Start Codon Recognition in Eukaryotic and Archaeal Translation Initiation: A Common Structural Core.
ABSTRACT: Understanding molecular mechanisms of ribosomal translation sheds light on the emergence and evolution of protein synthesis in the three domains of life. Universally, ribosomal translation is described in three steps: initiation, elongation and termination. During initiation, a macromolecular complex assembled around the small ribosomal subunit selects the start codon on the mRNA and defines the open reading frame. In this review, we focus on the comparison of start codon selection mechanisms in eukaryotes and archaea. Eukaryotic translation initiation is a very complicated process, involving many initiation factors. The most widespread mechanism for the discovery of the start codon is the scanning of the mRNA by a pre-initiation complex until the first AUG codon in a correct context is found. In archaea, long-range scanning does not occur because of the presence of Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequences or of short 5' untranslated regions. However, archaeal and eukaryotic translation initiations have three initiation factors in common: e/aIF1, e/aIF1A and e/aIF2 are directly involved in the selection of the start codon. Therefore, the idea that these archaeal and eukaryotic factors fulfill similar functions within a common structural ribosomal core complex has emerged. A divergence between eukaryotic and archaeal factors allowed for the adaptation to the long-range scanning process versus the SD mediated prepositioning of the ribosome.
Project description:In archaeal translation initiation, a preinitiation complex (PIC) made up of aIF1, aIF1A, the ternary complex (TC, e/aIF2-GTP-Met-tRNAiMet) and mRNA bound to the small ribosomal subunit is responsible for start codon selection. Many archaeal mRNAs contain a Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence allowing the PIC to be prepositioned in the vicinity of the start codon. Nevertheless, cryo-EM studies have suggested local scanning to definitely establish base pairing of the start codon with the tRNA anticodon. Here, using fluorescence anisotropy, we show that aIF1 and mRNA have synergistic binding to the Pyrococcus abyssi 30S. Stability of 30S:mRNA:aIF1 strongly depends on the SD sequence. Further, toeprinting experiments show that aIF1-containing PICs display a dynamic conformation with the tRNA not firmly accommodated in the P site. AIF1-induced destabilization of the PIC is favorable for proofreading erroneous initiation complexes. After aIF1 departure, the stability of the PIC increases reflecting initiator tRNA fully base-paired to the start codon. Altogether, our data support the idea that some of the main events governing start codon selection in eukaryotes and archaea occur within a common structural and functional core. However, idiosyncratic features in loop 1 sequence involved in 30S:mRNA binding suggest adjustments of e/aIF1 functioning in the two domains.
Project description:Eukaryotic and archaeal translation initiation complexes have a common structural core comprising e/aIF1, e/aIF1A, the ternary complex (TC, e/aIF2-GTP-Met-tRNAiMet) and mRNA bound to the small ribosomal subunit. e/aIF2 plays a crucial role in this process but how this factor controls start codon selection remains unclear. Here, we present cryo-EM structures of the full archaeal 30S initiation complex showing two conformational states of the TC. In the first state, the TC is bound to the ribosome in a relaxed conformation with the tRNA oriented out of the P site. In the second state, the tRNA is accommodated within the peptidyl (P) site and the TC becomes constrained. This constraint is compensated by codon/anticodon base pairing, whereas in the absence of a start codon, aIF2 contributes to swing out the tRNA. This spring force concept highlights a mechanism of codon/anticodon probing by the initiator tRNA directly assisted by aIF2.
Project description:Translation initiation (TI) allows accurate selection of the initiation codon on a messenger RNA (mRNA) and defines the reading frame. In all domains of life, translation initiation generally occurs within a macromolecular complex made up of the small ribosomal subunit, the mRNA, a specialized methionylated initiator tRNA, and translation initiation factors (IFs). Once the start codon is selected at the P site of the ribosome and the large subunit is associated, the IFs are released and a ribosome competent for elongation is formed. However, even if the general principles are the same in the three domains of life, the molecular mechanisms are different in bacteria, eukaryotes, and archaea and may also vary depending on the mRNA. Because TI mechanisms have evolved lately, their studies bring important information about the evolutionary relationships between extant organisms. In this context, recent structural data on ribosomal complexes and genome-wide studies are particularly valuable. This review focuses on archaeal translation initiation highlighting its relationships with either the eukaryotic or the bacterial world. Eukaryotic features of the archaeal small ribosomal subunit are presented. Ribosome evolution and TI mechanisms diversity in archaeal branches are discussed. Next, the use of leaderless mRNAs and that of leadered mRNAs having Shine-Dalgarno sequences is analyzed. Finally, the current knowledge on TI mechanisms of SD-leadered and leaderless mRNAs is detailed.
