The Roles of Host 5-Methylcytosine RNA Methyltransferases during Viral Infections.
ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic 5-methylcytosine RNA methyltransferases catalyze the transfer of a methyl group to the fifth carbon of a cytosine base in RNA sequences to produce 5-methylcytosine (m5C). m5C RNA methyltransferases play a crucial role in the maintenance of functionality and stability of RNA. Viruses have developed a number of strategies to suppress host innate immunity and ensure efficient transcription and translation for the replication of new virions. One such viral strategy is to use host m5C RNA methyltransferases to modify viral RNA and thus to affect antiviral host responses. Here, we summarize the latest findings concerning the roles of m5C RNA methyltransferases, namely, NOL1/NOP2/SUN domain (NSUN) proteins and DNA methyltransferase 2/tRNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT2/TRDMT1) during viral infections. Moreover, the use of m5C RNA methyltransferase inhibitors as an antiviral therapy is discussed.
Project description:5-methylcytosine is often associated as an epigenetic modifier in DNA. However, it is also found increasingly in a plethora of RNA species, predominantly transfer RNAs, but increasingly found in cytoplasmic and mitochondrial ribosomal RNAs, enhancer RNAs, and a number of long noncoding RNAs. Moreover, this modification can also be found in messenger RNAs and has led to an increasing appreciation that RNA methylation can functionally regulate gene expression and cellular activities. In mammalian cells, the addition of m5C to RNA cytosines is carried out by enzymes of the NOL1/NOP2/SUN domain (NSUN) family as well as the DNA methyltransferase homologue DNMT2. In this regard, NSUN2 is a critical RNA methyltransferase for adding m5C to mRNA. In this review, using non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers as primary examples, we discuss the recent developments in the known functions of this RNA methyltransferase and its potential critical role in cancer.
Project description:5-methylcytosine (m?C) is an abundant RNA modification that's presence is reported in a wide variety of RNA species, including cytoplasmic and mitochondrial ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) and transfer RNAs (tRNAs), as well as messenger RNAs (mRNAs), enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) and a number of non-coding RNAs. In eukaryotes, C5 methylation of RNA cytosines is catalyzed by enzymes of the NOL1/NOP2/SUN domain (NSUN) family, as well as the DNA methyltransferase homologue DNMT2. In recent years, substrate RNAs and modification target nucleotides for each of these methyltransferases have been identified, and structural and biochemical analyses have provided the first insights into how each of these enzymes achieves target specificity. Functional characterizations of these proteins and the modifications they install have revealed important roles in diverse aspects of both mitochondrial and nuclear gene expression. Importantly, this knowledge has enabled a better understanding of the molecular basis of a number of diseases caused by mutations in the genes encoding m?C methyltransferases or changes in the expression level of these enzymes.
Project description:Many cellular RNAs require modification of specific residues for their biogenesis, structure, and function. 5-methylcytosine (m(5)C) is a common chemical modification in DNA and RNA but in contrast to the DNA modifying enzymes, only little is known about the methyltransferases that establish m(5)C modifications in RNA. The putative RNA methyltransferase NSUN6 belongs to the family of Nol1/Nop2/SUN domain (NSUN) proteins, but so far its cellular function has remained unknown. To reveal the target spectrum of human NSUN6, we applied UV crosslinking and analysis of cDNA (CRAC) as well as chemical crosslinking with 5-azacytidine. We found that human NSUN6 is associated with tRNAs and acts as a tRNA methyltransferase. Furthermore, we uncovered tRNA(Cys) and tRNA(Thr) as RNA substrates of NSUN6 and identified the cytosine C72 at the 3' end of the tRNA acceptor stem as the target nucleoside. Interestingly, target recognition in vitro depends on the presence of the 3'-CCA tail. Together with the finding that NSUN6 localizes to the cytoplasm and largely colocalizes with marker proteins for the Golgi apparatus and pericentriolar matrix, our data suggest that NSUN6 modifies tRNAs in a late step in their biogenesis.
