MRNA bound to the 30S subunit is a HigB toxin substrate.
ABSTRACT: Activation of bacterial toxins during stress results in cleavage of mRNAs in the context of the ribosome. These toxins are thought to function as global translational inhibitors yet recent studies suggest each may have distinct mRNA specificities that result in selective translation for bacterial survival. Here we demonstrate that mRNA in the context of a bacterial 30S subunit is sufficient for ribosome-dependent toxin HigB endonucleolytic activity, suggesting that HigB interferes with the initiation step of translation. We determined the X-ray crystal structure of HigB bound to the 30S, revealing that two solvent-exposed clusters of HigB basic residues directly interact with 30S 16S rRNA helices 18, 30, and 31. We further show that these HigB residues are essential for ribosome recognition and function. Comparison with other ribosome-dependent toxins RelE and YoeB reveals that each interacts with similar features of the 30S aminoacyl (A) site yet does so through presentation of diverse structural motifs.
Project description:Bacteria encode multiple type II toxin-antitoxin modules that cleave ribosome-bound mRNAs in response to stress. All ribosome-dependent toxin family members structurally characterized to date adopt similar microbial RNase architectures despite possessing low sequence identities. Therefore, determining which residues are catalytically important in this specialized RNase family has been a challenge in the field. Structural studies of RelE and YoeB toxins bound to the ribosome provided significant insights but biochemical experiments with RelE were required to clearly demonstrate which residues are critical for acid-base catalysis of mRNA cleavage. Here, we solved an X-ray crystal structure of the wild-type, ribosome-dependent toxin HigB bound to the ribosome revealing potential catalytic residues proximal to the mRNA substrate. Using cell-based and biochemical assays, we further determined that HigB residues His54, Asp90, Tyr91 and His92 are critical for activity in vivo, while HigB H54A and Y91A variants have the largest effect on mRNA cleavage in vitro Comparison of X-ray crystal structures of two catalytically inactive HigB variants with 70S-HigB bound structures reveal that HigB active site residues undergo conformational rearrangements likely required for recognition of its mRNA substrate. These data support the emerging concept that ribosome-dependent toxins have diverse modes of mRNA recognition.
Project description:Bacterial toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems regulate key cellular processes to promote cell survival during periods of stress. During steady-state cell growth, antitoxins typically interact with their cognate toxins to inhibit activity presumably by preventing substrate recognition. We solved two x-ray crystal structures of the Proteus vulgaris tetrameric HigB-(HigA)2-HigB TA complex and found that, unlike most other TA systems, the antitoxin HigA makes minimal interactions with toxin HigB. HigB adopts a RelE family tertiary fold containing a highly conserved concave surface where we predict its active site is located. HigA does not cover the solvent-exposed HigB active site, suggesting that, in general, toxin inhibition is not solely mediated by active site hindrance by its antitoxin. Each HigA monomer contains a helix-turn-helix motif that binds to its own DNA operator to repress transcription during normal cellular growth. This is distinct from antitoxins belonging to other superfamilies that typically only form DNA-binding motifs upon dimerization. We further show that disruption of the HigB-(HigA)2-HigB tetramer to a HigBA heterodimer ablates operator binding. Taken together, our biochemical and structural studies elucidate the novel molecular details of the HigBA TA system.
Project description:Chromosomally-encoded toxin-antitoxin complexes are ubiquitous in bacteria and regulate growth through the release of the toxin component typically in a stress-dependent manner. Type II ribosome-dependent toxins adopt a RelE-family RNase fold and inhibit translation by degrading mRNAs while bound to the ribosome. Here, we present biochemical and structural studies of the Escherichia coli YoeB toxin interacting with both a UAA stop and an AAU sense codon in pre- and post-mRNA cleavage states to provide insights into possible mRNA substrate selection. Both mRNAs undergo minimal changes during the cleavage event in contrast to type II ribosome-dependent RelE toxin. Further, the 16S rRNA decoding site nucleotides that monitor the mRNA in the aminoacyl(A) site adopt different orientations depending upon which toxin is present. Although YoeB is a RelE family member, it is the sole ribosome-dependent toxin that is dimeric. We show that engineered monomeric YoeB is active against mRNAs bound to both the small and large subunit. However, the stability of monomeric YoeB is reduced ?20°C, consistent with potential YoeB activation during heat shock in E. coli as previously demonstrated. These data provide a molecular basis for the ability of YoeB to function in response to thermal stress.
