Structural basis of transcription-translation coupling.
ABSTRACT: In bacteria, transcription and translation are coupled processes in which the movement of RNA polymerase (RNAP)-synthesizing messenger RNA (mRNA) is coordinated with the movement of the first ribosome-translating mRNA. Coupling is modulated by the transcription factors NusG (which is thought to bridge RNAP and the ribosome) and NusA. Here, we report cryo-electron microscopy structures of Escherichia coli transcription-translation complexes (TTCs) containing different-length mRNA spacers between RNAP and the ribosome active-center P site. Structures of TTCs containing short spacers show a state incompatible with NusG bridging and NusA binding (TTC-A, previously termed "expressome"). Structures of TTCs containing longer spacers reveal a new state compatible with NusG bridging and NusA binding (TTC-B) and reveal how NusG bridges and NusA binds. We propose that TTC-B mediates NusG- and NusA-dependent transcription-translation coupling.
Project description:Structural biology studies performed inside cells can capture molecular machines in action within their native context. In this work, we developed an integrative in-cell structural approach using the genome-reduced human pathogen <i>Mycoplasma pneumoniae</i> We combined whole-cell cross-linking mass spectrometry, cellular cryo-electron tomography, and integrative modeling to determine an in-cell architecture of a transcribing and translating expressome at subnanometer resolution. The expressome comprises RNA polymerase (RNAP), the ribosome, and the transcription elongation factors NusG and NusA. We pinpointed NusA at the interface between a NusG-bound elongating RNAP and the ribosome and propose that it can mediate transcription-translation coupling. Translation inhibition dissociated the expressome, whereas transcription inhibition stalled and rearranged it. Thus, the active expressome architecture requires both translation and transcription elongation within the cell.
Project description:The lack of a nucleus is the defining cellular feature of bacteria and archaea. Consequently, transcription and translation are occurring in the same compartment, proceed simultaneously and likely in a coupled fashion. Recent cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and tomography data, also combined with crosslinking-mass spectrometry experiments, have uncovered detailed structural features of the coupling between a transcribing bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) and the trailing translating ribosome in <i>Escherichia coli</i> and <i>Mycoplasma pneumoniae</i>. Formation of this supercomplex, called expressome, is mediated by physical interactions between the RNAP-bound transcription elongation factors NusG and/or NusA and the ribosomal proteins including uS10. Based on the structural conservation of the RNAP core enzyme, the ribosome, and the universally conserved elongation factors Spt5 (NusG) and NusA, we discuss requirements and functional implications of transcription-translation coupling in archaea. We furthermore consider additional RNA-mediated and co-transcriptional processes that potentially influence expressome formation in archaea.
Project description:NusA and NusG are major regulators of bacterial transcription elongation, which act either in concert or antagonistically. Both bind to RNA polymerase (RNAP), regulating pausing as well as intrinsic and Rho-dependent termination. Here, we demonstrate by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy that the Escherichia coli NusG amino-terminal domain forms a complex with the acidic repeat domain 2 (AR2) of NusA. The interaction surface of either transcription factor overlaps with the respective binding site for RNAP. We show that NusA-AR2 is able to remove NusG from RNAP. Our in vivo and in vitro results suggest that interaction between NusA and NusG could play various regulatory roles during transcription, including recruitment of NusG to RNAP, resynchronization of transcription:translation coupling, and modulation of termination efficiency.
Project description:In bacteria, RNA polymerase (RNAP), the central enzyme of transcription, is regulated by N-utilization substance (Nus) transcription factors. Several of these factors interact directly, and only transiently, with RNAP to modulate its function. As details of these interactions are largely unknown, we probed the RNAP binding surfaces of Escherichia coli (E. coli) Nus factors by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Perdeuterated factors with [(1)H,(13)C]-labeled methyl groups of Val, Leu, and Ile residues were titrated with protonated RNAP. After verification of this approach with the N-terminal domain (NTD) of NusG and RNAP we determined the RNAP binding site of NusE. It overlaps with the NusE interaction surface for the NusG C-terminal domain, indicating that RNAP and NusG compete for NusE and suggesting possible roles for the NusE:RNAP interaction, e.g. in antitermination and direct transcription:translation coupling. We solved the solution structure of NusA-NTD by NMR spectroscopy, identified its RNAP binding site with the same approach we used for NusG-NTD, and here present a detailed model of the NusA-NTD:RNAP:RNA complex.
