Structure of substrate-bound SMG1-8-9 kinase complex reveals molecular basis for phosphorylation specificity.
ABSTRACT: PI3K-related kinases (PIKKs) are large Serine/Threonine (Ser/Thr)-protein kinases central to the regulation of many fundamental cellular processes. PIKK family member SMG1 orchestrates progression of an RNA quality control pathway, termed nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), by phosphorylating the NMD factor UPF1. Phosphorylation of UPF1 occurs in its unstructured N- and C-terminal regions at Serine/Threonine-Glutamine (SQ) motifs. How SMG1 and other PIKKs specifically recognize SQ motifs has remained unclear. Here, we present a cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) reconstruction of a human SMG1-8-9 kinase complex bound to a UPF1 phosphorylation site at an overall resolution of 2.9 Å. This structure provides the first snapshot of a human PIKK with a substrate-bound active site. Together with biochemical assays, it rationalizes how SMG1 and perhaps other PIKKs specifically phosphorylate Ser/Thr-containing motifs with a glutamine residue at position +1 and a hydrophobic residue at position -1, thus elucidating the molecular basis for phosphorylation site recognition.
Project description:Mammalian nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic surveillance mechanism that degrades mRNAs containing premature translation termination codons. Phosphorylation of the essential NMD effector UPF1 by the phosphoinositide-3-kinase-like kinase (PIKK) SMG-1 is a key step in NMD and occurs when SMG-1, its two regulatory factors SMG-8 and SMG-9, and UPF1 form a complex at a terminating ribosome. Electron cryo-microscopy of the SMG-1-8-9-UPF1 complex shows the head and arm architecture characteristic of PIKKs and reveals different states of UPF1 docking. UPF1 is recruited to the SMG-1 kinase domain and C-terminal insertion domain, inducing an opening of the head domain that provides access to the active site. SMG-8 and SMG-9 interact with the SMG-1 C-insertion and promote high-affinity UPF1 binding to SMG-1-8-9, as well as decelerated SMG-1 kinase activity and enhanced stringency of phosphorylation site selection. The presence of UPF2 destabilizes the SMG-1-8-9-UPF1 complex leading to substrate release. Our results suggest an intricate molecular network of SMG-8, SMG-9 and the SMG-1 C-insertion domain that governs UPF1 substrate recruitment and phosphorylation by SMG-1 kinase, an event that is central to trigger mRNA decay.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a messenger RNA quality-control pathway triggered by SMG1-mediated phosphorylation of the NMD factor UPF1. In recent times, the RNA helicase DHX34 was found to promote mRNP remodelling, leading to activation of NMD. Here we demonstrate the mechanism by which DHX34 functions in concert with SMG1. DHX34 comprises two distinct structural units, a core that binds UPF1 and a protruding carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) that binds the SMG1 kinase, as shown using truncated forms of DHX34 and electron microscopy of the SMG1-DHX34 complex. Truncation of the DHX34 CTD does not affect binding to UPF1; however, it compromises DHX34 binding to SMG1 to affect UPF1 phosphorylation and hence abrogate NMD. Altogether, these data suggest the existence of a complex comprising SMG1, UPF1 and DHX34, with DHX34 functioning as a scaffold for UPF1 and SMG1. This complex promotes UPF1 phosphorylation leading to functional NMD.
Project description:Smg1 is a PI3K-related kinase (PIKK) associated with multiple cellular functions, including DNA damage responses, telomere maintenance, and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD degrades transcripts that harbor premature termination codons (PTCs) as a result of events such as mutation or alternative splicing (AS). Recognition of PTCs during NMD requires the action of the Upstream frameshift protein Upf1, which must first be phosphorylated by Smg1. However, the physiological function of mammalian Smg1 is not known. By using a gene-trap model of Smg1 deficiency, we show that this kinase is essential for mouse embryogenesis such that Smg1 loss is lethal at embryonic day 8.5. High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of RNA from cells of Smg1-deficient embryos revealed that Smg1 depletion led to pronounced accumulation of PTC-containing splice variant transcripts from approximately 9% of genes predicted to contain AS events capable of eliciting NMD. Among these genes are those involved in splicing itself, as well as genes not previously known to be subject to AS-coupled NMD, including several involved in transcription, intracellular signaling, membrane dynamics, cell death, and metabolism. Our results demonstrate a critical role for Smg1 in early mouse development and link the loss of this NMD factor to major and widespread changes in the mammalian transcriptome.