Project description:Modified nucleotide 5-methylcytosine (m5C) is frequently present in various eukaryotic RNAs, including tRNAs, rRNAs and in other non-coding RNAs, as well as in mRNAs. RNA:m5C-methyltranferases (MTases) Nop2 from S. cerevisiae and human proliferation-associated nucleolar antigen p120 are both members of a protein family called Nop2/NSUN/NOL1. Protein p120 is well-known as a tumor marker which is over-expressed in various cancer tissues. Using a combination of RNA bisulfite sequencing and HPLC-MS/MS analysis, we demonstrated here that p120 displays an RNA:m5C- MTase activity, which restores m5C formation at position 2870 in domain V of 25S rRNA in a nop2? yeast strain. We also confirm that yeast proteins Nop2p and Rcm1p catalyze the formation of m5C in domains V and IV, respectively. In addition, we do not find any evidence of m5C residues in yeast 18S rRNA. We also performed functional complementation of Nop2-deficient yeasts by human p120 and studied the importance of different sequence and structural domains of Nop2 and p120 for yeast growth and m5C-MTase activity. Chimeric protein formed by Nop2 and p120 fragments revealed the importance of Nop2 N-terminal domain for correct protein localization and its cellular function. We also validated that the presence of Nop2, rather than the m5C modification in rRNA itself, is required for pre-rRNA processing. Our results corroborate that Nop2 belongs to the large family of pre-ribosomal proteins and possesses two related functions in pre-rRNA processing: as an essential factor for cleavages and m5C:RNA:modification. These results support the notion of quality control during ribosome synthesis by such modification enzymes.
Project description:RNA:5-methylcytosine (m5C) methyltransferases are currently the focus of intense research following a series of high-profile reports documenting their physiological links to several diseases. However, no methods exist which permit the specific analysis of RNA:m5C methyltransferases in cells. Herein, we described how a combination of biophysical studies led us to identify distinct duplex-remodelling effects of m5C on RNA and DNA duplexes. Specifically, m5C induces a C3'-endo to C2'-endo sugar-pucker switch in CpG RNA duplex but triggers a B-to-Z transformation in CpG DNA duplex. Inspired by these different 'structural signatures', we developed a m5C-sensitive probe which fluoresces spontaneously in response to m5C-induced sugar-pucker switch, hence useful for sensing RNA:m5C methyltransferase activity. Through the use of this probe, we achieved real-time imaging and flow cytometry analysis of NOP2/Sun RNA methyltransferase 2 (NSUN2) activity in HeLa cells. We further applied the probe to the cell-based screening of NSUN2 inhibitors. The developed strategy could also be adapted for the detection of DNA:m5C methyltransferases. This was demonstrated by the development of DNA m5C-probe which permits the screening of DNA methyltransferase 3A inhibitors. To our knowledge, this study represents not only the first examples of m5C-responsive probes, but also a new strategy for discriminating RNA and DNA m5C methyltransferase activity in cells.
Project description:5-methylcytosine (m5C) modifications of RNA are ubiquitous in nature and play important roles in many biological processes such as protein translational regulation, RNA processing and stress response. Aberrant expressions of RNA:m5C methyltransferases are closely associated with various human diseases including cancers. However, no structural information for RNA-bound RNA:m5C methyltransferase was available until now, hindering elucidation of the catalytic mechanism behind RNA:m5C methylation. Here, we have solved the structures of NSun6, a human tRNA:m5C methyltransferase, in the apo form and in complex with a full-length tRNA substrate. These structures show a non-canonical conformation of the bound tRNA, rendering the base moiety of the target cytosine accessible to the enzyme for methylation. Further biochemical assays reveal the critical, but distinct, roles of two conserved cysteine residues for the RNA:m5C methylation. Collectively, for the first time, we have solved the complex structure of a RNA:m5C methyltransferase and addressed the catalytic mechanism of the RNA:m5C methyltransferase family, which may allow for structure-based drug design toward RNA:m5C methyltransferase-related diseases.
Project description:Background: Glioma is the most common primary intracranial tumor, accounting for the vast majority of intracranial malignant tumors. Aberrant expression of RNA:5-methylcytosine(m5C) methyltransferases have recently been the focus of research relating to the occurrence and progression of tumors. However, the prognostic value of RNA:m5C methyltransferases in glioma remains unclear. This study investigated RNA: m5C methyltransferase expression and defined its clinicopathological signature and prognostic value in gliomas. Methods: We obtained the RNA-sequence and Clinicopathological data of RNA:m5C methyltransferases underlying gliomas from the Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas (CGGA) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets. We analyzed the expression of RNA:m5C methyltransferase genes in gliomas with different clinicopathological characteristics and identified different subtypes using Consensus clustering analysis. Gene Ontology (GO) and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) was used to annotate the function of these genes. Univariate Cox regression and the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) Cox regression algorithm analyses were performed to construct the risk signature. Kaplan-Meier method and Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to assess the overall survival of glioma patients. Additionally, Cox proportional regression model analysis was developed to address the connections between the risk scores and clinical factors. Results: We revealed the differential expression of RNA:m5C methyltransferase genes in gliomas with different clinicopathological features. Consensus clustering of RNA:m5C methyltransferases identified three clusters of gliomas with different prognostic and clinicopathological features. Meanwhile, functional annotations demonstrated that RNA:m5C methyltransferases were significantly associated with the malignant progression of gliomas. Thereafter, five RNA:m5C methyltransferase genes were screened to construct a risk signature that can be used to predict not only overall survival but also clinicopathological features in gliomas. ROC curves revealed the significant prognostic ability of this signature. In addition, Multivariate Cox regression analyses indicated that the risk score was an independent prognostic factor for glioma outcome. Conclusion: We demonstrated the prognostic role of RNA:m5C methyltransferases in the initiation and progression of glioma. We have expanded on the understanding of the molecular mechanism involved, and provided a unique approach to predictive biomarkers and targeted therapy for gliomas.
