Cold adaptation of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases: A tradeoff in activity, stability and fidelity.
ABSTRACT: Cold adaptation is an evolutionary process that has dramatic impact on enzymatic activity. Increased flexibility of the protein structure represents the main evolutionary strategy for efficient catalysis and reaction rates in the cold, but is achieved at the expense of structural stability. This results in a significant activity-stability tradeoff, as it was observed for several metabolic enzymes. In polymerases, however, not only reaction rates, but also fidelity plays an important role, as these enzymes have to synthesize copies of DNA and RNA as exact as possible. Here, we investigate the effects of cold adaptation on the highly accurate CCA-adding enzyme, an RNA polymerase that uses an internal amino acid motif within the flexible catalytic core as a template to synthesize the CCA triplet at tRNA 3'-ends. As the relative orientation of these residues determines nucleotide selection, we characterized how cold adaptation impacts template reading and fidelity. In a comparative analysis of closely related psychro-, meso-, and thermophilic enzymes, the cold-adapted polymerase shows a remarkable error rate during CCA synthesis in vitro as well as in vivo. Accordingly, CCA-adding activity at low temperatures is not only achieved at the expense of structural stability, but also results in a reduced polymerization fidelity.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are highly specific RNA polymerases that synthesize and maintain the sequence CCA at the tRNA 3‘-end. Here, we investigated the impact of cold adaptation on the reactivity and specificity of CCA-adding enzymes from psychrophilic bacteria. A comparative study of the corresponding enzymes from closely related psychro-, meso-, and thermophilic Bacillales indicates that the cold-adapted enzymes show a considerable error rate during CCA synthesis, resulting in additional incorporations of C and A residues. It seems that the activity of psychrophilic CCA-adding enzymes is not only achieved at the expense of structural stability, reaction velocity and substrate affinity, but also results in a reduced polymerization fidelity.
Project description:Graphical abstract Highlights • A high-resolution structure of a psychrophilic RNA polymerase contributes to our knowledge of cold adaptation.• While catalytic core motifs are conserved, at least one shows cold adaptation.• Loss of helix-capping increases structural flexibility in a catalytic core motif.• Overall reduction of alpha-helical elements appears as a strategy for cold adaptation. CCA-adding enzymes are highly specific RNA polymerases that add and maintain the sequence C-C-A at tRNA 3‘-ends. Recently, we could reveal that cold adaptation of such a polymerase is not only achieved at the expense of enzyme stability, but also at the cost of polymerization fidelity. Enzymes from psychrophilic organisms usually show an increased structural flexibility to enable catalysis at low temperatures. Here, polymerases face a dilemma, as there is a discrepancy between the need for a tightly controlled flexibility during polymerization and an increased flexibility as strategy for cold adaptation. Based on structural and biochemical analyses, we contribute to clarify the cold adaptation strategy of the psychrophilic CCA-adding enzyme from Planococcus halocryophilus, a gram-positive bacterium thriving in the arctic permafrost at low temperatures down to −15 °C. A comparison with the closely related enzyme from the thermophilic bacterium Geobacillus stearothermophilus reveals several features of cold adaptation - a significantly reduced amount of alpha-helical elements in the C-terminal tRNA-binding region and a structural adaptation in one of the highly conserved catalytic core motifs located in the N-terminal catalytic core of the enzyme.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are specialized polymerases that add a specific sequence (C-C-A) to tRNA 3' ends without requiring a nucleic acid template. In some organisms, CCA synthesis is accomplished by the collaboration of evolutionary closely related enzymes with partial activities (CC and A addition). These enzymes carry all known motifs of the catalytic core found in CCA-adding enzymes. Therefore, it is a mystery why these polymerases are restricted in their activity and do not synthesize a complete CCA terminus. Here, a region located outside of the conserved motifs was identified that is missing in CC-adding enzymes. When recombinantly introduced from a CCA-adding enzyme, the region restores full CCA-adding activity in the resulting chimera. Correspondingly, deleting the region in a CCA-adding enzyme abolishes the A-incorporating activity, also leading to CC addition. The presence of the deletion was used to predict the CC-adding activity of putative bacterial tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Indeed, two such enzymes were experimentally identified as CC-adding enzymes, indicating that the existence of the deletion is a hallmark for this activity. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of identified and putative CC-adding enzymes indicates that this type of tRNA nucleotidyltransferases emerged several times during evolution. Obviously, these enzymes descend from CCA-adding enzymes, where the occurrence of the deletion led to the restricted activity of CC addition. A-adding enzymes, however, seem to represent a monophyletic group that might also be ancestral to CCA-adding enzymes. Yet, experimental data indicate that it is possible that A-adding activities also evolved from CCA-adding enzymes by the occurrence of individual point mutations.