Project description:Archaeal translation initiation occurs within a macromolecular complex containing the small ribosomal subunit (30S) bound to mRNA, initiation factors aIF1, aIF1A and the ternary complex aIF2:GDPNP:Met-tRNAiMet. Here, we determine the cryo-EM structure of a 30S:mRNA:aIF1A:aIF2:GTP:Met-tRNAiMet complex from Pyrococcus abyssi at 3.2?Å resolution. It highlights archaeal features in ribosomal proteins and rRNA modifications. We find an aS21 protein, at the location of eS21 in eukaryotic ribosomes. Moreover, we identify an N-terminal extension of archaeal eL41 contacting the P site. We characterize 34 N4-acetylcytidines distributed throughout 16S rRNA, likely contributing to hyperthermostability. Without aIF1, the 30S head is stabilized and initiator tRNA is tightly bound to the P site. A network of interactions involving tRNA, mRNA, rRNA modified nucleotides and C-terminal tails of uS9, uS13 and uS19 is observed. Universal features and domain-specific idiosyncrasies of translation initiation are discussed in light of ribosomal structures from representatives of each domain of life.
Project description:During eukaryotic translation initiation, the 43S preinitiation complex (43S PIC), consisting of the 40S ribosomal subunit, eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) and initiator tRNA scans mRNA to find an appropriate start codon. Key roles in the accuracy of initiation codon selection belong to eIF1 and eIF1A, whereas the mammalian-specific DHX29 helicase substantially contributes to ribosomal scanning of structured mRNAs. Here, we show that DHX29 stimulates the recognition of the AUG codon but not the near-cognate CUG codon regardless of its nucleotide context during ribosomal scanning. The stimulatory effect depends on the contact between DHX29 and eIF1A. The unique DHX29 N-terminal domain binds to the ribosomal site near the mRNA entrance, where it contacts the eIF1A OB domain. UV crosslinking assays revealed that DHX29 may rearrange eIF1A and eIF2? in key nucleotide context positions of ribosomal complexes. Interestingly, DHX29 impedes the 48S initiation complex formation in the absence of eIF1A perhaps due to forming a physical barrier that prevents the 43S PIC from loading onto mRNA. Mutational analysis allowed us to split the mRNA unwinding and codon selection activities of DHX29. Thus, DHX29 is another example of an initiation factor contributing to start codon selection.
Project description:48S initiation complex (48S IC) formation is the first stage in the eukaryotic translation process. According to the canonical mechanism, 40S ribosomal subunit binds to the 5'-end of messenger RNA (mRNA) and scans its 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) to the initiation codon where it forms the 48S IC. Entire process is mediated by initiation factors. Here we show that eIF5 and eIF5B together stimulate 48S IC formation influencing initiation codon selection during ribosomal scanning. Initiation on non-optimal start codons--following structured 5'-UTRs, in bad AUG context, within few nucleotides from 5'-end of mRNA and CUG start codon--is the most affected. eIF5-induced hydrolysis of eIF2-bound GTP is essential for stimulation. GTP hydrolysis increases the probability that scanning ribosomal complexes will recognize and arrest scanning at a non-optimal initiation codon. Such 48S ICs are less stable owing to dissociation of eIF2*GDP from initiator tRNA, and eIF5B is then required to stabilize the initiator tRNA in the P site of 40S subunit. Alternative model that eIF5 and eIF5B cause 43S pre-initiation complex rearrangement favoring more efficient initiation codon recognition during ribosomal scanning is equally possible. Mutational analysis of eIF1A and eIF5B revealed distinct functions of eIF5B in 48S IC formation and subunit joining.
