Crystal structure of the translation recovery factor Trf from Sulfolobus solfataricus.
ABSTRACT: During translation initiation, the heterotrimeric archaeal translation initiation factor 2 (aIF2) recruits the initiator tRNAi to the small ribosomal subunit. In the stationary growth phase and/or during nutrient stress, Sulfolobus solfataricus aIF2 has a second function: It protects leaderless mRNAs against degradation by binding to their 5'-ends. The S. solfataricus protein Sso2509 is a translation recovery factor (Trf) that interacts with aIF2 and is responsible for the release of aIF2 from bound mRNAs, thereby enabling translation re-initiation. It is a member of the domain of unknown function 35 (DUF35) protein family and is conserved in Sulfolobales as well as in other archaea. Here, we present the X-ray structure of S. solfataricus Trf solved to a resolution of 1.65 Å. Trf is composed of an N-terminal rubredoxin-like domain containing a bound zinc ion and a C-terminal oligosaccharide/oligonucleotide binding fold domain. The Trf structure reveals putative mRNA binding sites in both domains. Surprisingly, the Trf protein is structurally but not sequentially very similar to proteins linked to acyl-CoA utilization-for example, the Sso2064 protein from S. solfataricus-as well as to scaffold proteins found in the acetoacetyl-CoA thiolase/high-mobility group-CoA synthase complex of the archaeon Methanothermococcus thermolithotrophicus and in a steroid side-chain-cleaving aldolase complex from the bacterium Thermomonospora curvata. This suggests that members of the DUF35 protein family are able to act as scaffolding and binding proteins in a wide variety of biological processes.
Project description:The translation initiation factor aIF2 of the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus (Sso) recruits initiator tRNA to the ribosome and stabilizes mRNAs by binding via the ?-subunit to their 5'-triphosphate end. It has been hypothesized that the latter occurs predominantly during unfavorable growth conditions, and that aIF2 or aIF2-? is released on relief of nutrient stress to enable in particular anew translation of leaderless mRNAs. As leaderless mRNAs are prevalent in Sso and aIF2-? bound to the 5'-end of a leaderless RNA inhibited ribosome binding in vitro, we aimed at elucidating the mechanism underlying aIF2/aIF2-? recycling from mRNAs. We have identified a protein termed Trf (translation recovery factor) that co-purified with trimeric aIF2 during outgrowth of cells from prolonged stationary phase. Subsequent in vitro studies revealed that Trf triggers the release of trimeric aIF2 from RNA, and that Trf directly interacts with the aIF2-? subunit. The importance of Trf is further underscored by an impaired protein synthesis during outgrowth from stationary phase in a Sso trf deletion mutant.
Project description:Many reactions within a cell are thermodynamically unfavorable. To efficiently run some of those endergonic reactions, nature evolved intermediate-channeling enzyme complexes, in which the products of the first endergonic reactions are immediately consumed by the second exergonic reactions. Based on this concept, we studied how archaea overcome the unfavorable first reaction of isoprenoid biosynthesis-the condensation of two molecules of acetyl-CoA to acetoacetyl-CoA catalyzed by acetoacetyl-CoA thiolases (thiolases). We natively isolated an enzyme complex comprising the thiolase and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA synthase (HMGCS) from a fast-growing methanogenic archaeon, Methanothermococcus thermolithotrophicus HMGCS catalyzes the second reaction in the mevalonate pathway-the exergonic condensation of acetoacetyl-CoA and acetyl-CoA to HMG-CoA. The 380-kDa crystal structure revealed that both enzymes are held together by a third protein (DUF35) with so-far-unknown function. The active-site clefts of thiolase and HMGCS form a fused CoA-binding site, which allows for efficient coupling of the endergonic thiolase reaction with the exergonic HMGCS reaction. The tripartite complex is found in almost all archaeal genomes and in some bacterial ones. In addition, the DUF35 proteins are also important for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biosynthesis, most probably by functioning as a scaffold protein that connects thiolase with 3-ketoacyl-CoA reductase. This natural and highly conserved enzyme complex offers great potential to improve isoprenoid and PHA biosynthesis in biotechnologically relevant organisms.
