The RNA helicase DHX34 functions as a scaffold for SMG1-mediated UPF1 phosphorylation.
ABSTRACT: Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a messenger RNA quality-control pathway triggered by SMG1-mediated phosphorylation of the NMD factor UPF1. In recent times, the RNA helicase DHX34 was found to promote mRNP remodelling, leading to activation of NMD. Here we demonstrate the mechanism by which DHX34 functions in concert with SMG1. DHX34 comprises two distinct structural units, a core that binds UPF1 and a protruding carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) that binds the SMG1 kinase, as shown using truncated forms of DHX34 and electron microscopy of the SMG1-DHX34 complex. Truncation of the DHX34 CTD does not affect binding to UPF1; however, it compromises DHX34 binding to SMG1 to affect UPF1 phosphorylation and hence abrogate NMD. Altogether, these data suggest the existence of a complex comprising SMG1, UPF1 and DHX34, with DHX34 functioning as a scaffold for UPF1 and SMG1. This complex promotes UPF1 phosphorylation leading to functional NMD.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a surveillance mechanism that degrades aberrant mRNAs. A complex comprising SMG1, UPF1, and the translation termination factors eRF1 and eRF3 (SURF) is assembled in the vicinity of a premature termination codon. Subsequently, an interaction with UPF2, UPF3b, and the exon junction complex induces the formation of the decay-inducing complex (DECID) and triggers NMD. We previously identified the RNA helicase DHX34 as an NMD factor in C. elegans and in vertebrates. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which DHX34 activates NMD in human cells. We show that DHX34 is recruited to the SURF complex via its preferential interaction with hypophosphorylated UPF1. A series of molecular transitions induced by DHX34 include enhanced recruitment of UPF2, increased UPF1 phosphorylation, and dissociation of eRF3 from UPF1. Thus, DHX34 promotes mRNP remodeling and triggers the conversion from the SURF complex to the DECID complex resulting in NMD activation.
Project description:PI3K-related kinases (PIKKs) are large Serine/Threonine (Ser/Thr)-protein kinases central to the regulation of many fundamental cellular processes. PIKK family member SMG1 orchestrates progression of an RNA quality control pathway, termed nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), by phosphorylating the NMD factor UPF1. Phosphorylation of UPF1 occurs in its unstructured N- and C-terminal regions at Serine/Threonine-Glutamine (SQ) motifs. How SMG1 and other PIKKs specifically recognize SQ motifs has remained unclear. Here, we present a cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) reconstruction of a human SMG1-8-9 kinase complex bound to a UPF1 phosphorylation site at an overall resolution of 2.9 Å. This structure provides the first snapshot of a human PIKK with a substrate-bound active site. Together with biochemical assays, it rationalizes how SMG1 and perhaps other PIKKs specifically phosphorylate Ser/Thr-containing motifs with a glutamine residue at position +1 and a hydrophobic residue at position -1, thus elucidating the molecular basis for phosphorylation site recognition.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an mRNA surveillance mechanism that in mammals generally occurs upon recognition of a premature termination codon (PTC) during a pioneer round of translation. This round involves newly synthesized mRNA that is bound at its 5' end by the cap-binding protein (CBP) heterodimer CBP80-CBP20. Here we show that precluding the binding of the NMD factor UPF1 to CBP80 inhibits NMD at two steps: the association of SMG1 and UPF1 with the two eukaryotic release factors (eRFs) during SURF complex formation at a PTC, and the subsequent association of SMG1 and UPF1 with an exon-junction complex. We also demonstrate that UPF1 binds PTC-containing mRNA more efficiently than the corresponding PTC-free mRNA in a way that is promoted by the UPF1-CBP80 interaction. A unifying model proposes a choreographed series of protein-protein interactions occurring on an NMD target.