Project description:BACKGROUND:5-Methylcytosine (m5C) is a prevalent base modification in tRNA and rRNA but it also occurs more broadly in the transcriptome, including in mRNA, where it serves incompletely understood molecular functions. In pursuit of potential links of m5C with mRNA translation, we performed polysome profiling of human HeLa cell lysates and subjected RNA from resultant fractions to efficient bisulfite conversion followed by RNA sequencing (bsRNA-seq). Bioinformatic filters for rigorous site calling were devised to reduce technical noise. RESULTS:We obtained ~?1000 candidate m5C sites in the wider transcriptome, most of which were found in mRNA. Multiple novel sites were validated by amplicon-specific bsRNA-seq in independent samples of either human HeLa, LNCaP and PrEC cells. Furthermore, RNAi-mediated depletion of either the NSUN2 or TRDMT1 m5C:RNA methyltransferases showed a clear dependence on NSUN2 for the majority of tested sites in both mRNAs and noncoding RNAs. Candidate m5C sites in mRNAs are enriched in 5'UTRs and near start codons and are embedded in a local context reminiscent of the NSUN2-dependent m5C sites found in the variable loop of tRNA. Analysing mRNA sites across the polysome profile revealed that modification levels, at bulk and for many individual sites, were inversely correlated with ribosome association. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings emphasise the major role of NSUN2 in placing the m5C mark transcriptome-wide. We further present evidence that substantiates a functional interdependence of cytosine methylation level with mRNA translation. Additionally, we identify several compelling candidate sites for future mechanistic analysis.
Project description:How the covalent modification of mRNA ribonucleotides, termed epitranscriptomic modifications, alters mRNA function remains unclear. One issue has been the difficulty of quantifying these modifications. Using purified HIV-1 genomic RNA, we show that this RNA bears more epitranscriptomic modifications than the average cellular mRNA, with 5-methylcytosine (m5C) and 2'O-methyl modifications being particularly prevalent. The methyltransferase NSUN2 serves as the primary writer for m5C on HIV-1 RNAs. NSUN2 inactivation inhibits not only m5C addition to HIV-1 transcripts but also viral replication. This inhibition results from reduced HIV-1 protein, but not mRNA, expression, which in turn correlates with reduced ribosome binding to viral mRNAs. In addition, loss of m5C dysregulates the alternative splicing of viral RNAs. These data identify m5C as a post-transcriptional regulator of both splicing and function of HIV-1 mRNA, thereby affecting directly viral gene expression.
Project description:DNA, RNA and histone methylation is implicated in various human diseases such as cancer or viral infections, playing a major role in cell process regulation, especially in modulation of gene expression. Here we developed a convergent synthetic pathway starting from a protected bromomethylcytosine derivative to synthesize transition state analogues of the DNA methyltransferases. This approach led to seven 5-methylcytosine-adenosine compounds that were, surprisingly, inactive against hDNMT1, hDNMT3Acat, TRDMT1 and other RNA human and viral methyltransferases. Interestingly, compound 4 and its derivative 2 showed an inhibitory activity against PRMT4 in the micromolar range. Crystal structures showed that compound 4 binds to the PRMT4 active site, displacing strongly the S-adenosyl-l-methionine cofactor, occupying its binding site, and interacting with the arginine substrate site through the cytosine moiety that probes the space filled by a substrate peptide methylation intermediate. Furthermore, the binding of the compounds induces important structural switches. These findings open new routes for the conception of new potent PRMT4 inhibitors based on the 5-methylcytosine-adenosine scaffold.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Frontiers in epigenetic chemical biology'.