The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
The spliceosome is a dynamic macromolecular machine composed of five small nuclear ribonucleoparticles (snRNPs), the NineTeen Complex (NTC), and other proteins that catalyze the removal of introns mature to form the mature message. The NTC, named after its founding member Saccharomyces cerevisiae Prp19, is a conserved spliceosome subcomplex composed of at least nine proteins. During spliceosome assembly, the transition to an active spliceosome correlates with stable binding of the NTC, although the mechanism of NTC function is not understood. Schizosaccharomyces pombe Cdc5, a core subunit of the NTC, is an essential protein required for pre-mRNA splicing. The highly conserved Cdc5 N-terminus contains two canonical Myb (myeloblastosis) repeats (R1 and R2) and a third domain (D3) that was previously classified as a Myb-like repeat. Although the N-terminus of Cdc5 is required for its function, how R1, R2, and D3 each contribute to functionality is unclear. Using a combination of yeast genetics, structural approaches, and RNA binding assays, we show that R1, R2, and D3 are all required for the function of Cdc5 in cells. We also show that the N-terminus of Cdc5 binds RNA in vitro. Structural and functional analyses of Cdc5-D3 show that, while this domain does not adopt a Myb fold, Cdc5-D3 preferentially binds double-stranded RNA. Our data suggest that the Cdc5 N-terminus interacts with RNA structures proposed to be near the catalytic core of the spliceosome.
U6 RNA plays a critical role in pre-mRNA splicing. Assembly of U6 into the spliceosome requires a significant structural rearrangement and base-pairing with U4 RNA. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this process requires the essential splicing factor Prp24. We present the characterization and structure of a complex containing one of Prp24's four RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains, RRM2, and a fragment of U6 RNA. NMR methods were used to identify the preferred U6 binding sequence of RRM2 (5'-GAGA-3'), measure the affinity of the interaction, and solve the structure of RRM2 bound to the hexaribonucleotide AGAGAU. Interdomain contacts observed between RRM2 and RRM3 in a crystal structure of the free protein are not detectable in solution. A structural model of RRM1 and RRM2 bound to a longer segment of U6 RNA is presented, and a partial mechanism for Prp24's annealing activity is proposed.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) assembles a signaling network essential for the regulation of cell growth, which has emerged as a major target of anticancer therapies. The tuberous sclerosis complex 1 and 2 (TSC1/2) proteins and their target, the small GTPase Rheb, constitute a key regulatory pathway upstream of mTOR. Phospholipase D (PLD) and its product phosphatidic acid are also upstream regulators of the mitogenic mTOR signaling. However, how the TSC/Rheb and PLD pathways interact or integrate in the rapamycin-sensitive signaling network has not been examined before. Here, we find that PLD1, but not PLD2, is required for Rheb activation of the mTOR pathway, as demonstrated by the effects of RNAi. The overexpression of Rheb activates PLD1 in cells in the absence of mitogenic stimulation, and the knockdown of Rheb impairs serum stimulation of PLD activation. Furthermore, the overexpression of TSC2 suppresses PLD1 activation, whereas the knockdown or deletion of TSC2 leads to elevated basal activity of PLD. Consistent with a TSC-Rheb-PLD signaling cascade, AMPK and PI3K, both established regulators of TSC2, appear to lie upstream of PLD as revealed by the effects of pharmacological inhibitors, and serum activation of PLD is also dependent on amino acid sufficiency. Finally, Rheb binds and activates PLD1 in vitro in a GTP-dependent manner, strongly suggesting that PLD1 is a bona fide effector for Rheb. Hence, our findings reveal an unexpected interaction between two cascades in the mTOR signaling pathways and open up additional possibilities for targeting this important growth-regulating network for the development of anticancer drugs.
The essential Saccharomyces cerevisiae pre-messenger RNA splicing protein 24 (Prp24) has four RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) and facilitates U6 RNA base-pairing with U4 RNA during spliceosome assembly. Prp24 is a component of the free U6 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) but not the U4/U6 bi-snRNP, and so is thought to be displaced from U6 by U4/U6 base-pairing. The interaction partners of each of the four RRMs of Prp24 and how these interactions direct U4/U6 pairing are not known. Here we report the crystal structure of the first three RRMs and the solution structure of the first two RRMs of Prp24. Strikingly, RRM 2 forms extensive inter-domain contacts with RRMs 1 and 3. These contacts occupy much of the canonical RNA-binding faces (beta-sheets) of RRMs 1 and 2, but leave the beta-sheet of RRM 3 exposed. Previously identified substitutions in Prp24 that suppress mutations in U4 and U6 spliceosomal RNAs cluster primarily in the beta-sheet of RRM 3, but also in a conserved loop of RRM 2. RNA binding assays and chemical shift mapping indicate that a large basic patch evident on the surface of RRMs 1 and 2 is part of a high affinity U6 RNA binding site. Our results suggest that Prp24 binds free U6 RNA primarily with RRMs 1 and 2, which may remodel the U6 secondary structure. The beta-sheet of RRM 3 then influences U4/U6 pairing through interaction with an unidentified ligand.
PSF (PTB-associated splicing factor) is a large nuclear protein that has been implicated in numerous processes including transcription and RNA splicing. It has been shown to directly associate with U5 snRNA and has also been found within numerous purified splicing complexes. Here, we show that when HeLa nuclear extracts are adjusted to splicing conditions, PSF is found as part of a large complex that contains all five snRNPs and most known splicing factors. Formation of the complex does not require addition of exogenous pre-mRNA substrate and occurs at 4 degrees C but is salt sensitive. Sedimentation experiments and identification of individual components by mass spectrometry revealed association with multiple nuclear factors, most of which overlap with spliceosome components.
