA species-specific 3'-trailer processing patterns and reproduced in vitro findings on preferences of the maturation enzyme RNase T in vivo.
Project description:Showing a high sequence similarity, the evolutionary closely related bacterial poly(A) polymerases (PAP) and CCA-adding enzymes catalyze quite different reactions--PAP adds poly(A) tails to RNA 3'-ends, while CCA-adding enzymes synthesize the sequence CCA at the 3'-terminus of tRNAs. Here, two highly conserved structural elements of the corresponding Escherichia coli enzymes were characterized. The first element is a set of amino acids that was identified in CCA-adding enzymes as a template region determining the enzymes' specificity for CTP and ATP. The same element is also present in PAP, where it confers ATP specificity. The second investigated region corresponds to a flexible loop in CCA-adding enzymes and is involved in the incorporation of the terminal A-residue. Although, PAP seems to carry a similar flexible region, the functional relevance of this element in PAP is not known. The presented results show that the template region has an essential function in both enzymes, while the second element is surprisingly dispensable in PAP. The data support the idea that the bacterial PAP descends from CCA-adding enzymes and still carries some of the structural elements required for CCA-addition as an evolutionary relic and is now fixed in a conformation specific for A-addition.
Project description:For flawless translation of mRNA sequence into protein, tRNAs must undergo a series of essential maturation steps to be properly recognized and aminoacylated by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase, and subsequently utilized by the ribosome. While all tRNAs carry a 3'-terminal CCA sequence that includes the site of aminoacylation, the additional 5'-G-1 position is a unique feature of most histidine tRNA species, serving as an identity element for the corresponding synthetase. In eukaryotes including yeast, both 3'-CCA and 5'-G-1 are added post-transcriptionally by tRNA nucleotidyltransferase and tRNAHis guanylyltransferase, respectively. Hence, it is possible that these two cytosolic enzymes compete for the same tRNA. Here, we investigate substrate preferences associated with CCA and G-1-addition to yeast cytosolic tRNAHis, which might result in a temporal order to these important processing events. We show that tRNA nucleotidyltransferase accepts tRNAHis transcripts independent of the presence of G-1; however, tRNAHis guanylyltransferase clearly prefers a substrate carrying a CCA terminus. Although many tRNA maturation steps can occur in a rather random order, our data demonstrate a likely pathway where CCA-addition precedes G-1 incorporation in S. cerevisiae. Evidently, the 3'-CCA triplet and a discriminator position A73 act as positive elements for G-1 incorporation, ensuring the fidelity of G-1 addition.