Identifying mRNA sequence elements for target recognition by human Argonaute proteins.
ABSTRACT: It is commonly known that mammalian microRNAs (miRNAs) guide the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) to target mRNAs through the seed-pairing rule. However, recent experiments that coimmunoprecipitate the Argonaute proteins (AGOs), the central catalytic component of RISC, have consistently revealed extensive AGO-associated mRNAs that lack seed complementarity with miRNAs. We herein test the hypothesis that AGO has its own binding preference within target mRNAs, independent of guide miRNAs. By systematically analyzing the data from in vivo cross-linking experiments with human AGOs, we have identified a structurally accessible and evolutionarily conserved region (?10 nucleotides in length) that alone can accurately predict AGO-mRNA associations, independent of the presence of miRNA binding sites. Within this region, we further identified an enriched motif that was replicable on independent AGO-immunoprecipitation data sets. We used RNAcompete to enumerate the RNA-binding preference of human AGO2 to all possible 7-mer RNA sequences and validated the AGO motif in vitro. These findings reveal a novel function of AGOs as sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins, which may aid miRNAs in recognizing their targets with high specificity.
Project description:It is commonly known that mammalian microRNAs guide the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) to target mRNAs through the seed-pairing rule. However, recent experiments by co-immunoprecipitating the argonaute proteins (AGOs), the central catalytic component of RISC, have consistently revealed extensive AGO-associated mRNAs lacking seed complementarity with microRNAs. We herein test the hypothesis that AGO has its own binding preference within target mRNAs, independent of guide microRNAs. By systematically analyzing the data from in vivo cross-linking experiments with human AGOs, we have identified a structurally accessible and evolutionarily conserved region (~10 nucleotides) that alone can accurately predict AGO-mRNA associations, independent of the presence of microRNA binding sites. Within this region, we further identified an enriched motif that is also consistently present in several independent AGO-immunoprecipitation datasets. We used RNAcompete to enumerate the RNA-binding preference of human AGO2 to all possible 7-mer RNA sequences, and validated our motif in vitro. These findings reveal a novel function of AGOs as sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins, which may aid microRNAs in recognizing their targets with high specificity. Here, we analyze the RNA-binding preference of human Argonaute 2 protein using RNAcompete assay
Project description:RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) is composed of miRNAs and AGO proteins. AGOs use miRNAs as guides to slice target mRNAs to produce truncated 5' and 3' RNA fragments. The 5' cleaved RNA fragments are marked with uridylation for degradation. Here, we identified novel cofactors of Arabidopsis AGOs, named RICE1 and RICE2. RICE proteins specifically degraded single-strand (ss) RNAs in vitro; but neither miRNAs nor miRNA*s in vivo. RICE1 exhibited a DnaQ-like exonuclease fold and formed a homohexamer with the active sites located at the interfaces between RICE1 subunits. Notably, ectopic expression of catalytically-inactive RICE1 not only significantly reduced miRNA levels; but also increased 5' cleavage RISC fragments with extended uridine tails. We conclude that RICEs act to degrade uridylated 5' products of AGO cleavage to maintain functional RISC. Our study also suggests a possible link between decay of cleaved target mRNAs and miRNA stability in RISC.
Project description:Small RNAs regulate the genetic networks through a ribonucleoprotein complex called the RNA induced silencing complexes (RISC), which in mammals contains at its center one of four Argonaute proteins (Ago1-4). A key regulatory event in the RNAi and miRNA pathways is Ago loading, where double stranded small RNA duplexes are incorporated into RISC (pre-RISC) and then become single stranded (mature-RISC), a process that is not well understood. The Agos contain an evolutionary conserved PAZ (Piwi/Argonaute/Zwille) domain whose primary function is to bind the 3’-end of small RNAs. We created multiple Paz domain disrupted Ago mutant proteins and studied their biochemical properties and biological functionality in cells. We found that the Paz domain is dispensable for Ago loading of slicing-competent RISC. In contrast, in the absence of slicer activity or slicer substrate duplex RNAs, Paz-disrupted Agos bound duplex siRNAs but were unable to unwind/eject the passenger strand and form functional RISC complexes. We have discovered that the highly conserved Paz domain plays an important role in RISC activation, providing new mechanistic insights into how miRNAs regulate genes, as well as new insights for future design of miRNA and RNAi-based therapeutics. Various Argonautes associated small RNA profiles were generated by deep sequencing the Agos-IP samples in HEK293 Cells transfected with corresponding Argonaute.
