Conservation of Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay Complex Components Throughout Eukaryotic Evolution.
ABSTRACT: 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.
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 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:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an mRNA degradation pathway that regulates gene expression and mRNA quality. A complex network of macromolecular interactions regulates NMD initiation, which is only partially understood. According to prevailing models, NMD begins by the assembly of the SURF (SMG1-UPF1-eRF1-eRF3) complex at the ribosome, followed by UPF1 activation by additional factors such as UPF2 and UPF3. Elucidating the interactions between NMD factors is essential to comprehend NMD, and here we demonstrate biochemically and structurally the interaction between human UPF2 and eukaryotic release factor 3 (eRF3). In addition, we find that UPF2 associates with SURF and ribosomes in cells, in an UPF3-independent manner. Binding assays using a collection of UPF2 truncated variants reveal that eRF3 binds to the C-terminal part of UPF2. This region of UPF2 is partially coincident with the UPF3-binding site as revealed by electron microscopy of the UPF2-eRF3 complex. Accordingly, we find that the interaction of UPF2 with UPF3b interferes with the assembly of the UPF2-eRF3 complex, and that UPF2 binds UPF3b more strongly than eRF3. Together, our results highlight the role of UPF2 as a platform for the transient interactions of several NMD factors, including several components of SURF.
Project description: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:The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway promotes rapid degradation of mRNAs containing premature translation termination codons (PTCs or nonsense codons), preventing accumulation of potentially detrimental truncated proteins. In metazoa, seven genes (upf1, upf2, upf3, smg1, smg5, smg6, and smg7) have been identified as essential for NMD; here we show that the zebrafish genome encodes orthologs of upf1, upf2, smg1, and smg5 to smg7 and two upf3 paralogs. We also show that Upf1 is required for degradation of PTC-containing mRNAs in zebrafish embryos. Moreover, its depletion has a severe impact on embryonic development, early patterning, and viability. Similar phenotypes are observed in Upf2-, Smg5-, or Smg6-depleted embryos, suggesting that zebrafish embryogenesis requires an active NMD pathway. Using cultured cells, we demonstrate that the ability of a PTC to trigger NMD is strongly stimulated by downstream exon-exon boundaries. Thus, as in mammals and plants but in contrast to invertebrates and fungi, NMD is coupled to splicing in zebrafish. Our results together with previous studies show that NMD effectors are essential for vertebrate embryogenesis and suggest that the coupling of splicing and NMD has been maintained in vertebrates but lost in fungi and invertebrates.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic quality control pathway, involving conserved proteins UPF1, UPF2 and UPF3b, which detects and degrades mRNAs with premature stop codons. Human UPF2 comprises three tandem MIF4G domains and a C-terminal UPF1 binding region. MIF4G-3 binds UPF3b, but the specific functions of MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 are unknown. Crystal structures show that both MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 contain N-terminal capping helices essential for stabilization of the 10-helix MIF4G core and that MIF4G-2 interacts with MIF4G-3, forming a rigid assembly. The UPF2/UPF3b/SMG1 complex is thought to activate the kinase SMG1 to phosphorylate UPF1 in vivo. We identify MIF4G-3 as the binding site and in vitro substrate of SMG1 kinase and show that a ternary UPF2 MIF4G-3/UPF3b/SMG1 complex can form in vitro. Whereas in vivo complementation assays show that MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 are essential for NMD, tethering assays reveal that UPF2 truncated to only MIF4G-3 and the UPF1-binding region can still partially accomplish NMD. Thus UPF2 MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 appear to have a crucial scaffolding role, while MIF4G-3 is the key module required for triggering NMD.
Project description:Eukaryotic mRNAs with premature translation-termination codons (PTCs) are recognized and eliminated by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD substrates can be degraded by different routes that all require phosphorylated UPF1 (P-UPF1) as a starting point. The endonuclease SMG6, which cleaves mRNA near the PTC, is one of the three known NMD factors thought to be recruited to nonsense mRNAs via an interaction with P-UPF1, leading to eventual mRNA degradation. By artificial tethering of SMG6 and mutants thereof to a reporter mRNA combined with knockdowns of various NMD factors, we demonstrate that besides its endonucleolytic activity, SMG6 also requires UPF1 and SMG1 to reduce reporter mRNA levels. Using in vivo and in vitro approaches, we further document that SMG6 and the unique stalk region of the UPF1 helicase domain, along with a contribution from the SQ domain, form a novel interaction and we also show that this region of the UPF1 helicase domain is critical for SMG6 function and NMD. Our results show that this interaction is required for NMD and for the capability of tethered SMG6 to degrade its bound RNA, suggesting that it contributes to the intricate regulation of UPF1 and SMG6 enzymatic activities.
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 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: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.