HK022 Nun Requires Arginine-Rich Motif Residues Distinct from ? N.
ABSTRACT: Bacteriophage ? N protein binds boxB RNA hairpins in the nut (N utilization) sites of immediate early ? transcripts and interacts with host factors to suppress transcriptional termination at downstream terminators. In opposition to ? N, the Nun protein of HK022 binds the boxBs of coinfecting ? transcripts, interacts with a similar or identical set of host factors, and terminates transcription to suppress ? replication. Comparison of N-boxB and Nun-boxB nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structural models suggests similar interactions, though limited mutagenesis of Nun is available. Here, libraries of Nun's arginine-rich motif (ARM) were screened for the ability to exclude ? coinfection, and mutants were assayed for Nun termination with a boxB plasmid reporter system. Several Nun ARM residues appear to be immutable: Asp26, Arg28, Arg29, Arg32, Trp33, and Arg36. Asp26 and Trp33 appear to be unable to contact boxB and are not found at equivalent positions in ? N ARM. To understand if the requirement of Asp26, Trp33, and Arg36 indicated differences between HK022 Nun termination and ? N antitermination complexes, the same Nun libraries were fused to the activation domain of ? N and screened for clones able to complement N-deficient ?. Mutants were assayed for N antitermination. Surprisingly, Asp26 and Trp33 were still essential when Nun ARM was fused to N. Docking suggests that Nun ARM contacts a hydrophobic surface of the NusG carboxy-terminal domain containing residues necessary for Nun function. These findings indicate that Nun ARM relies on distinct contacts in its ternary complex and illustrate how protein-RNA recognition can evolve new regulatory functions.? N protein interacts with host factors to allow ? nut-containing transcripts to elongate past termination signals. A competing bacteriophage, HK022, expresses Nun protein, which causes termination of ? nut transcripts. ? N and HK022 Nun use similar arginine-rich motifs (ARMs) to bind the same boxB RNAs in nut transcripts. Screening libraries of Nun ARM mutants, both in HK022 Nun and in a ? N fusion, revealed amino acids essential to Nun that could bind one or more host factors. Docking suggests that NusG, which is present in both Nun termination and N antitermination, is a plausible partner. These findings could help understand how transcription elongation is regulated and illustrate how subtle differences allow ARMs to evolve new regulatory functions.
Project description:The Nun protein of coliphage HK022 excludes superinfecting lambda phage. Nun recognizes and binds to the N utilization (nut) sites on phage lambda nascent RNA and induces transcription termination. Overexpression of Nun from a high-copy plasmid is toxic for Escherichia coli, despite the fact that nut sites are not encoded in the E. coli genome. Cells expressing Nun cannot exit stationary phase. Toxicity is related to transcription termination, since host and nun mutations that block termination also suppress cell killing. Nun inhibits expression of wild-type lacZ, but not lacZ expressed from the Crp/cAMP-independent lacUV5 promoter. Microarray and proteomic analyses show that Nun down-regulates crp and tnaA. Crp overexpression and high indole concentrations partially reverse Nun-mediated toxicity and restore lacZ expression.
Project description:Antitermination in bacteriophage P22, a lambdoid phage, uses the arginine-rich domain of the N protein to recognize boxB RNAs in the nut site of two regulated transcripts. Using an antitermination reporter system, we screened libraries in which each nonconserved residue in the RNA-binding domain of P22 N was randomized. Mutants were assayed for the ability to complement N-deficient virus and for antitermination with P22 boxB(left) and boxB(right) reporters. Single amino acid substitutions complementing P22 N(-) virus were found at 12 of the 13 positions examined. We found evidence for defined structural roles for seven nonconserved residues, which was generally compatible with the nuclear magnetic resonance model. Interestingly, a histidine can be replaced by any other aromatic residue, although no planar partner is obvious. Few single substitutions showed bias between boxB(left) and boxB(right), suggesting that the two RNAs impose similar constraints on genetic drift. A separate library comprising only hybrids of the RNA-binding domains of P22, lambda, and phi21 N proteins produced mutants that displayed bias. P22 N(-) plaque size plotted against boxB(left) and boxB(right) reporter activities suggests that lytic viral fitness depends on balanced antitermination. A few N proteins were able to complement both lambda N- and P22 N-deficient viruses, but no proteins were found to complement both P22 N- and phi21 N-deficient viruses. A single tryptophan substitution allowed P22 N to complement both P22 and lambda N(-). The existence of relaxed-specificity mutants suggests that conformational plasticity provides evolutionary transitions between distinct modes of RNA-protein recognition.
Project description:NusG is a conserved regulatory protein that interacts with elongation complexes (ECs) of RNA polymerase, DNA, and RNA to modulate transcription in multiple and sometimes opposite ways. In Escherichia coli, NusG suppresses pausing and increases elongation rate, enhances termination by E. coli rho and phage HK022 Nun protein, and promotes antitermination by lambdaN and in ribosomal RNA operons. We report NMR studies that suggest that E. coli NusG consists of two largely independent N- and C-terminal structural domains, NTD and CTD, respectively. Based on tests of the functions of the NTD and CTD and variants of NusG in vivo and in vitro, we find that NTD alone is sufficient to suppress pausing and enhance transcript elongation in vitro. However, neither domain alone can enhance rho-dependent termination or support antitermination, indicating that interactions of both domains with ECs are required for these processes. We propose that the two domains of NusG mediate distinct interactions with ECs: the NTD interacts with RNA polymerase and the CTD interacts with rho and other regulators, providing NusG with different combinations of interactions to effect different regulatory outcomes.