Project description:Small RNAs regulate genetic networks through a ribonucleoprotein complex called the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which, in mammals, contains at its center one of four Argonaute proteins (Ago1-Ago4). A key regulatory event in the RNA interference (RNAi) and microRNA (miRNA) pathways is Ago loading, wherein double-stranded small-RNA duplexes are incorporated into RISC (pre-RISC) and then become single-stranded (mature RISC), a process that is not well understood. The Agos contain an evolutionarily conserved PAZ (Piwi/Argonaute/Zwille) domain whose primary function is to bind the 3' end of small RNAs. We created multiple PAZ-domain-disrupted mutant Ago proteins and studied their biochemical properties and biological functionality in cells. We found that the PAZ domain is dispensable for Ago loading of slicing-competent RISC. In contrast, in the absence of slicer activity or slicer-substrate duplex RNAs, PAZ-disrupted Agos bound duplex small interfering RNAs, but were unable to unwind or eject the passenger strand and form functional RISC complexes. We have discovered that the highly conserved PAZ domain plays an important role in RISC activation, providing new mechanistic insights into how miRNAs regulate genes, as well as new insights for future design of miRNA- and RNAi-based therapeutics.
Project description:Argonaute proteins (AGOs) play crucial roles in RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) formation and activity. AGOs loaded with small RNA molecules (miRNA or siRNA) either catalyze endoribonucleolytic cleavage of target RNAs or recruit factors responsible for translational silencing and target destabilization. miRNAs are well characterized and broadly studied in tumorigenesis; nevertheless, the functions of the AGOs in cancers have lagged behind. Here, we discuss the current state of knowledge on the role of AGOs in tumorigenesis, highlighting canonical and non-canonical functions of AGOs in cancer cells, as well as the biomarker potential of AGO expression in different of tumor types. Furthermore, we point to the possible application of the AGOs in development of novel therapeutic approaches.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Micro (mi)RNAs are important regulators of plant development. Across plant lineages, Dicer-like 1 (DCL1) proteins process long ds-like structures to produce micro (mi) RNA duplexes in a stepwise manner. These miRNAs are incorporated into Argonaute (AGO) proteins and influence expression of RNAs that have sequence complementarity with miRNAs. Expression levels of AGOs are greatly regulated by plants in order to minimize unwarranted perturbations using miRNAs to target mRNAs coding for AGOs. AGOs may also have high promoter specificity-sometimes expression of AGO can be limited to just a few cells in a plant. Viral pathogens utilize various means to counter antiviral roles of AGOs including hijacking the host encoded miRNAs to target AGOs. Two host encoded miRNAs namely miR168 and miR403 that target AGOs have been described in the model plant Arabidopsis and such a mechanism is thought to be well conserved across plants because AGO sequences are well conserved. RESULTS: We show that the interaction between AGO mRNAs and miRNAs is species-specific due to the diversity in sequences of two miRNAs that target AGOs, sequence diversity among corresponding target regions in AGO mRNAs and variable expression levels of these miRNAs among vascular plants. We used miRNA sequences from 68 plant species representing 31 plant families for this analysis. Sequences of miR168 and miR403 are not conserved among plant lineages, but surprisingly they differ drastically in their sequence diversity and expression levels even among closely related plants. Variation in miR168 expression among plants correlates well with secondary structures/length of loop sequences of their precursors. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicates a complex AGO targeting interaction among plant lineages due to miRNA sequence diversity and sequences of miRNA targeting regions among AGO mRNAs, thus leading to the assumption that the perturbations by viruses that use host miRNAs to target antiviral AGOs can only be species-specific. We also show that rapid evolution and likely loss of expression of miR168 isoforms in tobacco is related to the insertion of MITE-like transposons between miRNA and miRNA* sequences, a possible mechanism showing how miRNAs are lost in few plant lineages even though other close relatives have abundantly expressing miRNAs.
