Functions and regulation of the Brr2 RNA helicase during splicing.
ABSTRACT: Pre-mRNA splicing entails the stepwise assembly of an inactive spliceosome, its catalytic activation, splicing catalysis and spliceosome disassembly. Transitions in this reaction cycle are accompanied by compositional and conformational rearrangements of the underlying RNA-protein interaction networks, which are driven and controlled by 8 conserved superfamily 2 RNA helicases. The Ski2-like helicase, Brr2, provides the key remodeling activity during spliceosome activation and is additionally implicated in the catalytic and disassembly phases of splicing, indicating that Brr2 needs to be tightly regulated during splicing. Recent structural and functional analyses have begun to unravel how Brr2 regulation is established via multiple layers of intra- and inter-molecular mechanisms. Brr2 has an unusual structure, including a long N-terminal region and a catalytically inactive C-terminal helicase cassette, which can auto-inhibit and auto-activate the enzyme, respectively. Both elements are essential, also serve as protein-protein interaction devices and the N-terminal region is required for stable Brr2 association with the tri-snRNP, tri-snRNP stability and retention of U5 and U6 snRNAs during spliceosome activation in vivo. Furthermore, a C-terminal region of the Prp8 protein, comprising consecutive RNase H-like and Jab1/MPN-like domains, can both up- and down-regulate Brr2 activity. Biochemical studies revealed an intricate cross-talk among the various cis- and trans-regulatory mechanisms. Comparison of isolated Brr2 to electron cryo-microscopic structures of yeast and human U4/U6•U5 tri-snRNPs and spliceosomes indicates how some of the regulatory elements exert their functions during splicing. The various modulatory mechanisms acting on Brr2 might be exploited to enhance splicing fidelity and to regulate alternative splicing.
Project description:The Brr2 helicase provides the key remodeling activity for spliceosome catalytic activation, during which it disrupts the U4/U6 di-snRNP (small nuclear RNA protein), and its activity has to be tightly regulated. Brr2 exhibits an unusual architecture, including an ? 500-residue N-terminal region, whose functions and molecular mechanisms are presently unknown, followed by a tandem array of structurally similar helicase units (cassettes), only the first of which is catalytically active. Here, we show by crystal structure analysis of full-length Brr2 in complex with a regulatory Jab1/MPN domain of the Prp8 protein and by cross-linking/mass spectrometry of isolated Brr2 that the Brr2 N-terminal region encompasses two folded domains and adjacent linear elements that clamp and interconnect the helicase cassettes. Stepwise N-terminal truncations led to yeast growth and splicing defects, reduced Brr2 association with U4/U6•U5 tri-snRNPs, and increased ATP-dependent disruption of the tri-snRNP, yielding U4/U6 di-snRNP and U5 snRNP. Trends in the RNA-binding, ATPase, and helicase activities of the Brr2 truncation variants are fully rationalized by the crystal structure, demonstrating that the N-terminal region autoinhibits Brr2 via substrate competition and conformational clamping. Our results reveal molecular mechanisms that prevent premature and unproductive tri-snRNP disruption and suggest novel principles of Brr2-dependent splicing regulation.
Project description:The yeast Sad1 protein was previously identified in a screen for factors involved in the assembly of the U4/U6 di-snRNP particle. Sad1 is required for pre-mRNA splicing both in vivo and in vitro, and its human orthologue has been shown to associate with U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP. We show here that Sad1 plays a role in maintaining a functional form of the tri-snRNP by promoting the association of U5 snRNP with U4/U6 di-snRNP. In the absence of Sad1, the U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP dissociates into U5 and U4/U6 upon ATP hydrolysis and cannot bind to the spliceosome. The separated U4/U6 and U5 can reassociate upon incubation more favorably in the absence of ATP and in the presence of Sad1. Brr2 is responsible for mediating ATP-dependent dissociation of the tri-snRNP. Our results demonstrate a role of Sad1 in maintaining the integrity of the tri-snRNP by counteracting Brr2-mediated dissociation of tri-snRNP and provide insights into homeostasis of the tri-snRNP.
