Project description:Many bacteria and archaea contain clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) that confer resistance to invasive genetic elements. Central to this immune system is the production of CRISPR-derived RNAs (crRNAs) after transcription of the CRISPR locus. Here, we identify the endoribonuclease (Csy4) responsible for CRISPR transcript (pre-crRNA) processing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. A 1.8 angstrom crystal structure of Csy4 bound to its cognate RNA reveals that Csy4 makes sequence-specific interactions in the major groove of the crRNA repeat stem-loop. Together with electrostatic contacts to the phosphate backbone, these enable Csy4 to bind selectively and cleave pre-crRNAs using phylogenetically conserved serine and histidine residues in the active site. The RNA recognition mechanism identified here explains sequence- and structure-specific processing by a large family of CRISPR-specific endoribonucleases.
Project description:Small RNAs are essential for a variety of cellular functions. Argonaute (AGO) proteins are associated with all of the different classes of small RNAs, and are indispensable in small RNA-mediated regulatory pathways. AGO proteins have been identified in various types of stem cells in diverse species from plants and animals. This review article highlights recent progress on how AGO proteins and AGO-bound small RNAs regulate the self-renewal and differentiation of distinct stem cell types, including pluripotent, germline, somatic, and cancer stem cells.
Project description:The degradation of small RNAs in plants and animals is associated with small RNA 3' truncation and 3' uridylation and thus relies on exonucleases and nucleotidyl transferases. ARGONAUTE (AGO) proteins associate with small RNAs in vivo and are essential for not only the activities but also the stability of small RNAs. AGO1 is the microRNA (miRNA) effector in Arabidopsis, and its closest homolog, AGO10, maintains stem cell homeostasis in meristems by sequestration of miR165/6, a conserved miRNA acting through AGO1. Here, we show that SMALL RNA DEGRADING NUCLEASES (SDNs) initiate miRNA degradation by acting on AGO1-bound miRNAs to cause their 3' truncation, and the truncated species are uridylated and degraded. We report that AGO10 reduces miR165/6 accumulation by enhancing its degradation by SDN1 and SDN2 in vivo. In vitro, AGO10-bound miR165/6 is more susceptible to SDN1-mediated 3' truncation than AGO1-bound miR165/6. Thus, AGO10 promotes the degradation of miR165/6, which is contrary to the stabilizing effect of AGO1. Our work identifies a class of exonucleases responsible for miRNA 3' truncation in vivo and uncovers a mechanism of specificity determination in miRNA turnover. This work, together with previous studies on AGO10, suggests that spatially regulated miRNA degradation underlies stem cell maintenance in plants.
Project description:AGO-iCLIP-seq was utilized to characterize the RNAs bound to AGO in human neural stem cells infected with Zika virus strains Paraiba at MOI 1. miRNAs and mRNAs were analyzed to determine changes in RNAs loaded into the RISC 4 days post-infection. Overall design: Examination of AGO bound RNAs in human neural stem cells infected with Zika virus Paraiba with 3 experimental replicates per group.
Project description:With a dataset of more than 600 million small RNAs deeply sequenced from mouse hippocampal and staged sets of mouse cells that underwent reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells, we annotated the stem-loop precursors of the known miRNAs to identify isomoRs (miRNA-offset RNAs), loops, non-preferred strands, and guide strands. Products from both strands were readily detectable for most miRNAs. Changes in the dominant isomiR occurred among the cell types, as did switches of the preferred strand. The terminal nucleotide of the dominant isomiR aligned well with the dominant off-set sequence suggesting that Drosha cleavage generates most miRNA reads without terminal modification. Among the terminal modifications detected, most were non-templated mono- or di-nucleotide additions to the 3'-end. Based on the relative enrichment or depletion of specific nucleotide additions in an Ago-IP fraction there may be differential effects of these modifications on RISC loading. Sequence variation of the two strands at their cleavage sites suggested higher fidelity of Drosha than Dicer. These studies demonstrated multiple patterns of miRNA processing and considerable versatility in miRNA target selection.
