Structural basis of RNA polymerase I pre-initiation complex formation and promoter melting.
ABSTRACT: Transcription of the ribosomal RNA precursor by RNA polymerase (Pol) I is a prerequisite for the biosynthesis of ribosomes in eukaryotes. Compared to Pols II and III, the mechanisms underlying promoter recognition, initiation complex formation and DNA melting by Pol I substantially diverge. Here, we report the high-resolution cryo-EM reconstruction of a Pol I early initiation intermediate assembled on a double-stranded promoter scaffold that prevents the establishment of downstream DNA contacts. Our analyses demonstrate how efficient promoter-backbone interaction is achieved by combined re-arrangements of flexible regions in the 'core factor' subunits Rrn7 and Rrn11. Furthermore, structure-function analysis illustrates how destabilization of the melted DNA region correlates with contraction of the polymerase cleft upon transcription activation, thereby combining promoter recruitment with DNA-melting. This suggests that molecular mechanisms and structural features of Pol I initiation have co-evolved to support the efficient melting, initial transcription and promoter clearance required for high-level rRNA synthesis.
Project description:We report the cloning of RRN11, a gene coding for a 66-kDa protein essential for transcription initiation by RNA polymerase I (Pol I) in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Rrn11 specifically complexes with two previously identified transcription factors, Rrn6 and Rrn7 (D. A. Keys, J. S. Steffan, J. A. Dodd, R. T. Yamamoto, Y. Nogi, and M. Nomura, Genes Dev. 8:2349-2362, 1994). The Rrn11-Rrn6-Rrn7 complex also binds the TATA-binding protein and is required for transcription by the core domain of the Pol I promoter. Therefore, we have designated the Rrn11-Rrn6-Rrn7-TATA-binding protein complex the yeast Pol I core factor. A two-hybrid assay was used to demonstrate involvement of short leucine heptad repeats on both Rrn11 and Rrn6 in the in vivo association of these two proteins. This assay also verified the previously described strong association between Rrn6 and Rrn7, independent of the Rrn6 leucine repeat.
Project description:In eukaryotic cells, RNA polymerase I (Pol I) synthesizes precursor ribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) that is subsequently processed into mature rRNA. To initiate transcription, Pol I requires the assembly of a multi-subunit pre-initiation complex (PIC) at the ribosomal RNA promoter. In yeast, the minimal PIC includes Pol I, the transcription factor Rrn3, and Core Factor (CF) composed of subunits Rrn6, Rrn7, and Rrn11. Here, we present the cryo-EM structure of the 18-subunit yeast Pol I PIC bound to a transcription scaffold. The cryo-EM map reveals an unexpected arrangement of the DNA and CF subunits relative to Pol I. The upstream DNA is positioned differently than in any previous structures of the Pol II PIC. Furthermore, the TFIIB-related subunit Rrn7 also occupies a different location compared to the Pol II PIC although it uses similar interfaces as TFIIB to contact DNA. Our results show that although general features of eukaryotic transcription initiation are conserved, Pol I and Pol II use them differently in their respective transcription initiation complexes.
Project description:Eukaryotic and archaeal multisubunit RNA polymerases (Pols) are structurally related and require several similar components for transcription initiation. However, none of the Pol I factors were known to share homology with transcription factor IIB (TFIIB) or TFIIB-related proteins, key factors in the initiation mechanisms of the other Pols. Here we show that Rrn7, a subunit of the yeast Pol I core factor, and its human ortholog TAF1B are TFIIB-like factors. Although distantly related, Rrn7 shares many activities associated with TFIIB-like factors. Domain swaps between TFIIB-related factors show that Rrn7 is most closely related to the Pol III general factor Brf1. Our results point to the conservation of initiation mechanisms among multisubunit Pols and reveal a key function of yeast core factor/human SL1 in Pol I transcription.
Project description:Transcription initiation by RNA Polymerase I (Pol I) depends on the Core Factor (CF) complex to recognize the upstream promoter and assemble into a Pre-Initiation Complex (PIC). Here, we solve a structure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pol I-CF-DNA to 3.8 Å resolution using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. The structure reveals a bipartite architecture of Core Factor and its recognition of the promoter from -27 to -16. Core Factor's intrinsic mobility correlates well with different conformational states of the Pol I cleft, in addition to the stabilization of either Rrn7 N-terminal domain near Pol I wall or the tandem winged helix domain of A49 at a partially overlapping location. Comparison of the three states in this study with the Pol II system suggests that a ratchet motion of the Core Factor-DNA sub-complex at upstream facilitates promoter melting in an ATP-independent manner, distinct from a DNA translocase actively threading the downstream DNA in the Pol II PIC.