Project description:Initiation of translation in eukaryotes and in archaea involves eukaryotic/archaeal initiation factor (e/aIF)1 and the heterotrimeric initiation factor e/aIF2. In its GTP-bound form, e/aIF2 provides the initiation complex with Met-tRNA(i)(Met). After recognition of the start codon by initiator tRNA, e/aIF1 leaves the complex. Finally, e/aIF2, now in a GDP-bound form, loses affinity for Met-tRNA(i)(Met) and dissociates from the ribosome. Here, we report a 3D structure of an aIF2 heterotrimer from the archeon Sulfolobus solfataricus obtained in the presence of GDP. Our report highlights how the two-switch regions involved in formation of the tRNA-binding site on subunit gamma exchange conformational information with alpha and beta. The zinc-binding domain of beta lies close to the guanine nucleotide and directly contacts the switch 1 region. As a result, switch 1 adopts a not yet described conformation. Moreover, unexpectedly for a GDP-bound state, switch 2 has the "ON" conformation. The stability of these conformations is accounted for by a ligand, most probably a phosphate ion, bound near the nucleotide binding site. The structure suggests that this GDP-inorganic phosphate (Pi) bound state of aIF2 may be proficient for tRNA binding. Recently, it has been proposed that dissociation of eIF2 from the initiation complex is closely coupled to that of Pi from eIF2gamma upon start codon recognition. The nucleotide state of aIF2 shown here is indicative of a similar mechanism in archaea. Finally, we consider the possibility that release of Pi takes place after e/aIF2gamma has been informed of e/aIF1 dissociation by e/aIF2beta.
Project description:The protein IF2/eIF5B is one of the few translation initiation factors shared by all three primary domains of life (bacteria, archaea, eukarya). Despite its phylogenetic conservation, the factor is known to present marked functional divergences in the bacteria and the eukarya. In this work, the function in translation of the archaeal homologue (aIF2/5B) has been analysed in detail for the first time using a variety of in vitro assays. The results revealed that the protein is a ribosome-dependent GTPase which strongly stimulates the binding of initiator tRNA to the ribosomes even in the absence of other factors. In agreement with this finding, aIF2/5B enhances the translation of both leadered and leaderless mRNAs when expressed in a cell-free protein-synthesizing system. Moreover, the degree of functional conservation of the IF2-like factors in the archaeal and bacterial lineages was investigated by analysing the behaviour of 'chimeric' proteins produced by swapping domains between the Sulfolobus solfataricus aIF2/5B factor and the IF2 protein of the thermophilic bacterium Bacillus stearothermophilus. Beside evidencing similarities and differences between the archaeal and bacterial factors, these experiments have provided insight into the common role played by the IF2/5B proteins in all extant cells.
Project description:The heterotrimeric factor e/aIF2 plays a central role in eukaryotic/archaeal initiation of translation. By delivering the initiator methionyl-tRNA to the ribosome, e/aIF2 ensures specificity of initiation codon selection. The three subunits of aIF2 from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi could be overproduced in Escherichia coli. The beta and gamma subunits each contain a tightly bound zinc. The large gamma subunit is shown to form the structural core for trimer assembly. The crystal structures of aIF2gamma, free or complexed to GDP-Mg(2+) or GDPNP-Mg(2+), were resolved at resolutions better than 2 A. aIF2gamma displays marked similarities to elongation factors. A distinctive feature of e/aIF2gamma is a subdomain containing a zinc-binding knuckle. Examination of the nucleotide-complexed aIF2gamma structures suggests mechanisms of action and tRNA binding properties similar to those of an elongation factor. Implications for the mechanism of translation initiation in both eukarya and archaea are discussed. In particular, positioning of the initiator tRNA in the ribosomal A site during the search for the initiation codon is envisaged.
Project description:Translation is an important step in gene expression. The initiation of translation is phylogenetically diverse, since currently five different initiation mechanisms are known. For bacteria the three initiation factors IF1 - IF3 are described in contrast to archaea and eukaryotes, which contain a considerably higher number of initiation factor genes. As eukaryotes and archaea use a non-overlapping set of initiation mechanisms, orthologous proteins of both domains do not necessarily fulfill the same function. The genome of Haloferax volcanii contains 14 annotated genes that encode (subunits of) initiation factors. To gain a comprehensive overview of the importance of these genes, it was attempted to construct single gene deletion mutants of all genes. In 9 cases single deletion mutants were successfully constructed, showing that the respective genes are not essential. In contrast, the genes encoding initiation factors aIF1, aIF2?, aIF5A, aIF5B, and aIF6 were found to be essential. Factors aIF1A and aIF2? are encoded by two orthologous genes in H. volcanii. Attempts to generate double mutants failed in both cases, indicating that also these factors are essential. A translatome analysis of one of the single aIF2? deletion mutants revealed that the translational efficiency of the second ortholog was enhanced tenfold and thus the two proteins can replace one another. The phenotypes of the single deletion mutants also revealed that the two aIF1As and aIF2?s have redundant but not identical functions. Remarkably, the gene encoding aIF2?, a subunit of aIF2 involved in initiator tRNA binding, could be deleted. However, the mutant had a severe growth defect under all tested conditions. Conditional depletion mutants were generated for the five essential genes. The phenotypes of deletion mutants and conditional depletion mutants were compared to that of the wild-type under various conditions, and growth characteristics are discussed.
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: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.