Project description:MicroRNAs and siRNAs interact with target sequences in mRNAs, inducing cleavage- and non-cleavage-based gene repression through the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) that consists of one of four mammalian Argonaute proteins, Ago1-Ago4. The process of how Dicer substrate small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) are loaded into different mammalian Agos in vivo is not well established. Here we report that shRNAs are loaded into mammalian Agos in two stepwise processes, physical association and activation, with the latter being the rate-limiting step with noncleaving RISC. We establish that, although RNA duplexes processed from shRNAs bind to Agos in cells with similar affinity, the degree by which the complexes are activated (coupled with the removal of the passenger strand) correlates with the thermodynamic instability of RNA duplexes being loaded rather than the structure of the RNA, as was previously demonstrated in Drosophila. Interestingly, Ago loading of siRNAs is less sensitive to thermostability than that of their shRNA equivalents. These results may have important implications for the future design of RNAi-based therapeutics.
Project description:It has previously been assumed that the generally high stability of microRNAs (miRNAs) reflects their tight association with Argonaute (Ago) proteins, essential components of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). However, recent data have suggested that the majority of mature miRNAs are not, in fact, Ago associated. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous human miRNAs vary widely, by >100-fold, in their level of RISC association and show that the level of Ago binding is a better indicator of inhibitory potential than is the total level of miRNA expression. While miRNAs of closely similar sequence showed comparable levels of RISC association in the same cell line, these varied between different cell types. Moreover, the level of RISC association could be modulated by overexpression of complementary target mRNAs. Together, these data indicate that the level of RISC association of a given endogenous miRNA is regulated by the available RNA targetome and predicts miRNA function.
Project description:RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) plays a critical role in small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNAs (miRNA) pathways. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that the major RISC members (AGO, DICER, TRBP, PACT and GW182) represent expression discrepancies or multiple orthologues/paralogues in different species. To elucidate their evolutionary characteristics, an integrated evolutionary analysis was performed. Here, animal and plant AGOs were divided into three classes (multifunctional AGOs, siRNA-associated AGOs and piRNA-associated AGOs for animal AGOs and multifunctional AGOs, siRNA-associated AGOs and complementary functioning AGOs for plant AGOs). Animal and plant DICERs were grouped into one class (multifunctional DICERs) and two classes (multifunctional DICERs and siRNA-associated DICERs), respectively. Protista/fungi AGOs or DICERs were specifically associated with the siRNA pathway. Additionally, TRBP/PACT/GW182 were identified only in animals, and all of them functioned in the miRNA pathway. Mammalian AGOs, animal DICERs and chordate TRBP/PACT were found to be monophyletic. A large number of gene duplications were identified in AGO and DICER groups. Taken together, we provide a comprehensive evolutionary analysis, describe a phylogenetic tree-based classification of the major RISC members and quantify their gene duplication events. These findings are potentially useful for classifying RISCs, optimizing species-specific RISCs and developing research model organisms.
Project description:The assembly of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) is a key process in small RNA-mediated gene silencing. In humans, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) are incorporated into RISCs containing the Argonaute (AGO) subfamily proteins Ago1-4. Previous studies have proposed that, unlike Drosophila melanogaster RISC assembly pathways, human RISC assembly is coupled with dicing and is independent of ATP. Here we show by careful reexamination that, in humans, RISC assembly and dicing are uncoupled, and ATP greatly facilitates RISC loading of small-RNA duplexes. Moreover, all four human AGO proteins show remarkably similar structural preferences for small-RNA duplexes: central mismatches promote RISC loading, and seed or 3'-mid (guide position 12-15) mismatches facilitate unwinding. All these features of human AGO proteins are highly reminiscent of fly Ago1 but not fly Ago2.