A trans-dominant form of Gag restricts Ty1 retrotransposition and mediates copy number control.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces paradoxus lack the conserved RNA interference pathway and utilize a novel form of copy number control (CNC) to inhibit Ty1 retrotransposition. Although noncoding transcripts have been implicated in CNC, here we present evidence that a truncated form of the Gag capsid protein (p22) or its processed form (p18) is necessary and sufficient for CNC and likely encoded by Ty1 internal transcripts. Coexpression of p22/p18 and Ty1 decreases mobility more than 30,000-fold. p22/p18 cofractionates with Ty1 virus-like particles (VLPs) and affects VLP yield, protein composition, and morphology. Although p22/p18 and Gag colocalize in the cytoplasm, p22/p18 disrupts sites used for VLP assembly. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) affinity pulldowns also suggest that p18 and Gag interact. Therefore, this intrinsic Gag-like restriction factor confers CNC by interfering with VLP assembly and function and expands the strategies used to limit retroelement propagation. IMPORTANCE:Retrotransposons dominate the chromosomal landscape in many eukaryotes, can cause mutations by insertion or genome rearrangement, and are evolutionarily related to retroviruses such as HIV. Thus, understanding factors that limit transposition and retroviral replication is fundamentally important. The present work describes a retrotransposon-encoded restriction protein derived from the capsid gene of the yeast Ty1 element that disrupts virus-like particle assembly in a dose-dependent manner. This form of copy number control acts as a molecular rheostat, allowing high levels of retrotransposition when few Ty1 elements are present and inhibiting transposition as copy number increases. Thus, yeast and Ty1 have coevolved a form of copy number control that is beneficial to both "host and parasite." To our knowledge, this is the first Gag-like retrotransposon restriction factor described in the literature and expands the ways in which restriction proteins modulate retroelement replication.
Project description:A novel form of copy number control (CNC) helps maintain a low number of Ty1 retrovirus-like transposons in the Saccharomyces genome. Ty1 produces an alternative transcript that encodes p22, a trans-dominant negative inhibitor of Ty1 retrotransposition whose sequence is identical to the C-terminal half of Gag. The level of p22 increases with copy number and inhibits normal Ty1 virus-like particle (VLP) assembly and maturation through interactions with full length Gag. A forward genetic screen for CNC-resistant (CNCR) mutations in Ty1 identified missense mutations in GAG that restore retrotransposition in the presence of p22. Some of these mutations map within a predicted UBN2 domain found throughout the Ty1/copia family of long terminal repeat retrotransposons, and others cluster within a central region of Gag that is referred to as the CNCR domain. We generated multiple alignments of yeast Ty1-like Gag proteins and found that some Gag proteins, including those of the related Ty2 elements, contain non-Ty1 residues at multiple CNCR sites. Interestingly, the Ty2-917 element is resistant to p22 and does not undergo a Ty1-like form of CNC. Substitutions conferring CNCR map within predicted helices in Ty1 Gag that overlap with conserved sequence in Ty1/copia, suggesting that p22 disturbs a central function of the capsid during VLP assembly. When hydrophobic residues within predicted helices in Gag are mutated, Gag level remains unaffected in most cases yet VLP assembly and maturation is abnormal. Gag CNCR mutations do not alter binding to p22 as determined by co-immunoprecipitation analyses, but instead, exclude p22 from Ty1 VLPs. These findings suggest that the CNCR alleles enhance retrotransposition in the presence of p22 by allowing productive Gag-Gag interactions during VLP assembly. Our work also expands the strategies used by retroviruses for developing resistance to Gag-like restriction factors to now include retrotransposons.
Project description:Ty1 is a long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposon belonging to the Ty1/copia family and is present in up to 32 full-length copies in Saccharomyces. Like retroviruses, Ty1 contains GAG and POL genes, LTRs, and replicates via an RNA intermediate within a virus-like particle (VLP). Although Ty1 retrotransposition is not infectious, uncontrolled replication can lead to detrimental effects on the host genome, including insertional mutagenesis and chromosomal rearrangements. Ty1 copy number control (CNC) limits replication and is mediated through a self-encoded protein called p22. p22 is translated from a subgenomic Ty1 RNA and encodes an amino-truncated version of the Gag protein. We highlight a recent study identifying Ty1 Gag, which comprises the VLP capsid and provides nucleic acid chaperone functions, as a direct target of p22-mediated inhibition. CNC-resistant (CNCR) mutations map within predicted helical domains of Gag, including those in the Ty1/copia pfam domain Retrotran_gag_2 (formerly UBN2) and a central region we refer to as the CNCR domain. CNCR Gag forms VLPs that exclude p22, thus restoring Ty1 replication. We discuss possible mechanisms for p22 inclusion in Ty1 VLPs and compare Ty1 CNC with retroviral restriction factors targeting capsid (CA).