Project description:CCA-adding enzymes are highly specific RNA polymerases that synthesize and maintain the sequence CCA at the tRNA 3'-end. This nucleotide triplet is a prerequisite for tRNAs to be aminoacylated and to participate in protein biosynthesis. During CCA-addition, a set of highly conserved motifs in the catalytic core of these enzymes is responsible for accurate sequential nucleotide incorporation. In the nucleotide binding pocket, three amino acid residues form Watson-Crick-like base pairs to the incoming CTP and ATP. A reorientation of these templating amino acids switches the enzyme's specificity from CTP to ATP recognition. However, the mechanism underlying this essential structural rearrangement is not understood. Here, we show that motif C, whose actual function has not been identified yet, contributes to the switch in nucleotide specificity during polymerization. Biochemical characterization as well as EPR spectroscopy measurements of the human enzyme reveal that mutating the highly conserved amino acid position D139 in this motif interferes with AMP incorporation and affects interdomain movements in the enzyme. We propose a model of action, where motif C forms a flexible spring element modulating the relative orientation of the enzyme's head and body domains to accommodate the growing 3'-end of the tRNA. Furthermore, these conformational transitions initiate the rearranging of the templating amino acids to switch the specificity of the nucleotide binding pocket from CTP to ATP during CCA-synthesis.
Project description:Psychrophiles thriving permanently at near-zero temperatures synthesize cold-active enzymes to sustain their cell cycle. Genome sequences, proteomic, and transcriptomic studies suggest various adaptive features to maintain adequate translation and proper protein folding under cold conditions. Most psychrophilic enzymes optimize a high activity at low temperature at the expense of substrate affinity, therefore reducing the free energy barrier of the transition state. Furthermore, a weak temperature dependence of activity ensures moderate reduction of the catalytic activity in the cold. In these naturally evolved enzymes, the optimization to low temperature activity is reached via destabilization of the structures bearing the active site or by destabilization of the whole molecule. This involves a reduction in the number and strength of all types of weak interactions or the disappearance of stability factors, resulting in improved dynamics of active site residues in the cold. These enzymes are already used in many biotechnological applications requiring high activity at mild temperatures or fast heat-inactivation rate. Several open questions in the field are also highlighted.
Project description:The aromatic amino acids, Tyr or Trp, which line the active-site walls of esterases, stabilize the catalytic His loop via hydrogen bonding. A Tyr residue is preferred in extremophilic esterases (psychrophilic or hyperthermophilic esterases), whereas a Trp residue is preferred in moderate-temperature esterases. Here, we provide evidence that Tyr and Trp play distinct roles in cold adaptation of the psychrophilic esterase EstSP1 isolated from an Arctic bacterium Sphingomonas glacialis PAMC 26605. Stern-Volmer plots showed that the mutation of Tyr191 to Ala, Phe, Trp, and His resulted in reduced conformational flexibility of the overall protein structure. Interestingly, the Y191W and Y191H mutants showed increased thermal stability at moderate temperatures. All Tyr191 mutants showed reduced catalytic activity relative to wild-type EstSP1. Our results indicate that Tyr with its phenyl hydroxyl group is favored for increased conformational flexibility and high catalytic activity of EstSP1 at low temperatures at the expense of thermal stability. The results of this study suggest that, in the permanently cold Arctic zone, enzyme activity has been selected for psychrophilic enzymes over thermal stability. The results presented herein provide novel insight into the roles of Tyr and Trp residues for temperature adaptation of enzymes that function at low, moderate, and high temperatures.
