Translational control of the subgenomic RNAs of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
ABSTRACT: The 3'-one-third of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) genome contains genes for four essential structural proteins and eight virus-specific genes. The expression of this genomic information of SARS-CoV involves synthesis of a nested set of subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs). In this study, we showed that the translational levels of 10 SARS-CoV sgRNAs including the two low-abundance sgRNAs 2-1 and 3-1 varied considerably in translation reporter assays. We also demonstrated that the initiator AUG codon of sgRNA-8 was silent and the repressive control was most likely positioned in the upstream untranslated region (UTR) of sgRNA-8. The initiator AUG codons of most sgRNAs are in poor Kozak contexts and the translation of truncated proteins from downstream AUG codons by leaky scanning was common in our experimental settings. No significant correlation was found between complexity of 5'-UTR and the sequence context of AUG codon with the level of translation of SARS-CoV sgRNAs. These results will be helpful for further studies to reveal the biological functions and translation regulatory mechanisms of sgRNAs in the coronavirus life cycle and pathogenesis.
Project description:Noncanonical translation, and particularly initiation on non-AUG codons, are frequently used by viral and cellular mRNAs during virus infection and disease. The Sindbis virus (SINV) subgenomic mRNA (sgRNA) constitutes a unique model system to analyze the translation of a capped viral mRNA without the participation of several initiation factors. Moreover, sgRNA can initiate translation even when the AUG initiation codon is replaced by other codons. Using SINV replicons, we examined the efficacy of different codons in place of AUG to direct the synthesis of the SINV capsid protein. The substitution of AUG by CUG was particularly efficient in promoting the incorporation of leucine or methionine in similar percentages at the amino terminus of the capsid protein. Additionally, valine could initiate translation when the AUG is replaced by GUG. The ability of sgRNA to initiate translation on non-AUG codons was dependent on the integrity of a downstream stable hairpin (DSH) structure located in the coding region. The structural requirements of this hairpin to signal the initiation site on the sgRNA were examined in detail. Of interest, a virus bearing CUG in place of AUG in the sgRNA was able to infect cells and synthesize significant amounts of capsid protein. This virus infects the human haploid cell line HAP1 and the double knockout variant that lacks eIF2A and eIF2D. Collectively, these findings indicate that leucine-tRNA or valine-tRNA can participate in the initiation of translation of sgRNA by a mechanism dependent on the DSH. This mechanism does not involve the action of eIF2, eIF2A, or eIF2D.
Project description:The expression of the genomic information of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV) involves synthesis of a nested set of subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs) by discontinuous transcription. In SARS CoV-infected cells, 10 sgRNAs, including 2 novel ones, were identified, which were predicted to be functional in the expression of 12 open reading frames located in the 3' one-third of the genome. Surprisingly, one new sgRNA could lead to production of a truncated spike protein. Sequence analysis of the leader-body fusion sites of each sgRNA showed that the junction sequences and the corresponding transcription-regulatory sequence (TRS) are unique for each species of sgRNA and are consistent after virus passages. For the two novel sgRNAs, each used a variant of the TRS that has one nucleotide mismatch in the conserved hexanucleotide core (ACGAAC) in the TRS. Coexistence of both plus and minus strands of SARS CoV sgRNAs and evidence for derivation of the sgRNA core sequence from the body core sequence favor the model of discontinuous transcription during minus-strand synthesis. Moreover, one rare species of sgRNA has the junction sequence AAA, indicating that its transcription could result from a noncanonical transcription signal. Taken together, these results provide more insight into the molecular mechanisms of genome expression and subgenomic transcription of SARS CoV.
Project description:Usage of presumed 5'UTR or downstream in-frame AUG codons, next to non-AUG codons as translation start codons contributes to the diversity of a proteome as protein isoforms harboring different N-terminal extensions or truncations can serve different functions. Recent ribosome profiling data revealed a highly underestimated occurrence of database nonannotated, and thus alternative translation initiation sites (aTIS), at the mRNA level. N-terminomics data in addition showed that in higher eukaryotes around 20% of all identified protein N termini point to such aTIS, to incorrect assignments of the translation start codon, translation initiation at near-cognate start codons, or to alternative splicing. We here report on more than 1700 unique alternative protein N termini identified at the proteome level in human and murine cellular proteomes. Customized databases, created using the translation initiation mapping obtained from ribosome profiling data, additionally demonstrate the use of initiator methionine decoded near-cognate start codons besides the existence of N-terminal extended protein variants at the level of the proteome. Various newly identified aTIS were confirmed by mutagenesis, and meta-analyses demonstrated that aTIS reside in strong Kozak-like motifs and are conserved among eukaryotes, hinting to a possible biological impact. Finally, TargetP analysis predicted that the usage of aTIS often results in altered subcellular localization patterns, providing a mechanism for functional diversification.