Project description:U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP is a 1.5-megadalton pre-assembled spliceosomal complex comprising U5 small nuclear RNA (snRNA), extensively base-paired U4/U6 snRNAs and more than 30 proteins, including the key components Prp8, Brr2 and Snu114. The tri-snRNP combines with a precursor messenger RNA substrate bound to U1 and U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs), and transforms into a catalytically active spliceosome after extensive compositional and conformational changes triggered by unwinding of the U4 and U6 (U4/U6) snRNAs. Here we use cryo-electron microscopy single-particle reconstruction of Saccharomyces cerevisiae tri-snRNP at 5.9 Å resolution to reveal the essentially complete organization of its RNA and protein components. The single-stranded region of U4 snRNA between its 3' stem-loop and the U4/U6 snRNA stem I is loaded into the Brr2 helicase active site ready for unwinding. Snu114 and the amino-terminal domain of Prp8 position U5 snRNA to insert its loop I, which aligns the exons for splicing, into the Prp8 active site cavity. The structure provides crucial insights into the activation process and the active site of the spliceosome.
Project description:The U6 snRNA, the core catalytic component of the spliceosome, is extensively modified post-transcriptionally, with 2’-O-methylation being most common. However, how U6 2’-O-methylation is regulated remains largely unknown. Here we report that TFIP11, the human homolog of the yeast spliceosome disassembly factor Ntr1, localizes to nucleoli and Cajal Bodies and is essential for the 2’-O-methylation of U6. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that TFIP11 knockdown reduces the association of U6 snRNA with fibrillarin and associated snoRNAs, therefore altering U6 2′-O-methylation. We show U6 snRNA hypomethylation is associated with changes in assembly of the U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP leading to defects in spliceosome assembly and alterations in splicing fidelity. Strikingly, this function of TFIP11 is independent of the RNA helicase DHX15, its known partner in yeast. In sum, our study demonstrates an unrecognized function for TFIP11 in U6 snRNP modification and U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP assembly, identifying TFIP11 as a critical spliceosome assembly regulator. In yeast, TFIP11 and DHX15 promote the disassembly of spliceosome complex after splicing is completed. Here the authors show that human TFIP11 functions independently of DHX15 and is required for U6 snRNA 2’-O-methylation and U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP assembly.
Project description:Intron removal requires assembly of the spliceosome on precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) and extensive remodelling to form the spliceosome's catalytic centre. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae pre-catalytic B complex spliceosome at near-atomic resolution. The mobile U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) associates with U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP through the U2/U6 helix II and an interface between U4/U6 di-snRNP and the U2 snRNP SF3b-containing domain, which also transiently contacts the helicase Brr2. The 3' region of the U2 snRNP is flexibly attached to the SF3b-containing domain and protrudes over the concave surface of tri-snRNP, where the U1 snRNP may reside before its release from the pre-mRNA 5' splice site. The U6 ACAGAGA sequence forms a hairpin that weakly tethers the 5' splice site. The B complex proteins Prp38, Snu23 and Spp381 bind the Prp8 N-terminal domain and stabilize U6 ACAGAGA stem-pre-mRNA and Brr2-U4 small nuclear RNA interactions. These results provide important insights into the events leading to active site formation.
Project description:Prp3 is an essential U4/U6 di-snRNP-associated protein whose functions and molecular mechanisms in pre-mRNA splicing are presently poorly understood. We show by structural and biochemical analyses that Prp3 contains a bipartite U4/U6 di-snRNA-binding region comprising an expanded ferredoxin-like fold, which recognizes a 3'-overhang of U6 snRNA, and a preceding peptide, which binds U4/U6 stem II. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the single-stranded RNA-binding domain is exclusively found in Prp3 orthologs, thus qualifying as a spliceosome-specific RNA interaction module. The composite double-stranded/single-stranded RNA-binding region assembles cooperatively with Snu13 and Prp31 on U4/U6 di-snRNAs and inhibits Brr2-mediated U4/U6 di-snRNA unwinding in vitro. RNP-disrupting mutations in Prp3 lead to U4/U6•U5 tri-snRNP assembly and splicing defects in vivo. Our results reveal how Prp3 acts as an important bridge between U4/U6 and U5 in the tri-snRNP and comparison with a Prp24-U6 snRNA recycling complex suggests how Prp3 may be involved in U4/U6 reassembly after splicing.