Project description:Eukaryotic mRNAs with premature translation-termination codons (PTCs) are recognized and eliminated by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD substrates can be degraded by different routes that all require phosphorylated UPF1 (P-UPF1) as a starting point. The endonuclease SMG6, which cleaves mRNA near the PTC, is one of the three known NMD factors thought to be recruited to nonsense mRNAs via an interaction with P-UPF1, leading to eventual mRNA degradation. By artificial tethering of SMG6 and mutants thereof to a reporter mRNA combined with knockdowns of various NMD factors, we demonstrate that besides its endonucleolytic activity, SMG6 also requires UPF1 and SMG1 to reduce reporter mRNA levels. Using in vivo and in vitro approaches, we further document that SMG6 and the unique stalk region of the UPF1 helicase domain, along with a contribution from the SQ domain, form a novel interaction and we also show that this region of the UPF1 helicase domain is critical for SMG6 function and NMD. Our results show that this interaction is required for NMD and for the capability of tethered SMG6 to degrade its bound RNA, suggesting that it contributes to the intricate regulation of UPF1 and SMG6 enzymatic activities.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an essential eukaryotic process regulating transcript quality and abundance, and is involved in diverse processes including brain development and plant defenses. Although some of the NMD machinery is conserved between kingdoms, little is known about its evolution. Phosphorylation of the core NMD component UPF1 is critical for NMD and is regulated in mammals by the SURF complex (UPF1, SMG1 kinase, SMG8, SMG9 and eukaryotic release factors). However, since SMG1 is reportedly missing from the genomes of fungi and the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, it remains unclear how UPF1 is activated outside the metazoa. We used comparative genomics to determine the conservation of the NMD pathway across eukaryotic evolution. We show that SURF components are present in all major eukaryotic lineages, including fungi, suggesting that in addition to UPF1 and SMG1, SMG8 and SMG9 also existed in the last eukaryotic common ancestor, 1.8 billion years ago. However, despite the ancient origins of the SURF complex, we also found that SURF factors have been independently lost across the Eukarya, pointing to genetic buffering within the essential NMD pathway. We infer an ancient role for SURF in regulating UPF1, and the intriguing possibility of undiscovered NMD regulatory pathways.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic surveillance pathway that recognizes mRNAs with premature stop codons and targets them for rapid degradation. Evidence from previous studies has converged on UPF1 as the central NMD factor. In human cells, the SMG1 kinase phosphorylates UPF1 at the N-terminal and C-terminal tails, in turn allowing the recruitment of the NMD factors SMG5, SMG6 and SMG7. To understand the molecular mechanisms, we recapitulated these steps of NMD in vitro using purified components. We find that a short C-terminal segment of phosphorylated UPF1 containing the last two Ser-Gln motifs is recognized by the heterodimer of SMG5 and SMG7 14-3-3-like proteins. In contrast, the SMG6 14-3-3-like domain is a monomer. The crystal structure indicates that the phosphoserine binding site of the SMG6 14-3-3-like domain is similar to that of SMG5 and can mediate a weak phospho-dependent interaction with UPF1. The dominant SMG6-UPF1 interaction is mediated by a low-complexity region bordering the 14-3-3-like domain of SMG6 and by the helicase domain and C-terminal tail of UPF1. This interaction is phosphorylation independent. Our study demonstrates that SMG5-SMG7 and SMG6 exhibit different and non-overlapping modes of UPF1 recognition, thus pointing at distinguished roles in integrating the complex NMD interaction network.