Project description:The SARS-CoV-2, a positive-sense single-stranded RNA Coronavirus, is a global threat to human health. Thus, understanding its life cycle mechanistically would be important to facilitate the design of antiviral drugs. A key aspect of viral progression is the synthesis of viral proteins by the ribosome of the human host. In Coronaviruses, this process is regulated by the viral 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTRs), but the precise regulatory mechanism has not yet been well understood. In particular, the 5'-UTR of the viral genome is most likely involved in translation initiation of viral proteins. Here, we performed inline probing and RNase V1 probing to establish a model of the secondary structure of SARS-CoV-2 5'-UTR. We found that the 5'-UTR contains stable structures including a very stable four-way junction close to the AUG start codon. Sequence alignment analysis of SARS-CoV-2 variants 5'-UTRs revealed a highly conserved structure with few co-variations that confirmed our secondary structure model based on probing experiments.
Project description:In all domains of life, initiator tRNA functions exclusively at the first step of protein synthesis while elongator tRNAs extend the polypeptide chain. Unique features of initiator tRNA enable it to preferentially bind the ribosomal P site and initiate translation. Recently, we showed that the abundance of initiator tRNA also contributes to its specialized role. This motivates the question, can a cell also use elongator tRNA to initiate translation under certain conditions? To address this, we introduced non-AUG initiation codons CCC (Pro), GAG (Glu), GGU (Gly), UCU (Ser), UGU (Cys), ACG (Thr), AAU (Asn), and AGA (Arg) into the uracil DNA glycosylase gene (ung) used as a reporter gene. Enzyme assays from log-phase cells revealed initiation from non-AUG codons when intracellular initiator tRNA levels were reduced. The activity increased significantly in stationary phase. Further increases in initiation from non-AUG codons occurred in both growth phases upon introduction of plasmid-borne genes of cognate elongator tRNAs. Since purine-rich Shine-Dalgarno sequences occur frequently on mRNAs (in places other than the canonical AUG codon initiation contexts), initiation with elongator tRNAs from the alternate contexts may generate proteome diversity under stress without compromising genomic integrity. Thus, by changing the relative amounts of initiator and elongator tRNAs within the cell, we have blurred the distinction between the two classes of tRNAs thought to be frozen through years of evolution.
Project description:Recent studies have shown that haloarchaea employ leaderless and Shine-Dalgarno (SD)-less mechanisms for translation initiation of leaderless transcripts with a 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) of <10 nucleotides (nt) and leadered transcripts with a 5' UTR of ≥10 nt, respectively. However, whether the two mechanisms can operate on the same naturally occurring haloarchaeal transcript carrying multiple potential start codons is unknown. In this study, the transcript of the sptA gene (encoding an extracellular serine protease of Natrinema sp. strain J7-2) was experimentally determined and found to contain two potential in-frame AUG codons (AUG(1) and AUG(2)) located 5 and 29 nt, respectively, downstream of the transcription start site. Mutational analysis revealed that both AUGs can function as the translation start codon for production of active SptA, although AUG(1) is more efficient than AUG(2) for translation initiation. Insertion of a stable stem-loop structure between the two AUGs completely abolished initiation at AUG(1) but did not affect initiation at AUG(2), indicating that AUG(2)-initiated translation does not involve ribosome scanning from the 5' end of the transcript. Furthermore, the efficiency of AUG(2)-initiated translation was not influenced by an upstream SD-like sequence. In addition, both AUG(1) and AUG(2) contribute to transcript stability, probably by recruiting ribosomes to protect the transcript against degradation. These data suggest that depending on which of two in-frame start codons is used, the sptA transcript can act as either a leaderless or a leadered transcript for SptA production in haloarchaea.In eukaryotes and bacteria, alternative translation start sites contribute to proteome complexity and can be used as a functional mechanism to increase translation efficiency. However, little is known about alternative translation initiation in archaea. Our results demonstrate that leaderless and SD-less mechanisms can be used for translation initiation of the sptA transcript from two in-frame start codons, raising the possibility that in haloarchaea, alternative translation initiation on one transcript functions to increase translation efficiency and/or contribute to proteome complexity.