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) represents a key mechanism to control the expression of wild-type and aberrant mRNAs. Phosphorylation of the protein UPF1 in the context of translation termination contributes to committing mRNAs to NMD. We report that translation termination is inhibited by UPF1 and stimulated by cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding protein (PABPC1). UPF1 binds to eRF1 and to the GTPase domain of eRF3 both in its GTP- and GDP-bound states. Importantly, mutation studies show that UPF1 can interact with the exon junction complex (EJC) alternatively through either UPF2 or UPF3b to become phosphorylated and to activate NMD. On this basis, we discuss an integrated model where UPF1 halts translation termination and is phosphorylated by SMG1 if the termination-promoting interaction of PABPC1 with eRF3 cannot readily occur. The EJC, with UPF2 or UPF3b as a cofactor, interferes with physiological termination through UPF1. This model integrates previously competing models of NMD and suggests a mechanistic basis for alternative NMD pathways.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) controls the quality of eukaryotic gene expression and also degrades physiologic mRNAs. How NMD targets are identified is incompletely understood. A central NMD factor is the ATP-dependent RNA helicase upframeshift 1 (UPF1). Neither the distance in space between the termination codon and the poly(A) tail nor the binding of steady-state, largely hypophosphorylated UPF1 is a discriminating marker of cellular NMD targets, unlike for premature termination codon (PTC)-containing reporter mRNAs when compared with their PTC-free counterparts. Here, we map phosphorylated UPF1 (p-UPF1)-binding sites using transcriptome-wide footprinting or DNA oligonucleotide-directed mRNA cleavage to report that p-UPF1 provides the first reliable cellular NMD target marker. p-UPF1 is enriched on NMD target 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) along with suppressor with morphogenic effect on genitalia 5 (SMG5) and SMG7 but not SMG1 or SMG6. Immunoprecipitations of UPF1 variants deficient in various aspects of the NMD process in parallel with Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments reveal that ATPase/helicase-deficient UPF1 manifests high levels of RNA binding and disregulated hyperphosphorylation, whereas wild-type UPF1 releases from nonspecific RNA interactions in an ATP hydrolysis-dependent mechanism until an NMD target is identified. 3' UTR-associated UPF1 undergoes regulated phosphorylation on NMD targets, providing a binding platform for mRNA degradative activities. p-UPF1 binding to NMD target 3' UTRs is stabilized by SMG5 and SMG7. Our results help to explain why steady-state UPF1 binding is not a marker for cellular NMD substrates and how this binding is transformed to induce mRNA decay.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a surveillance mechanism that detects and degrades mRNAs containing premature termination codons (PTCs). SMG-1-mediated Upf1 phosphorylation takes place in the decay inducing complex (DECID), which contains a ribosome, release factors, Upf1, SMG-1, an exon junction complex (EJC) and a PTC-mRNA. However, the significance and the consequence of Upf1 phosphorylation remain to be clarified. Here, we demonstrate that SMG-6 binds to a newly identified phosphorylation site in Upf1 at N-terminal threonine 28, whereas the SMG-5:SMG-7 complex binds to phosphorylated serine 1096 of Upf1. In addition, the binding of the SMG-5:SMG-7 complex to Upf1 resulted in the dissociation of the ribosome and release factors from the DECID complex. Importantly, the simultaneous binding of both the SMG-5:SMG-7 complex and SMG-6 to phospho-Upf1 are required for both NMD and Upf1 dissociation from mRNA. Thus, the SMG-1-mediated phosphorylation of Upf1 creates a binding platforms for the SMG-5:SMG-7 complex and for SMG-6, and triggers sequential remodeling of the mRNA surveillance complex for NMD induction and recycling of the ribosome, release factors and NMD factors.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is important for RNA quality control and gene regulation in eukaryotes. NMD targets aberrant transcripts for decay and also directly influences the abundance of non-aberrant transcripts. In animals, the SMG1 kinase plays an essential role in NMD by phosphorylating the core NMD factor UPF1. Despite SMG1 being ubiquitous throughout the plant kingdom, little is known about its function, probably because SMG1 is atypically absent from the genome of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. By combining our previously established SMG1 knockout in moss with transcriptome-wide analysis, we reveal the range of processes involving SMG1 in plants. Machine learning assisted analysis suggests that 32% of multi-isoform genes produce NMD-targeted transcripts and that splice junctions downstream of a stop codon act as the major determinant of NMD targeting. Furthermore, we suggest that SMG1 is involved in other quality control pathways, affecting DNA repair and the unfolded protein response, in addition to its role in mRNA quality control. Consistent with this, smg1 plants have increased susceptibility to DNA damage, but increased tolerance to unfolded protein inducing agents. The potential involvement of SMG1 in RNA, DNA and protein quality control has major implications for the study of these processes in plants.