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:tRNAs are important players in the protein synthesis machinery, where they act as adapter molecules for translating the mRNA codons into the corresponding amino acid sequence. In a series of highly conserved maturation steps, the primary transcripts are converted into mature tRNAs. In the amoebozoan Acanthamoeba castellanii, a highly unusual evolution of some of these processing steps was identified that are based on unconventional RNA polymerase activities. In this context, we investigated the synthesis of the 3'-terminal CCA-end that is added posttranscriptionally by a specialized polymerase, the tRNA nucleotidyltransferase (CCA-adding enzyme). The majority of eukaryotic organisms carry only a single gene for a CCA-adding enzyme that acts on both the cytosolic and the mitochondrial tRNA pool. In a bioinformatic analysis of the genome of this organism, we identified a surprising multitude of genes for enzymes that contain the active site signature of eukaryotic/eubacterial tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. In vitro activity analyses of these enzymes revealed that two proteins represent bona fide CCA-adding enzymes, one of them carrying an N-terminal sequence corresponding to a putative mitochondrial target signal. The other enzymes have restricted activities and represent CC- and A-adding enzymes, respectively. The A-adding enzyme is of particular interest, as its sequence is closely related to corresponding enzymes from Proteobacteria, indicating a horizontal gene transfer. Interestingly, this unusual diversity of nucleotidyltransferase genes is not restricted to Acanthamoeba castellanii but is also present in other members of the Acanthamoeba genus, indicating an ancient evolutionary trait.
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:tRNAs universally carry a CCA nucleotide triplet at their 3'-ends. In eukaryotes, the CCA is added post-transcriptionally by the CCA-adding enzyme (CAE). The mitochondrion of the parasitic protozoan <i>Trypanosoma brucei</i> lacks tRNA genes and therefore imports all of its tRNAs from the cytosol. This has generated interest in the tRNA modifications and their distribution in this organism, including how CCA is added to tRNAs. Here, using a BLAST search for genes encoding putative CAE proteins in <i>T. brucei</i>, we identified a single ORF, Tb927.9.8780, as a potential candidate. Knockdown of this putative protein, termed TbCAE, resulted in the accumulation of truncated tRNAs, abolished translation, and inhibited both total and mitochondrial CCA-adding activities, indicating that TbCAE is located both in the cytosol and mitochondrion. However, mitochondrially localized tRNAs were much less affected by the TbCAE ablation than the other tRNAs. Complementation assays revealed that the N-terminal 10 amino acids of TbCAE are dispensable for its activity and mitochondrial localization and that deletion of 10 further amino acids abolishes both. A growth arrest caused by the TbCAE knockdown was rescued by the expression of the cytosolic isoform of yeast CAE, even though it was not imported into mitochondria. This finding indicated that the yeast enzyme complements the essential function of TbCAE by adding CCA to the primary tRNA transcripts. Of note, ablation of the mitochondrial TbCAE activity, which likely has a repair function, only marginally affected growth.
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 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.