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:BACKGROUND: Utilization of alternative initiation sites for protein translation directed by non-AUG codons in mammalian mRNAs is observed with increasing frequency. Alternative initiation sites are utilized for the synthesis of important regulatory proteins that control distinct biological functions. It is, therefore, of high significance to define the parameters that allow accurate bioinformatic prediction of alternative translation initiation sites (aTIS). This study has investigated 5'-UTR regions of mRNAs to define consensus sequence properties and structural features that allow identification of alternative initiation sites for protein translation. RESULTS: Bioinformatic evaluation of 5'-UTR sequences of mammalian mRNAs was conducted for classification and identification of alternative translation initiation sites for a group of mRNA sequences that have been experimentally demonstrated to utilize alternative non-AUG initiation sites for protein translation. These are represented by the codons CUG, GUG, UUG, AUA, and ACG for aTIS. The first phase of this bioinformatic analysis implements a classification tree that evaluated 5'-UTRs for unique consensus sequence features near the initiation codon, characteristics of 5'-UTR nucleotide sequences, and secondary structural features in a decision tree that categorizes mRNAs into those with potential aTIS, and those without. The second phase addresses identification of the aTIS codon and its location. Critical parameters of 5'-UTRs were assessed by an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) for identification of the aTIS codon and its location. ANNs have previously been used for the purpose of AUG start site prediction and are applicable in complex. ANN analyses demonstrated that multiple properties were required for predicting aTIS codons; these properties included unique consensus nucleotide sequences at positions -7 and -6 combined with positions -3 and +4, 5'-UTR length, ORF length, predicted secondary structures, free energy features, upstream AUGs, and G/C ratio. Importantly, combined results of the classification tree and the ANN analyses provided highly accurate bioinformatic predictions of alternative translation initiation sites. CONCLUSION: This study has defined the unique properties of 5'-UTR sequences of mRNAs for successful bioinformatic prediction of alternative initiation sites utilized in protein translation. The ability to define aTIS through the described bioinformatic analyses can be of high importance for genomic analyses to provide full predictions of translated mammalian and human gene products required for cellular functions in health and disease.
Project description:The Taura syndrome virus (TSV), a member of the Dicistroviridae family of viruses, is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus which contains two nonoverlapping reading frames separated by a 230-nucleotide intergenic region. This intergenic region contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) which directs the synthesis of the TSV capsid proteins. Unlike other dicistroviruses, the TSV IRES contains an AUG codon that is in frame with the capsid region, suggesting that the IRES initiates translation at this AUG codon by using initiator tRNAmet. We show here that the TSV IRES does not use this or any other AUG codon to initiate translation. Like the IRES in cricket paralysis virus (CrPV), the TSV IRES can assemble 80S ribosomes in the absence of initiation factors and can direct protein synthesis in a reconstituted system that contains only purified ribosomal subunits, eukaryotic elongation factors 1A and 2, and aminoacylated tRNAs. The functional conservation of the CrPV-like IRES elements in viruses that can infect different invertebrate hosts suggests that initiation at non-AUG codons by an initiation factor-independent mechanism may be more prevalent.
Project description:Transcription is controlled by cis regulatory elements, which if localized downstream to the transcriptional start site (TSS), in the 5'UTR, could influence translation as well. However presently there is little evidence for such composite regulatory elements. We have identified by computational analysis an abundant element located downstream to the TSS up to position +30, which controls both transcription and translation. This element has an invariable ATG sequence, which serves as the translation initiation codon in 64% of the genes bearing it. In these genes the initiating AUG is preceded by an extremely short 5'UTR. We show that translation in vitro and in vivo is initiated exclusively from the AUG of this motif, and that the AUG flanking sequences create a strong translation initiation context. This motif is distinguished from the well-known Kozak in its unique ability to direct efficient and accurate translation initiation from mRNAs with a very short 5'UTR. We therefore named it TISU for Translation Initiator of Short 5'UTR. Interestingly, this translation initiation element is also an essential transcription regulatory element of Yin Yang 1. Our characterization of a common transcription and translation element points to a link between mammalian transcription and translation initiation.