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic surveillance pathway that recognizes mRNAs with premature stop codons and targets them for rapid degradation. Evidence from previous studies has converged on UPF1 as the central NMD factor. In human cells, the SMG1 kinase phosphorylates UPF1 at the N-terminal and C-terminal tails, in turn allowing the recruitment of the NMD factors SMG5, SMG6 and SMG7. To understand the molecular mechanisms, we recapitulated these steps of NMD in vitro using purified components. We find that a short C-terminal segment of phosphorylated UPF1 containing the last two Ser-Gln motifs is recognized by the heterodimer of SMG5 and SMG7 14-3-3-like proteins. In contrast, the SMG6 14-3-3-like domain is a monomer. The crystal structure indicates that the phosphoserine binding site of the SMG6 14-3-3-like domain is similar to that of SMG5 and can mediate a weak phospho-dependent interaction with UPF1. The dominant SMG6-UPF1 interaction is mediated by a low-complexity region bordering the 14-3-3-like domain of SMG6 and by the helicase domain and C-terminal tail of UPF1. This interaction is phosphorylation independent. Our study demonstrates that SMG5-SMG7 and SMG6 exhibit different and non-overlapping modes of UPF1 recognition, thus pointing at distinguished roles in integrating the complex NMD interaction network.
Project description:Smg1 is a PI3K-related kinase (PIKK) associated with multiple cellular functions, including DNA damage responses, telomere maintenance, and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD degrades transcripts that harbor premature termination codons (PTCs) as a result of events such as mutation or alternative splicing (AS). Recognition of PTCs during NMD requires the action of the Upstream frameshift protein Upf1, which must first be phosphorylated by Smg1. However, the physiological function of mammalian Smg1 is not known. By using a gene-trap model of Smg1 deficiency, we show that this kinase is essential for mouse embryogenesis such that Smg1 loss is lethal at embryonic day 8.5. High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of RNA from cells of Smg1-deficient embryos revealed that Smg1 depletion led to pronounced accumulation of PTC-containing splice variant transcripts from approximately 9% of genes predicted to contain AS events capable of eliciting NMD. Among these genes are those involved in splicing itself, as well as genes not previously known to be subject to AS-coupled NMD, including several involved in transcription, intracellular signaling, membrane dynamics, cell death, and metabolism. Our results demonstrate a critical role for Smg1 in early mouse development and link the loss of this NMD factor to major and widespread changes in the mammalian transcriptome.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an essential eukaryotic process regulating transcript quality and abundance, and is involved in diverse processes including brain development and plant defenses. Although some of the NMD machinery is conserved between kingdoms, little is known about its evolution. Phosphorylation of the core NMD component UPF1 is critical for NMD and is regulated in mammals by the SURF complex (UPF1, SMG1 kinase, SMG8, SMG9 and eukaryotic release factors). However, since SMG1 is reportedly missing from the genomes of fungi and the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, it remains unclear how UPF1 is activated outside the metazoa. We used comparative genomics to determine the conservation of the NMD pathway across eukaryotic evolution. We show that SURF components are present in all major eukaryotic lineages, including fungi, suggesting that in addition to UPF1 and SMG1, SMG8 and SMG9 also existed in the last eukaryotic common ancestor, 1.8 billion years ago. However, despite the ancient origins of the SURF complex, we also found that SURF factors have been independently lost across the Eukarya, pointing to genetic buffering within the essential NMD pathway. We infer an ancient role for SURF in regulating UPF1, and the intriguing possibility of undiscovered NMD regulatory pathways.