Project description:The efficiency of start codon selection during ribosomal scanning in eukaryotic translation initiation is influenced by the context or flanking nucleotides surrounding the AUG codon. The levels of eukaryotic translation initiation factors 1 (eIF1) and 5 (eIF5) play critical roles in controlling the stringency of translation start site selection. The basic leucine zipper and W2 domain-containing proteins 1 and 2 (BZW1 and BZW2), also known as eIF5-mimic proteins, are paralogous human proteins containing C-terminal HEAT domains that resemble the HEAT domain of eIF5. We show that translation of mRNAs encoding BZW1 and BZW2 homologs in fungi, plants and metazoans is initiated by AUG codons in conserved unfavorable initiation contexts. This conservation is reminiscent of the conserved unfavorable initiation context that enables autoregulation of EIF1. We show that overexpression of BZW1 and BZW2 proteins enhances the stringency of start site selection, and that their poor initiation codons confer autoregulation on BZW1 and BZW2 mRNA translation. We also show that overexpression of these two proteins significantly diminishes the effect of overexpressing eIF5 on stringency of start codon selection, suggesting they antagonize this function of eIF5. These results reveal a surprising role for BZW1 and BZW2 in maintaining homeostatic stringency of start codon selection, and taking into account recent biochemical, genetic and structural insights into eukaryotic initiation, suggest a model for BZW1 and BZW2 function.
Project description:Translation initiation is typically restricted to AUG codons, and scanning eukaryotic ribosomes inefficiently recognize near-cognate codons. We show that queuing of scanning ribosomes behind a paused elongating ribosome promotes initiation at upstream weak start sites. Ribosomal profiling reveals polyamine-dependent pausing of elongating ribosomes on a conserved Pro-Pro-Trp (PPW) motif in an inhibitory non-AUG-initiated upstream conserved coding region (uCC) of the antizyme inhibitor 1 (AZIN1) mRNA, encoding a regulator of cellular polyamine synthesis. Mutation of the PPW motif impairs initiation at the uCC's upstream near-cognate AUU start site and derepresses AZIN1 synthesis, whereas substitution of alternate elongation pause sequences restores uCC translation. Impairing ribosome loading reduces uCC translation and paradoxically derepresses AZIN1 synthesis. Finally, we identify the translation factor eIF5A as a sensor and effector for polyamine control of uCC translation. We propose that stalling of elongating ribosomes triggers queuing of scanning ribosomes and promotes initiation by positioning a ribosome near the start codon.
Project description:Selection of the correct start codon during initiation of translation on the ribosome is a key event in protein synthesis. In eukaryotic initiation, several factors have to function in concert to ensure that the initiator tRNA finds the cognate AUG start codon during mRNA scanning. The two initiation factors eIF1 and eIF1A are known to provide important functions for the initiation process and codon selection. Here, we have used molecular dynamics free energy calculations to evaluate the energetics of initiator tRNA binding to different near-cognate codons on the yeast 40S ribosomal subunit, in the presence and absence of these two initiation factors. The results show that eIF1 and eIF1A together cause a relatively uniform and high discrimination against near-cognate codons. This works such that eIF1 boosts the discrimination against a first position near-cognate G-U mismatch, and also against a second position A-A base pair, while eIF1A mainly acts on third codon position. The computer simulations further reveal the structural basis of the increased discriminatory effect caused by binding of eIF1 and eIF1A to the 40S ribosomal subunit.
Project description:Translation of mRNA into proteins by the ribosome is universally conserved in all cellular life. The composition and complexity of the translation machinery differ markedly between the three domains of life. Organisms from the domain Archaea show an intermediate level of complexity, sharing several additional components of the translation machinery with eukaryotes that are absent in bacteria. One of these translation factors is initiation factor 6 (IF6), which associates with the large ribosomal subunit. We have reconstructed the 50S ribosomal subunit from the archaeon Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus in complex with archaeal IF6 at 6.6 Å resolution using cryo-electron microscopy (EM). The structure provides detailed architectural insights into the 50S ribosomal subunit from a methanogenic archaeon through identification of the rRNA expansion segments and ribosomal proteins that are shared between this archaeal ribosome and eukaryotic ribosomes but are mostly absent in bacteria and in some archaeal lineages. Furthermore, the structure reveals that, in spite of highly divergent evolutionary trajectories of the ribosomal particle and the acquisition of novel functions of IF6 in eukaryotes, the molecular binding of IF6 on the ribosome is conserved between eukaryotes and archaea. The structure also provides a snapshot of the reductive evolution of the archaeal ribosome and offers new insights into the evolution of the translation system in archaea.