Project description:NusA and NusG are transcription elongation factors that bind to RNA polymerase (RNAP) after sigma subunit release. Escherichia coli NusA (NusA(Ec)) stimulates intrinsic termination and RNAP(Ec) pausing, whereas NusG(Ec) promotes Rho-dependent termination and pause escape. Both Nus factors also participate in the formation of RNAP(Ec) antitermination complexes. We showed that Bacillus subtilis NusA (NusA(Bs)) stimulates intrinsic termination and RNAP(Bs) pausing at U107 and U144 in the trpEDCFBA operon leader. Pausing at U107 and U144 participates in the transcription attenuation and translational control mechanisms, respectively, presumably by providing additional time for trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP) to bind to the nascent trp leader transcript. Here, we show that NusG(Bs) causes modest pause stimulation at U107 and dramatic pause stimulation at U144. NusA(Bs) and NusG(Bs) act synergistically to increase the U107 and U144 pause half-lives. NusG(Bs)-stimulated pausing at U144 requires RNAP(Bs), whereas NusA(Bs) stimulates pausing of RNAP(Bs) and RNAP(Ec) at the U144 and E. coli his pause sites. Although NusG(Ec) does not stimulate pausing at U144, it competes with NusG(Bs)-stimulated pausing, suggesting that both proteins bind to the same surface of RNAP(Bs). Inactivation of nusG results in the loss of RNAP pausing at U144 in vivo and elevated trp operon expression, whereas plasmid-encoded NusG complements the mutant defects. Overexpression of nusG reduces trp operon expression to a larger extent than overexpression of nusA.
Project description:Bacterial messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis by RNA polymerase (RNAP) and first-round translation by the ribosome are often coupled to regulate gene expression, yet how coupling is established and maintained is ill understood. Here, we develop biochemical and single-molecule fluorescence approaches to probe the dynamics of RNAP-ribosome interactions on an mRNA with a translational preQ<sub>1</sub>-sensing riboswitch in its 5' untranslated region. Binding of preQ<sub>1</sub> leads to the occlusion of the ribosome binding site (RBS), inhibiting translation initiation. We demonstrate that RNAP poised within the mRNA leader region promotes ribosomal 30S subunit binding, antagonizing preQ<sub>1</sub>-induced RBS occlusion, and that the RNAP-30S bridging transcription factors NusG and RfaH distinctly enhance 30S recruitment and retention, respectively. We further find that, while 30S-mRNA interaction significantly impedes RNAP in the absence of translation, an actively translating ribosome promotes productive transcription. A model emerges wherein mRNA structure and transcription factors coordinate to dynamically modulate the efficiency of transcription-translation coupling.
Project description:The trafficking patterns of the bacterial regulators of transcript elongation sigma(70), rho, NusA, and NusG on genes in vivo and the explanation for promoter-proximal peaks of RNA polymerase (RNAP) are unknown. Genome-wide, E. coli ChIP-chip revealed distinct association patterns of regulators as RNAP transcribes away from promoters (rho first, then NusA, then NusG). However, the interactions of elongating complexes with these regulators did not differ significantly among most transcription units. A modest variation of NusG signal among genes reflected increased NusG interaction as transcription progresses, rather than functional specialization of elongating complexes. Promoter-proximal RNAP peaks were offset from sigma(70) peaks in the direction of transcription and co-occurred with NusA and rho peaks, suggesting that the RNAP peaks reflected elongating, rather than initiating, complexes. However, inhibition of rho did not increase RNAP levels within genes downstream from the RNAP peaks, suggesting the peaks are caused by a mechanism other than rho-dependent attenuation.