Project description:Transposons can impact the host genome by altering gene expression and participating in chromosome rearrangements. Therefore, organisms evolved different ways to minimize the level of transposition. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its close relative S. paradoxus, Ty1 copy number control (CNC) is mediated by the self-encoded restriction factor p22, which is derived from the GAG capsid gene and inhibits virus-like particle (VLP) assembly and function. Based on secondary screens of Ty1 cofactors, we identified LOC1, a RNA localization/ribosome biogenesis gene that affects Ty1 mobility predominantly in strains harboring Ty1 elements. Ribosomal protein mutants rps0b? and rpl7a? displayed similar CNC-specific phenotypes as loc1?, suggesting that ribosome biogenesis is critical for CNC. The level of Ty1 mRNA and Ty1 internal (Ty1i) transcripts encoding p22 was altered in these mutants, and displayed a trend where the level of Ty1i RNA increased relative to full-length Ty1 mRNA. The level of p22 increased in these mutants, and the half-life of p22 also increased in a loc1? mutant. Transcriptomic analyses revealed small changes in the level of Ty1 transcripts or efficiency of translation initiation in a loc1? mutant. Importantly, a loc1? mutant had defects in assembly of Gag complexes and packaging Ty1 RNA. Our results indicate that defective ribosome biogenesis enhances CNC by increasing the level of p22, and raise the possibility for versatile links between VLP assembly, its cytoplasmic environment, and a novel stress response.
Project description:Ty1 Gag comprises the capsid of virus-like particles and provides nucleic acid chaperone (NAC) functions during retrotransposition in budding yeast. A subgenomic Ty1 mRNA encodes a truncated Gag protein (p22) that is cleaved by Ty1 protease to form p18. p22/p18 strongly inhibits transposition and can be considered an element-encoded restriction factor. Here, we show that only p22 and its short derivatives restrict Ty1 mobility whereas other regions of GAG inhibit mobility weakly if at all. Mutational analyses suggest that p22/p18 is synthesized from either of two closely spaced AUG codons. Interestingly, AUG1p18 and AUG2p18 proteins display different properties, even though both contain a region crucial for RNA binding and NAC activity. AUG1p18 shows highly reduced NAC activity but specific binding to Ty1 RNA, whereas AUG2p18 shows the converse behavior. p22/p18 affects RNA encapsidation and a mutant derivative defective for RNA binding inhibits the RNA chaperone activity of the C-terminal region (CTR) of Gag-p45. Moreover, affinity pulldowns show that p18 and the CTR interact. These results support the idea that one aspect of Ty1 restriction involves inhibition of Gag-p45 NAC functions by p22/p18-Gag interactions.
Project description:Excessive replication of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ty1 retrotransposons is regulated by Copy Number Control, a process requiring the p22/p18 protein produced from a sub-genomic transcript initiated within Ty1 GAG. In retrotransposition, Gag performs the capsid functions required for replication and re-integration. To minimize genomic damage, p22/p18 interrupts virus-like particle function by interaction with Gag. Here, we present structural, biophysical and genetic analyses of p18m, a minimal fragment of Gag that restricts transposition. The 2.8 Å crystal structure of p18m reveals an all α-helical protein related to mammalian and insect ARC proteins. p18m retains the capacity to dimerise in solution and the crystal structures reveal two exclusive dimer interfaces. We probe our findings through biophysical analysis of interface mutants as well as Ty1 transposition and p18m restriction in vivo. Our data provide insight into Ty1 Gag structure and suggest how p22/p18 might function in restriction through a blocking-of-assembly mechanism.
Project description:Transposable elements constitute a large fraction of most eukaryotic genomes. Insertion of mobile DNA sequences typically has deleterious effects on host fitness, and thus diverse mechanisms have evolved to control mobile element proliferation. Mobility of the Ty1 retrotransposon in Saccharomyces yeasts is regulated by copy number control (CNC) mediated by a self-encoded restriction factor derived from the Ty1 gag capsid gene that inhibits virus-like particle function. Here, we survey a panel of wild and human-associated strains of S. cerevisiae and S. paradoxus to investigate how genomic Ty1 content influences variation in Ty1 mobility. We observe high levels of mobility for a tester element with a gag sequence from the canonical Ty1 subfamily in permissive strains that either lack full-length Ty1 elements or only contain full-length copies of the Ty1' subfamily that have a divergent gag sequence. In contrast, low levels of canonical Ty1 mobility are observed in restrictive strains carrying full-length Ty1 elements containing a canonical gag sequence. Phylogenomic analysis of full-length Ty1 elements revealed that Ty1' is the ancestral subfamily present in wild strains of S. cerevisiae, and that canonical Ty1 in S. cerevisiae is a derived subfamily that acquired gag from S. paradoxus by horizontal transfer and recombination. Our results provide evidence that variation in the ability of S. cerevisiae and S. paradoxus strains to repress canonical Ty1 transposition via CNC is regulated by the genomic content of different Ty1 subfamilies, and that self-encoded forms of transposon control can spread across species boundaries by horizontal transfer.