Project description:The CRISPR-associated protein Cas12a (Cpf1), which has been repurposed for genome editing, possesses two distinct nuclease activities: endoribonuclease activity for processing its own guide RNAs and RNA-guided DNase activity for target DNA cleavage. To elucidate the molecular basis of both activities, we determined crystal structures of Francisella novicida Cas12a bound to guide RNA and in complex with an R-loop formed by a non-cleavable guide RNA precursor and a full-length target DNA. Corroborated by biochemical experiments, these structures reveal the mechanisms of guide RNA processing and pre-ordering of the seed sequence in the guide RNA that primes Cas12a for target DNA binding. Furthermore, the R-loop complex structure reveals the strand displacement mechanism that facilitates guide-target hybridization and suggests a mechanism for double-stranded DNA cleavage involving a single active site. Together, these insights advance our mechanistic understanding of Cas12a enzymes and may contribute to further development of genome editing technologies.
Project description:The par stability determinant of Enterococcus faecalis plasmid pAD1 is the only antisense RNA-regulated addiction module identified to date in gram-positive bacteria. par encodes two small, convergently transcribed RNAs, designated RNA I and RNA II, that function as the toxin (Fst)-encoding and antitoxin components, respectively. Previous work showed that structures at the 5' end of RNA I are important in regulating its translation. The work presented here reveals that a stem-loop sequestering the Fst ribosome binding site is required for translational repression but a helix sequestering the 5' end of RNA I is not. Furthermore, disruption of the stem-loop prevented RNA II-mediated repression of Fst translation in vivo. Finally, although Fst-encoding wild-type RNA I is not toxic in Escherichia coli, mutations affecting stem-loop stability resulted in toxicity in this host, presumably due to increased translation.
Project description:Short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) are widely used to produce small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) for gene silencing. Here we design an alternative siRNA precursor, named single-stranded, Argonaute 2 (Ago2)-processed interfering RNA (saiRNA), containing a 16-18 bp stem and a loop complementary to the target transcript. The introduction of a self-cleaving ribozyme derived from hepatitis delta virus to the 3' end of the transcribed saiRNA dramatically improves its silencing activity by generating a short 3' overhang that facilitates the efficient binding of saiRNA to Ago2. The same ribozyme also enhances the activity of Dicer-dependent shRNAs. Unlike a classical shRNA, the strand-specific cleavage of saiRNA by Ago2 during processing eliminates the passenger strand and prevents the association of siRNA with non-nucleolytic Ago proteins. As a result, off-target effects are reduced. In addition, saiRNA exhibits less competition with the biogenesis of endogenous miRNAs. Therefore, ribozyme-enhanced saiRNA provides a reliable tool for RNA interference applications.
Project description:Argonaute (Ago) proteins mediate posttranscriptional gene repression by binding guide miRNAs to regulate targeted RNAs. To confidently assess Ago-bound small RNAs, we adapted a mouse embryonic stem cell system to express a single epitope-tagged Ago protein family member in an inducible manner. Here, we report the small RNA profile of Ago-deficient cells and show that Ago-dependent stability is a common feature of mammalian miRNAs. Using this criteria and immunopurification, we identified an Ago-dependent class of noncanonical miRNAs derived from protein-coding gene promoters, which we name transcriptional start site miRNAs (TSS-miRNAs). A subset of promoter-proximal RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) complexes produces hairpin RNAs that are processed in a DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8 (Dgcr8)/Drosha-independent but Dicer-dependent manner. TSS-miRNA activity is detectable from endogenous levels and following overexpression of mRNA constructs. Finally, we present evidence of differential expression and conservation in humans, suggesting important roles in gene regulation.
Project description:The binding of sequence-specific RNA-interacting proteins, such as the bacteriophage MS2 or PP7 coat proteins, to their corresponding target sequences has been extremely useful and widely used to visualize single mRNAs in vivo. However, introduction of MS2 stem-loops into yeast mRNAs has recently been shown to lead to the accumulation of RNA fragments, suggesting that the loops impair mRNA decay. This result was questioned, because fragment occurrence was mainly assessed using ensemble methods, and their cellular localization and its implications had not been addressed on a single transcript level. Here, we demonstrate that the introduction of either MS2 stem-loops (MS2SL) or PP7 stem-loops (PP7SL) can affect the processing and subcellular localization of mRNA. We use single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (smFISH) to determine the localization of three independent mRNAs tagged with the stem-loop labeling systems in glucose-rich and glucose starvation conditions. Transcripts containing MS2SL or PP7SL display aberrant localization in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm. These defects are most prominent in glucose starvation conditions, with nuclear mRNA processing being altered and stem-loop fragments abnormally enriching in processing bodies (PBs). The mislocalization of SL-containing RNAs is independent of the presence of the MS2 or PP7 coat protein (MCP or PCP).