Project description:Bacterial type II toxin-antitoxin modules are protein-protein complexes whose functions are finely tuned by rapidly changing environmental conditions. E. coli toxin YafQ is suppressed under steady state growth conditions by virtue of its interaction with its cognate antitoxin, DinJ. During stress, DinJ is proteolytically degraded and free YafQ halts translation by degrading ribosome-bound mRNA to slow growth until the stress has passed. Although structures of the ribosome with toxins RelE and YoeB have been solved, it is unclear what residues among ribosome-dependent toxins are essential for mediating both recognition of the ribosome and the mRNA substrate given their low sequence identities. Here we show that YafQ coordinates binding to the 70S ribosome via three surface-exposed patches of basic residues that we propose directly interact with 16S rRNA. We demonstrate that YafQ residues H50, H63, D67 and H87 participate in acid-base catalysis during mRNA hydrolysis and further show that H50 and H63 functionally complement as general bases to initiate the phosphodiester cleavage reaction. Moreover YafQ residue F91 likely plays an important role in mRNA positioning. In summary, our findings demonstrate the plasticity of ribosome-dependent toxin active site residues and further our understanding of which toxin residues are important for function.
Project description:Bacterial toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems (or "addiction modules") typically facilitate cell survival during intervals of stress by inducing a state of reversible growth arrest. However, upon prolonged stress, TA toxin action leads to cell death. TA systems have also been implicated in several clinically important phenomena: biofilm formation, bacterial persistence during antibiotic treatment, and bacterial pathogenesis. TA systems harbored by pathogens also serve as attractive antibiotic targets. To date, the mechanism of action of the majority of known TA toxins has not yet been elucidated. We determined the mode of action of the Doc toxin of the Phd-Doc TA system. Doc expression resulted in rapid cell growth arrest and marked inhibition of translation without significant perturbation of transcription or replication. However, Doc did not cleave mRNA as do other addiction-module toxins whose activities result in translation inhibition. Instead, Doc induction mimicked the effects of treatment with the aminoglycoside antibiotic hygromycin B (HygB): Both Doc and HygB interacted with 30S ribosomal subunits, stabilized polysomes, and resulted in a significant increase in mRNA half-life. HygB also competed with ribosome-bound Doc, whereas HygB-resistant mutants suppressed Doc toxicity, suggesting that the Doc-binding site includes that of HygB (i.e., helix 44 region of 16S rRNA containing the A, P, and E sites). Overall, our results illuminate an intracellular target and mechanism of TA toxin action drawn from aminoglycoside antibiotics: Doc toxicity is the result of inhibition of translation elongation, possibly at the translocation step, through its interaction with the 30S ribosomal subunit.
Project description:Bacteria contain multiple type II toxins that selectively degrade mRNAs bound to the ribosome to regulate translation and growth and facilitate survival during the stringent response. Ribosome-dependent toxins recognize a variety of three-nucleotide codons within the aminoacyl (A) site, but how these endonucleases achieve substrate specificity remains poorly understood. Here, we identify the critical features for how the host inhibition of growth B (HigB) toxin recognizes each of the three A-site nucleotides for cleavage. X-ray crystal structures of HigB bound to two different codons on the ribosome illustrate how HigB uses a microbial RNase-like nucleotide recognition loop to recognize either cytosine or adenosine at the second A-site position. Strikingly, a single HigB residue and 16S rRNA residue C1054 form an adenosine-specific pocket at the third A-site nucleotide, in contrast to how tRNAs decode mRNA. Our results demonstrate that the most important determinant for mRNA cleavage by ribosome-dependent toxins is interaction with the third A-site nucleotide.