Project description:The in vivo trafficking patterns on DNA by the bacterial regulators of transcript elongation Sigma70, Rho, NusA, and NusG and the explanation for high promoter-proximal levels or peaks of RNA polymerase (RNAP) are unknown. Genome-wide ChIP-chip on E. coli revealed distinct association patterns of regulators as RNAP transcribes away from promoters (Rho first, then NusA, and then NusG). However, the interactions of elongating complexes with these regulators, including a weak interaction with Sigma70, did not differ significantly among most transcription units. A modest variation of NusG signal among genes reflected increased NusG interaction as transcription progresses, rather than functional specialization of elongating complexes. Promoter-proximal RNAP peaks were offset from Sigma70 peaks in the direction of transcription and co-occurred with NusA and Rho peaks, suggesting that the RNAP peaks reflected elongating, rather than initiating, complexes. However, inhibition of Rho did not increase RNAP levels within genes downstream of the RNAP peaks, suggesting the peaks are caused by a mechanism other than simple Rho-dependent attenuation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments were performed using antibodies against RNA polymerase (Beta' subunit), Sigma70, NusA, NusG, or Rho. Differentially labeled ChIP DNA and genomic DNA were competitively hybridized to an E. coli K-12 MG1655 tiling array with overlapping probes at ~24bp spacing across the entire genome. The series contains 17 total datasets.
Project description:It has been known for more than 50 years that transcription and translation are physically coupled in bacteria, but whether or not this coupling may be mediated by the two-domain protein N-utilization substance (Nus) G in Escherichia coli is still heavily debated. Here, we combine integrative structural biology and functional analyses to provide conclusive evidence that NusG can physically link transcription with translation by contacting both RNA polymerase and the ribosome. We present a cryo-electron microscopy structure of a NusG:70S ribosome complex and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy data revealing simultaneous binding of NusG to RNAP and the intact 70S ribosome, providing the first direct structural evidence for NusG-mediated coupling. Furthermore, in vivo reporter assays show that recruitment of NusG occurs late in transcription and strongly depends on translation. Thus, our data suggest that coupling occurs initially via direct RNAP:ribosome contacts and is then mediated by NusG.
Project description:UNLABELLED:A complex of highly conserved proteins consisting of NusB, NusE, NusA, and NusG is required for robust expression of rRNA in Escherichia coli. This complex is proposed to prevent Rho-dependent transcription termination by a process known as "antitermination." The mechanism of this antitermination in rRNA is poorly understood but requires association of NusB and NusE with a specific RNA sequence in rRNA known as BoxA. Here, we identify a novel member of the rRNA antitermination machinery: the inositol monophosphatase SuhB. We show that SuhB associates with elongating RNA polymerase (RNAP) at rRNA in a NusB-dependent manner. Although we show that SuhB is required for BoxA-mediated antitermination in a reporter system, our data indicate that the major function of the NusB/E/A/G/SuhB complex is not to prevent Rho-dependent termination of rRNA but rather to promote correct rRNA maturation. This occurs through formation of a SuhB-mediated loop between NusB/E/BoxA and RNAP/NusA/G. Thus, we have reassigned the function of these proteins at rRNA and identified another key player in this complex. IMPORTANCE:As RNA polymerase transcribes the rRNA operons in E. coli, it complexes with a set of proteins called Nus that confer enhanced rates of transcription elongation, correct folding of rRNA, and rRNA assembly with ribosomal proteins to generate a fully functional ribosome. Four Nus proteins were previously known, NusA, NusB, NusE, and NusG; here, we discover and describe a fifth, SuhB, that is an essential component of this complex. We demonstrate that the main function of this SuhB-containing complex is not to prevent premature transcription termination within the rRNA operon, as had been long claimed, but to enable rRNA maturation and a functional ribosome fully competent for translation.