Project description:The pre-catalytic spliceosome (B complex) is preceded by its precursor spliceosome (pre-B complex) and followed by the activated spliceosome (Bact complex). The pre-B-to-B and B-to-Bact transitions are driven by the ATPase/helicases Prp28 and Brr2, respectively. In this study, we report the cryo-electron microscopy structures of the human pre-B complex and the human B complex at an average resolution of 5.7 and 3.8?Å, respectively. In the pre-B complex, U1 and U2 small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) associate with two edges of the tetrahedron-shaped U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP. The pre-mRNA is yet to be recognized by U5 or U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA), and loop I of U5 snRNA remains unengaged. In the B complex, U1 snRNP and Prp28 are dissociated, the 5'-exon is anchored to loop I of U5 snRNA, and the 5'-splice site is recognized by U6 snRNA through duplex formation. In sharp contrast to S. cerevisiae, most components of U2 snRNP and tri-snRNP, exemplified by Brr2, undergo pronounced rearrangements in the human pre-B-to-B transition. Structural analysis reveals mechanistic insights into the assembly and activation of the human spliceosome.
Project description:The U5 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) forms the heart of the spliceosome which is required for intron removal from pre-mRNA. The proteins Prp8, Snu114 and Brr2 all assemble with the U5 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) to produce the U5 snRNP. Successful assembly of the U5 snRNP, then incorporation of this snRNP into the U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP and the spliceosome, is essential for producing an active spliceosome. We have investigated the requirements for Prp8, Snu114 and Brr2 association with the U5 snRNA to form the U5 snRNP in yeast. Mutations were constructed in the highly conserved loop 1 and internal loop 1 (IL1) of the U5 snRNA and their function assessed in vivo. The influence of these U5 mutations on association of Prp8, Snu114 and Brr2 with the U5 snRNA were then determined. U5 snRNA loop 1 and both sides of IL1 in U5 were important for association of Prp8, Snu114 and Brr2 with the U5 snRNA. Mutations in the 3' side of U5 IL1 resulted in the greatest reduction of Prp8, Snu114 and Brr2 association with the U5 snRNA. Genetic screening of brr2 and U5 snRNA mutants revealed synthetic lethal interactions between alleles in Brr2 and the 3' side of U5 snRNA IL1 which reflects reduced association between Brr2 and U5 IL1. We propose that the U5 snRNA IL1 is a platform for protein binding and is required for Prp8, Brr2 and Snu114 association with the U5 snRNA to form the U5 snRNP.
Project description:The Cajal body (CB) is a nuclear structure closely associated with import and biogenesis of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs). Here, we tested whether CBs also contain mature snRNPs and whether CB integrity depends on the ongoing snRNP splicing cycle. Sm proteins tagged with photoactivatable and color-maturing variants of fluorescent proteins were used to monitor snRNP behavior in living cells over time; mature snRNPs accumulated in CBs, traveled from one CB to another, and they were not preferentially replaced by newly imported snRNPs. To test whether CB integrity depends on the snRNP splicing cycle, two human orthologues of yeast proteins involved in distinct steps in spliceosome disassembly after splicing, hPrp22 and hNtr1, were depleted by small interfering RNA treatment. Surprisingly, depletion of either protein led to the accumulation of U4/U6 snRNPs in CBs, suggesting that reassembly of the U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP was delayed. Accordingly, a relative decrease in U5 snRNPs compared with U4/U6 snRNPs was observed in CBs, as well as in nuclear extracts of treated cells. Together, the data show that particular phases of the spliceosome cycle are compartmentalized in living cells, with reassembly of the tri-snRNP occurring in CBs.
Project description:The spliceosome is formed on pre-mRNA substrates from five small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (U1, U2, U4/U6 and U5 snRNPs), and numerous non-snRNP factors. Saccharomyces cerevisiae U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP comprises U5 snRNA, U4/U6 snRNA duplex and approximately 30 proteins and represents a substantial part of the spliceosome before activation. Schizosaccharomyces pombe U2.U6.U5 spliceosomal complex is a post-catalytic intron lariat spliceosome containing U2 and U5 snRNPs, NTC (nineteen complex), NTC-related proteins (NTR), U6 snRNA, and an RNA intron lariat. Two recent papers describe near-complete atomic structures of these complexes based on cryoEM single-particle analysis. The U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP structure provides crucial insight into the activation mechanism of the spliceosome. The U2.U6.U5 complex reveals the striking architecture of NTC and NTR and important features of the group II intron-like catalytic RNA core remaining after spliced mRNA is released. These two structures greatly advance our understanding of the mechanism of pre-mRNA splicing.