Project description:Bacterial translation initiation factor 2 (IF2) is a GTPase that promotes the binding of the initiator fMet-tRNA(fMet) to the 30S ribosomal subunit. It is often assumed that IF2 delivers fMet-tRNA(fMet) to the ribosome in a ternary complex, IF2.GTP.fMet-tRNA(fMet). By using rapid kinetic techniques, we show here that binding of IF2.GTP to the 30S ribosomal subunit precedes and is independent of fMet-tRNA(fMet) binding. The ternary complex formed in solution by IF2.GTP and fMet-tRNA is unstable and dissociates before IF2.GTP and, subsequently, fMet-tRNA(fMet) bind to the 30S subunit. Ribosome-bound IF2 might accelerate the recruitment of fMet-tRNA(fMet) to the 30S initiation complex by providing anchoring interactions or inducing a favourable ribosome conformation. The mechanism of action of IF2 seems to be different from that of tRNA carriers such as EF-Tu, SelB and eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2), instead resembling that of eIF5B, the eukaryotic subunit association factor.
Project description:Bacterial type II toxin-antitoxin systems are widespread in bacteria. Among them, the RelE toxin family is one of the most abundant. The RelE(K-12) toxin of Escherichia coli K-12 represents the paradigm for this family and has been extensively studied, both in vivo and in vitro. RelE(K-12) is an endoribonuclease that cleaves mRNAs that are translated by the ribosome machinery as these transcripts enter the A site. Earlier in vivo reports showed that RelE(K-12) cleaves preferentially in the 5'-end coding region of the transcripts in a codon-independent manner. To investigate whether the molecular activity as well as the cleavage pattern are conserved within the members of this toxin family, RelE-like sequences were selected in Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Spirochaetes and tested in E. coli. Our results show that these RelE-like sequences are part of toxin-antitoxin gene pairs, and that they inhibit translation in E. coli by cleaving transcripts that are being translated. Primer extension analyses show that these toxins exhibit specific cleavage patterns in vivo, both in terms of frequency and location of cleavage sites. We did not observe codon-dependent cleavage but rather a trend to cleave upstream purines and between the second and third positions of codons, except for the actinobacterial toxin. Our results suggest that RelE-like toxins have evolved to rapidly and efficiently shut down translation in a large spectrum of bacterial species, which correlates with the observation that toxin-antitoxin systems are spreading by horizontal gene transfer.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen that causes nosocomial infections. Due to the ability to persist in the clinical environment and rapidly acquire antibiotic resistance, multidrug-resistant A. baumannii clones have spread in medical units in many countries in the last decade. The molecular basis of the emergence and spread of the successful multidrug-resistant A. baumannii clones is not understood. Bacterial toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are abundant genetic loci harbored in low-copy-number plasmids and chromosomes and have been proposed to fulfill numerous functions, from plasmid stabilization to regulation of growth and death under stress conditions. In this study, we have performed a thorough bioinformatic search for type II TA systems in genomes of A. baumannii strains and estimated at least 15 possible TA gene pairs, 5 of which have been shown to be functional TA systems. Three of them were orthologs of bacterial and archaeal RelB/RelE, HicA/HicB, and HigB/HigA systems, and others were the unique SplT/SplA and CheT/CheA TA modules. The toxins of all five TA systems, when expressed in Escherichia coli, inhibited translation, causing RNA degradation. The HigB/HigA and SplT/SplA TA pairs of plasmid origin were highly prevalent in clinical multidrug-resistant A. baumannii isolates from Lithuanian hospitals belonging to the international clonal lineages known as European clone I (ECI) and ECII.
Project description:In bacteria, mRNA transcription and translation are coupled to coordinate optimal gene expression and maintain genome stability. Coupling is thought to involve direct interactions between RNA polymerase (RNAP) and the translational machinery. We present cryo-EM structures of E. coli RNAP core bound to the small ribosomal 30S subunit. The complex is stable under cell-like ionic conditions, consistent with functional interaction between RNAP and the 30S subunit. The RNA exit tunnel of RNAP aligns with the Shine-Dalgarno-binding site of the 30S subunit. Ribosomal protein S1 forms a wall of the tunnel between RNAP and the 30S subunit, consistent with its role in directing mRNAs onto the ribosome. The nucleic-acid-binding cleft of RNAP samples distinct conformations, suggesting different functional states during transcription-translation coupling. The architecture of the 30S•RNAP complex provides a structural basis for co-localization of the transcriptional and translational machineries, and inform future mechanistic studies of coupled transcription and translation.