Project description:Eukaryotic RNA polymerases (Pol) I, II, III and archaeal Pol use a related set of general transcription factors to recognize promoter sequences and recruit Pol to promoters and to function at key points in the transcription initiation mechanism. The TFIIB-like general transcription factors (GTFs) function during several important and conserved steps in the initiation pathway for Pols II, III, and archaeal Pol. Until recently, the mechanism of Pol I initiation seemed unique, since it appeared to lack a GTF paralogous to the TFIIB-like proteins. The surprising recent discovery of TFIIB-related Pol I general factors in yeast and humans highlights the evolutionary conservation of transcription initiation mechanisms for all eukaryotic and archaeal Pols. These findings reveal new roles for the function of the Pol I GTFs and insight into the function of TFIIB-related factors. Models for Pol I transcription initiation are reexamined in light of these recent findings. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Transcription by Odd Pols.
Project description:Core Factor (CF) is a conserved RNA polymerase (Pol) I general transcription factor comprising Rrn6, Rrn11 and the TFIIB-related subunit Rrn7. CF binds TATA-binding protein (TBP), Pol I and the regulatory factors Rrn3 and upstream activation factor. We used chemical cross-linking-MS to determine the molecular architecture of CF and its interactions with TBP. The CF subunits assemble through an interconnected network of interactions between five structural domains that are conserved in orthologous subunits of the human Pol I factor SL1. We validated the cross-linking-derived model through a series of genetic and biochemical assays. Our combined results show the architecture of CF and the functions of the CF subunits in assembly of the complex. We extend these findings to model how CF assembles into the Pol I preinitiation complex, providing new insight into the roles of CF, TBP and Rrn3.
Project description:In eukaryotic cells, ribosomal RNA is transcribed by RNA polymerase I (Pol I). To initiate transcription, Pol I requires the assembly of a multi-subunit pre-initiation complex (PIC). In yeast, the minimal PIC includes Pol I, the transcription factor Rrn3 and Core Factor (CF) composed of subunits Rrn6, Rrn7 and Rrn11. We have determined the cryo-EM structure of a 18-subunit yeast Pol I complex together with CF, Rrn3 and transcription scaffold. To aid in modeling the structure based on the cryo-EM map, we performed crosslinking mass spectrometry.
Project description:The region in promoters that specifies the transcription machinery is called the core promoter, displaying core promoter elements (CPE) necessary for establishment of a preinitiation complex and the initiation of transcription. A classical CPE is the TATA box. In fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a new CPE, called HomolD box, was discovered. Collectively, 141 ribosomal protein genes encoding the full set of 79 different ribosomal proteins and more than 60 other housekeeping genes display a HomolD box in the core promoter. Here, we show that transcription directed by the HomolD box requires the RNA polymerase II machinery, including the general transcription factors. Most intriguingly, however, we identify, by DNA affinity purification, Rrn7 as the protein binding to the HomolD box. Rrn7 is an evolutionary conserved member of the RNA polymerase I machinery involved in transcription initiation of core ribosomal DNA promoters. ChIP shows that Rrn7 cross-links to a ribosomal protein gene promoter containing the HomolD box but not to a promoter containing a TATA box. Taken together, our results suggest that Rrn7 is an excellent candidate to be involved in the coordination of ribosomal DNA and ribosomal gene transcription during ribosome synthesis and, therefore, offer a new perspective to study conservation and evolvability of regulatory networks in eukaryotes.
Project description:Sigma factors, the key regulatory components of the bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP), direct promoter DNA binding and DNA melting. The sigma(54)-RNAP forms promoter complexes in which DNA melting is only triggered by an activator and ATP hydrolysis-driven reorganisation of an initial sigma(54)-RNAP-promoter complex. We report that an initial bacterial RNAP-DNA complex can be reorganised by an activator to form an intermediate transcription initiation complex where full DNA melting has not yet occurred. Using sigma(54) as a chemical nuclease we now show that the reorganisation of the initial sigma(54)-RNAP-promoter complex occurs upon interaction with the activator at the transition point of ATP hydrolysis. We demonstrate that this reorganisation event is an early step in the transcription initiation pathway that occurs independently of RNAP parts normally associated with stable DNA melting and open complex formation. Using photoreactive DNA probes, we provide evidence that within this reorganised sigma(54)-RNAP-promoter complex, DNA contacts across the 'to be melted' sequences are made by the sigma(54) subunit. Strikingly, the activator protein, but not core RNAP subunits, is close to these DNA sequences.
Project description:RNA polymerase I (Pol I) assembles with core factor (CF) and Rrn3 on the rDNA core promoter for transcription initiation. Here, we report cryo-EM structures of closed, intermediate and open Pol I initiation complexes from 2.7 to 3.7?Å resolution to visualize Pol I promoter melting and to structurally and biochemically characterize the recognition mechanism of Pol I promoter DNA. In the closed complex, double-stranded DNA runs outside the DNA-binding cleft. Rotation of CF and upstream DNA with respect to Pol I and Rrn3 results in the spontaneous loading and opening of the promoter followed by cleft closure and positioning of the Pol I A49 tandem winged helix domain (tWH) onto DNA. Conformational rearrangement of A49 tWH leads to a clash with Rrn3 to initiate complex disassembly and promoter escape. Comprehensive insight into the Pol I transcription initiation cycle allows comparisons with promoter opening by Pol II and Pol III.