Prp19 is an essential splicing factor and a member of the U-box family of E3 ubiquitin ligases. Prp19 forms a tetramer via a central coiled-coil domain. Here, we show the U-box domain of Prp19 exists as a dimer within the context of the Prp19 tetramer. A high-resolution structure of the homodimeric state of the Prp19 U-box was determined by X-ray crystallography. Mutation of the U-box dimer interface abrogates U-box dimer formation and is lethal in vivo. The structure of the U-box dimer enables construction of a complete model of Prp19 providing insights into how the tetrameric protein functions as an E3 ligase. Finally, comparison of the Prp19 U-box homodimer with the heterodimeric complex of BRCA1/BARD1 RING-finger domains uncovers a common architecture for a family of oligomeric U-box and RING-finger E3 ubiquitin ligases, which has mechanistic implications for E3 ligase-mediated polyubiquitination and E4 polyubiquitin ligases.
The U6 RNA intramolecular stem-loop (ISL) is a conserved component of the spliceosome, and contains an essential metal ion binding site centered between a protonated adenine, A79, and U80. Correlated with protonation of A79, U80 undergoes a base-flipping conformational change accompanied by significant helical movement. We have investigated the dynamics of the U6 ISL by analyzing the power dependence of 13C NMR relaxation rates in the rotating frame. The data provide evidence that the conformational transition is centered around an exchange lifetime of 84 micros. The U80 nucleotide displays low internal mobility on the picosecond time-scale at pH 7.0 but high internal mobility at pH 6.0, in agreement with the global transition resulting in the base of U80 adopting a looped-out conformation with increased dynamic disorder. A kinetic analysis suggests that the conformational change, rather than adenine protonation, is the rate-limiting step in the pathway of the conformational transition. Two nucleotides, U70 and U80, were found from chemical shift perturbation mapping to interact with the magnesium ion, with apparent K(d) values in the micromolar to millimolar range. These nucleotides also displayed metal ion-induced elevation of R1 rates, which can be explained by a model that assumes dynamic metal ion coordination concomitant with an induced higher shielding anisotropy for the base 13C nuclei. Addition of Mg2+ shifts the conformational equilibrium toward the high-pH (base-stacked) structure, accompanied by a significant drop in the apparent pK(a) of A79.
The U6 RNA intramolecular stem-loop (ISL) structure is an essential component of the spliceosome and binds a metal ion required for pre-messenger RNA splicing. The metal binding internal loop region of the stem contains a partially protonated C67-(+)A79 base pair (pK(a) = 6.5) and an unpaired U80 nucleotide that is stacked within the helix at pH 7.0. Here, we determine that protonation occurs with an exchange lifetime of approximately 20 micros and report the solution structures of the U6 ISL at pH 5.7. The differences between pH 5.7 and 7.0 structures reveal that the pH change significantly alters the RNA conformation. At lower pH, U80 is flipped out into the major groove. Base flipping involves a purine stacking interaction of flanking nucleotides, inversion of the sugar pucker 5' to the flipped base, and phosphodiester backbone rearrangement. Analysis of residual dipolar couplings as a function of pH indicates that base flipping is not restricted to a local conformational change. Rather, base flipping alters the alignment of the upper and lower helices. The alternative conformations of the U6 ISL reveal striking structural similarities with both the NMR and crystal structures of domain 5 of self-splicing group II introns. These structures suggest that base flipping at an essential metal binding site is a conserved feature of the splicing machinery for both the spliceosome and group II self-splicing introns.
The positive transcriptional elongation factor b (P-TEFb), consisting of CDK9 and cyclin T, stimulates transcription by phosphorylating RNA polymerase II. It becomes inactivated when associated with the abundant 7SK snRNA. Here, we show that the 7SK binding alone was not sufficient to inhibit P-TEFb. P-TEFb was inhibited by the HEXIM1 protein in a process that specifically required 7SK for mediating the HEXIM1:P-TEFb interaction. This allowed HEXIM1 to inhibit transcription both in vivo and in vitro. P-TEFb dissociated from HEXIM1 and 7SK in cells undergoing stress response, increasing the level of active P-TEFb for stress-induced transcription. P-TEFb was the predominant HEXIM1-associated protein factor, and thus likely to be the principal target of inhibition coordinated by HEXIM1 and 7SK. Since HEXIM1 expression is induced in cells treated with hexamethylene bisacetamide, a potent inducer of cell differentiation, targeting the general transcription factor P-TEFb by HEXIM1/7SK may contribute to the global control of cell growth and differentiation.
Phosphorothioate-substitution experiments are often used to elucidate functionally important metal ion-binding sites on RNA. All previous experiments with S(P)-phosphorothioate-substituted RNAs have been done in the absence of structural information for this particular diastereomer. Yeast U6 RNA contains a metal ion-binding site that is essential for spliceosome function and includes the pro-S(P) oxygen 5' of U(80). S(P)-phosphorothioate substitution at this location creates spliceosomes dependent on thiophilic ions for the first step of splicing. We have determined the solution structure of the U(80) S(P)-phosphorothioate-substituted U6 intramolecular stem-loop (ISL), and also report the refined NMR structure of the unmodified U6 ISL. Both structures were determined with inclusion of (1)H-(13)C residual dipolar couplings. The precision of the structures with and without phosphorothioate (RMSD = 1.05 and 0.79 A, respectively) allows comparison of the local and long-range structural effect of the modification. We find that the U6-ISL structure is unperturbed by the phosphorothioate. Additionally, the thermodynamic stability of the U6 ISL is dependent on the protonation state of the A(79)-C(67) wobble pair and is not affected by the adjacent phosphorothioate. These results indicate that a single S(P)-phosphorothioate substitution can be structurally benign, and further validate the metal ion rescue experiments used to identify the essential metal-binding site(s) in the spliceosome.