Project description:The Nun protein of coliphage HK022 arrests RNA polymerase (RNAP) in vivo and in vitro at pause sites distal to phage ? N-Utilization (nut) site RNA sequences. We tested the activity of Nun on ternary elongation complexes (TECs) assembled with templates lacking the ? nut sequence. We report that Nun stabilizes both translocation states of RNAP by restricting lateral movement of TEC along the DNA register. When Nun stabilized TEC in a pretranslocated register, immediately after NMP incorporation, it prevented binding of the next NTP and stimulated pyrophosphorolysis of the nascent transcript. In contrast, stabilization of TEC by Nun in a posttranslocated register allowed NTP binding and nucleotidyl transfer but inhibited pyrophosphorolysis and the next round of forward translocation. Nun binding to and action on the TEC requires a 9-bp RNA-DNA hybrid. We observed a Nun-dependent toe print upstream to the TEC. In addition, mutations in the RNAP ?' subunit near the upstream end of the transcription bubble suppress Nun binding and arrest. These results suggest that Nun interacts with RNAP near the 5' edge of the RNA-DNA hybrid. By stabilizing translocation states through restriction of TEC lateral mobility, Nun represents a novel class of transcription arrest factors.
Project description:Transcription antitermination in phages lambda and P22 uses N proteins that bind to similar boxB RNA hairpins in regulated transcripts. In contrast to the lambda N-boxB interaction, the P22 N-boxB interaction has not been extensively studied. A nuclear magnetic resonance structure of the P22 N peptide boxB(left) complex and limited mutagenesis have been reported but do not reveal a consensus sequence for boxB. We have used a plasmid-based antitermination system to screen boxBs with random loops and to test boxB mutants. We find that P22 N requires boxB to have a GNRA-like loop with no simple requirements on the remaining sequences in the loop or stem. U:A or A:U base pairs are strongly preferred adjacent to the loop and appear to modulate N binding in cooperation with the loop and distal stem. A few GNRA-like hexaloops have moderate activity. Some boxB mutants bind P22 and lambda N, indicating that the requirements imposed on boxB by P22 N overlap those imposed by lambda N. Point mutations can dramatically alter boxB specificity between P22 and lambda N. A boxB specific for P22 N can be mutated to lambda N specificity by a series of single mutations via a bifunctional intermediate, as predicted by neutral theories of evolution.
Project description:NusA is a key regulator of bacterial transcriptional elongation, pausing, termination and antitermination, yet relatively little is known about the molecular basis of its activity in these fundamental processes. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, NusA has been shown to bind with high affinity and specificity to BoxB-BoxA-BoxC antitermination sequences within the leader region of the single ribosomal RNA (rRNA) operon. We have determined high-resolution X-ray structures of a complex of NusA with two short oligo-ribonucleotides derived from the BoxC stem-loop motif and have characterised the interaction of NusA with a variety of RNAs derived from the antitermination region. These structures reveal the RNA bound in an extended conformation to a large interacting surface on both KH domains. Combining structural data with observed spectral and calorimetric changes, we now show that NusA binding destabilises secondary structure within rRNA antitermination sequences and propose a model where NusA functions as a chaperone for nascently forming RNA structures.
Project description:We describe a mechanism by which nascent RNA inhibits transcriptional pausing. PutL RNA of bacteriophage HK022 suppresses transcription termination at downstream terminators and pausing within a nearby U-rich sequence. In vitro transcription and footprinting assays reveal that this pausing results from backtracking of RNA polymerase and that binding of nascent putL RNA to polymerase limits backtracking by restricting re-entry of the transcript into the RNA exit channel. The restriction is local and relaxes as the transcript elongates. Our results suggest that putL RNA binds to the surface of polymerase close to the RNA exit channel, a region that includes amino acid residues important for antitermination. Although binding is essential for antipausing and antitermination, these two activities of put differ: antipausing is limited to the immediate vicinity of the putL site, but antitermination is not. We propose that RNA anchoring to the elongation complex is a widespread mechanism of pause regulation.
Project description:Coliphage HK022 Nun blocks superinfection by coliphage ? by stalling RNA polymerase (RNAP) translocation specifically on ? DNA. To provide a structural framework to understand how Nun blocks RNAP translocation, we determined structures of Escherichia coli RNAP ternary elongation complexes (TECs) with and without Nun by single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. Nun fits tightly into the TEC by taking advantage of gaps between the RNAP and the nucleic acids. The C-terminal segment of Nun interacts with the RNAP ? and ?' subunits inside the RNAP active site cleft as well as with nearly every element of the nucleic acid scaffold, essentially crosslinking the RNAP and the nucleic acids to prevent translocation, a mechanism supported by the effects of Nun amino acid substitutions. The nature of Nun interactions inside the RNAP active site cleft suggests that RNAP clamp opening is required for Nun to establish its interactions, explaining why Nun acts on paused TECs.
Project description:Processive transcription antitermination requires the assembly of the complete antitermination complex, which is initiated by the formation of the ternary NusB-NusE-BoxA RNA complex. We have elucidated the crystal structure of this complex, demonstrating that the BoxA RNA is composed of 8?nt that are recognized by the NusB-NusE heterodimer. Functional biologic and biophysical data support the structural observations and establish the relative significance of key protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions. Further crystallographic investigation of a NusB-NusE-dsRNA complex reveals a heretofore unobserved dsRNA binding site contiguous with the BoxA binding site. We propose that the observed dsRNA represents BoxB RNA, as both single-stranded BoxA and double-stranded BoxB components are present in the classical lambda antitermination site. Combining these data with known interactions amongst antitermination factors suggests a specific model for the assembly of the complete antitermination complex.
Project description:Bacteriophage O276 is a laboratory-generated hybrid that carries the immunity region of bacteriophage HK022 and all remaining genes from phage ?. Its construction was instrumental in the discovery of RNA-mediated antitermination, an intriguing alternative to the protein-mediated mechanism of transcription antitermination found in most lambdoid phages.