Project description:tRNAs are important players in the protein synthesis machinery, where they act as adapter molecules for translating the mRNA codons into the corresponding amino acid sequence. In a series of highly conserved maturation steps, the primary transcripts are converted into mature tRNAs. In the amoebozoan Acanthamoeba castellanii, a highly unusual evolution of some of these processing steps was identified that are based on unconventional RNA polymerase activities. In this context, we investigated the synthesis of the 3'-terminal CCA-end that is added posttranscriptionally by a specialized polymerase, the tRNA nucleotidyltransferase (CCA-adding enzyme). The majority of eukaryotic organisms carry only a single gene for a CCA-adding enzyme that acts on both the cytosolic and the mitochondrial tRNA pool. In a bioinformatic analysis of the genome of this organism, we identified a surprising multitude of genes for enzymes that contain the active site signature of eukaryotic/eubacterial tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. In vitro activity analyses of these enzymes revealed that two proteins represent bona fide CCA-adding enzymes, one of them carrying an N-terminal sequence corresponding to a putative mitochondrial target signal. The other enzymes have restricted activities and represent CC- and A-adding enzymes, respectively. The A-adding enzyme is of particular interest, as its sequence is closely related to corresponding enzymes from Proteobacteria, indicating a horizontal gene transfer. Interestingly, this unusual diversity of nucleotidyltransferase genes is not restricted to Acanthamoeba castellanii but is also present in other members of the Acanthamoeba genus, indicating an ancient evolutionary trait.
Project description:Showing a high sequence similarity, the evolutionary closely related bacterial poly(A) polymerases (PAP) and CCA-adding enzymes catalyze quite different reactions--PAP adds poly(A) tails to RNA 3'-ends, while CCA-adding enzymes synthesize the sequence CCA at the 3'-terminus of tRNAs. Here, two highly conserved structural elements of the corresponding Escherichia coli enzymes were characterized. The first element is a set of amino acids that was identified in CCA-adding enzymes as a template region determining the enzymes' specificity for CTP and ATP. The same element is also present in PAP, where it confers ATP specificity. The second investigated region corresponds to a flexible loop in CCA-adding enzymes and is involved in the incorporation of the terminal A-residue. Although, PAP seems to carry a similar flexible region, the functional relevance of this element in PAP is not known. The presented results show that the template region has an essential function in both enzymes, while the second element is surprisingly dispensable in PAP. The data support the idea that the bacterial PAP descends from CCA-adding enzymes and still carries some of the structural elements required for CCA-addition as an evolutionary relic and is now fixed in a conformation specific for A-addition.
Project description:Shewanella species are found to dwell in various ecological niches. The widespread habitation where they live requires specific adaptations. Recent advances in genomic approaches, such as in sequencing technologies, generate huge amount of genomic data that lend support towards understanding the microbial evolution and diversity through comparative study. In this manuscript, we discuss a comparative analysis of core genes of phylogenetically related twelve members from the genus Shewanella. Phylogenetic analysis based on the core genes, differentiated two subgroups of the genus, one group comprises of species characterized as highpressure cold-adapted while the other group is characterized as mesophilic pressure-sensitive species. By analyzing the differences of amino acid composition of these two groups, we have identified the specific trend of amino acid usage that has been adopted by the psychro-peizo-tolerant Shewanella species. The functional categories have also been recognized which are responsible for rendering the particular amino acid compositional pattern in psychropeizophilic Shewanella species facilitating their niche adaptation.