Project description:The long-terminal repeat retrotransposon Ty1 is the most abundant mobile genetic element in many Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates. Ty1 retrotransposons contribute to the genetic diversity of host cells, but they can also act as an insertional mutagen and cause genetic instability. Interestingly, retrotransposition occurs at a low level despite a high level of Ty1 RNA, even though S. cerevisiae lacks the intrinsic defense mechanisms that other eukaryotes use to prevent transposon movement. p22 is a recently discovered Ty1 protein that inhibits retrotransposition in a dose-dependent manner. p22 is a truncated form of Gag encoded by internally initiated Ty1i RNA that contains two closely-spaced AUG codons. Mutations of either AUG codon compromise p22 translation. We found that both AUG codons were utilized and that translation efficiency depended on the Ty1i RNA structure. Structural features that stimulated p22 translation were context dependent and present only in Ty1i RNA. Destabilization of the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) of Ty1i RNA decreased the p22 level, both in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest that protein factors such as Gag could contribute to the stability and translational activity of Ty1i RNA through specific interactions with structural motifs in the RNA.
Project description:Retrotransposon and retroviral RNA delivery to particle assembly sites is essential for their replication. mRNA and Gag from the Ty1 retrotransposon colocalize in cytoplasmic foci, which are required for transposition and may be the sites for virus-like particle (VLP) assembly. To determine which Ty1 components are required to form mRNA/Gag foci, localization studies were performed in a Ty1-less strain expressing galactose-inducible Ty1 plasmids (pGTy1) containing mutations in GAG or POL. Ty1 mRNA/Gag foci remained unaltered in mutants defective in Ty1 protease (PR) or deleted for POL. However, Ty1 mRNA containing a frameshift mutation (Ty1fs) that prevents the synthesis of all proteins accumulated in the nucleus. Ty1fs RNA showed a decrease in stability that was mediated by the cytoplasmic exosome, nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) and the processing body. Localization of Ty1fs RNA remained unchanged in an nmd2? mutant. When Gag and Ty1fs mRNA were expressed independently, Gag provided in trans increased Ty1fs RNA level and restored localization of Ty1fs RNA in cytoplasmic foci. Endogenously expressed Gag also localized to the nuclear periphery independent of RNA export. These results suggest that Gag is required for Ty1 mRNA stability, efficient nuclear export and localization into cytoplasmic foci.
Project description:A universal feature of retroelement propagation is the formation of distinct nucleoprotein complexes mediated by the Gag capsid protein. The Ty1 retrotransposon Gag protein from <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i> lacks sequence homology with retroviral Gag, but is functionally related. In addition to capsid assembly functions, Ty1 Gag promotes Ty1 RNA dimerization and cyclization and initiation of reverse transcription. Direct interactions between Gag and retrotransposon genomic RNA (gRNA) are needed for Ty1 replication, and mutations in the RNA-binding domain disrupt nucleation of retrosomes and assembly of functional virus-like particles (VLPs). Unlike retroviral Gag, the specificity of Ty1 Gag-RNA interactions remain poorly understood. Here we use microscale thermophoresis (MST) and electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) to analyze interactions of immature and mature Ty1 Gag with RNAs. The salt-dependent experiments showed that Ty1 Gag binds with high and similar affinity to different RNAs. However, we observed a preferential interaction between Ty1 Gag and Ty1 RNA containing a packaging signal (Psi) in RNA competition analyses. We also uncover a relationship between Ty1 RNA structure and Gag binding involving the pseudoknot present on Ty1 gRNA. In all likelihood, the differences in Gag binding affinity detected in vitro only partially explain selective Ty1 RNA packaging into VLPs in vivo.
Project description:The genomic RNA of retroviruses and retrovirus-like transposons must be sequestered from the cellular translational machinery so that it can be packaged into viral particles. Eukaryotic mRNA processing bodies (P bodies) play a central role in segregating cellular mRNAs from the translational machinery for storage or decay. In this work, we provide evidence that the RNA of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ty1 retrotransposon is packaged into virus-like particles (VLPs) in P bodies. Ty1 RNA is translationally repressed, and Ty1 Gag, the capsid and RNA binding protein, accumulates in discrete cytoplasmic foci, a subset of which localize to P bodies. Human APOBEC3G, a potent Ty1 restriction factor that is packaged into Ty1 VLPs via an interaction with Gag, also localizes to P bodies. The association of APOBEC3G with P bodies does not require Ty1 element expression, suggesting that P-body localization of APOBEC3G and Ty1 Gag precedes VLP assembly. Additionally, we report that two P-body-associated 5' to 3' mRNA decay pathways, deadenylation-dependent mRNA decay (DDD) and nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), stimulate Ty1 retrotransposition. The additive contributions of DDD and NMD explain the strong requirement for general 5' to 3' mRNA degradation factors Dcp1, Dcp2, and Xrn1 in Ty1 retromobility. 5' to 3' decay factors act at a posttranslational step in retrotransposition, and Ty1 RNA packaging into VLPs is abolished in the absence of the 5' to 3' exonuclease Xrn1. Together, the results suggest that VLPs assemble in P bodies and that 5' to 3' mRNA decay is essential for the packaging of Ty1 RNA in VLPs.