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) represents a key mechanism to control the expression of wild-type and aberrant mRNAs. Phosphorylation of the protein UPF1 in the context of translation termination contributes to committing mRNAs to NMD. We report that translation termination is inhibited by UPF1 and stimulated by cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding protein (PABPC1). UPF1 binds to eRF1 and to the GTPase domain of eRF3 both in its GTP- and GDP-bound states. Importantly, mutation studies show that UPF1 can interact with the exon junction complex (EJC) alternatively through either UPF2 or UPF3b to become phosphorylated and to activate NMD. On this basis, we discuss an integrated model where UPF1 halts translation termination and is phosphorylated by SMG1 if the termination-promoting interaction of PABPC1 with eRF3 cannot readily occur. The EJC, with UPF2 or UPF3b as a cofactor, interferes with physiological termination through UPF1. This model integrates previously competing models of NMD and suggests a mechanistic basis for alternative NMD pathways.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a surveillance mechanism that degrades aberrant mRNAs. A complex comprising SMG1, UPF1, and the translation termination factors eRF1 and eRF3 (SURF) is assembled in the vicinity of a premature termination codon. Subsequently, an interaction with UPF2, UPF3b, and the exon junction complex induces the formation of the decay-inducing complex (DECID) and triggers NMD. We previously identified the RNA helicase DHX34 as an NMD factor in C. elegans and in vertebrates. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which DHX34 activates NMD in human cells. We show that DHX34 is recruited to the SURF complex via its preferential interaction with hypophosphorylated UPF1. A series of molecular transitions induced by DHX34 include enhanced recruitment of UPF2, increased UPF1 phosphorylation, and dissociation of eRF3 from UPF1. Thus, DHX34 promotes mRNP remodeling and triggers the conversion from the SURF complex to the DECID complex resulting in NMD activation.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic quality control pathway, involving conserved proteins UPF1, UPF2 and UPF3b, which detects and degrades mRNAs with premature stop codons. Human UPF2 comprises three tandem MIF4G domains and a C-terminal UPF1 binding region. MIF4G-3 binds UPF3b, but the specific functions of MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 are unknown. Crystal structures show that both MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 contain N-terminal capping helices essential for stabilization of the 10-helix MIF4G core and that MIF4G-2 interacts with MIF4G-3, forming a rigid assembly. The UPF2/UPF3b/SMG1 complex is thought to activate the kinase SMG1 to phosphorylate UPF1 in vivo. We identify MIF4G-3 as the binding site and in vitro substrate of SMG1 kinase and show that a ternary UPF2 MIF4G-3/UPF3b/SMG1 complex can form in vitro. Whereas in vivo complementation assays show that MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 are essential for NMD, tethering assays reveal that UPF2 truncated to only MIF4G-3 and the UPF1-binding region can still partially accomplish NMD. Thus UPF2 MIF4G-1 and MIF4G-2 appear to have a crucial scaffolding role, while MIF4G-3 is the key module required for triggering NMD.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an mRNA surveillance mechanism that in mammals generally occurs upon recognition of a premature termination codon (PTC) during a pioneer round of translation. This round involves newly synthesized mRNA that is bound at its 5' end by the cap-binding protein (CBP) heterodimer CBP80-CBP20. Here we show that precluding the binding of the NMD factor UPF1 to CBP80 inhibits NMD at two steps: the association of SMG1 and UPF1 with the two eukaryotic release factors (eRFs) during SURF complex formation at a PTC, and the subsequent association of SMG1 and UPF1 with an exon-junction complex. We also demonstrate that UPF1 binds PTC-containing mRNA more efficiently than the corresponding PTC-free mRNA in a way that is promoted by the UPF1-CBP80 interaction. A unifying model proposes a choreographed series of protein-protein interactions occurring on an NMD target.