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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.
Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are both important for multiple steps in the splicing pathway. Members of the PP1 and PP2A subfamilies of phospho-serine/threonine phosphatases play essential but redundant roles in the second step of the splicing reaction. PP6, a member of the PP2A subfamily, is the mammalian homolog of yeast Sit4p and ppe1, which are involved in cell cycle regulation; however, the involvement of PP6 in the splicing pathway remains unclear. Here we show that PP2A family members physically associate with the spliceosome throughout the splicing reaction. PP2A holoenzyme and PP6 were found stably associated with U1 snRNP. Together our findings indicate that these phosphatases regulate splicing catalysis involving U1 snRNP and suggest an important evolutionary conserved role of PP2A family phosphatases in pre-mRNA splicing.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The spliceosome is a dynamic macromolecular machine that catalyzes the removal of introns from pre-mRNA, yielding mature message. Schizosaccharomyces pombe Cwf10 (homolog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Snu114 and human U5-116K), an integral member of the U5 snRNP, is a GTPase that has multiple roles within the splicing cycle. Cwf10/Snu114 family members are highly homologous to eukaryotic translation elongation factor EF2, and they contain a conserved N-terminal extension (NTE) to the EF2-like portion, predicted to be an intrinsically unfolded domain. Using S. pombe as a model system, we show that the NTE is not essential, but cells lacking this domain are defective in pre-mRNA splicing. Genetic interactions between cwf10-ΔNTE and other pre-mRNA splicing mutants are consistent with a role for the NTE in spliceosome activation and second-step catalysis. Characterization of Cwf10-NTE by various biophysical techniques shows that in solution the NTE contains regions of both structure and disorder. The first 23 highly conserved amino acids of the NTE are essential for its role in splicing but when overexpressed are not sufficient to restore pre-mRNA splicing to wild-type levels in cwf10-ΔNTE cells. When the entire NTE is overexpressed in the cwf10-ΔNTE background, it can complement the truncated Cwf10 protein in trans, and it immunoprecipitates a complex similar in composition to the late-stage U5.U2/U6 spliceosome. These data show that the structurally flexible NTE is capable of independently incorporating into the spliceosome and improving splicing function, possibly indicating a role for the NTE in stabilizing conformational rearrangements during a splice cycle.
Prp19 is the founding member of the NineTeen Complex, or NTC, which is a spliceosomal subcomplex essential for spliceosome activation. To define Prp19 connectivity and dynamic protein interactions within the spliceosome, we systematically queried the Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteome for Prp19 WD40 domain interaction partners by two-hybrid analysis. We report that in addition to S. cerevisiae Cwc2, the splicing factor Prp17 binds directly to the Prp19 WD40 domain in a 1:1 ratio. Prp17 binds simultaneously with Cwc2 indicating that it is part of the core NTC complex. We also find that the previously uncharacterized protein Urn1 (Dre4 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe) directly interacts with Prp19, and that Dre4 is conditionally required for pre-mRNA splicing in S. pombe. S. pombe Dre4 and S. cerevisiae Urn1 co-purify U2, U5, and U6 snRNAs and multiple splicing factors, and dre4Δ and urn1Δ strains display numerous negative genetic interactions with known splicing mutants. The S. pombe Prp19-containing Dre4 complex co-purifies three previously uncharacterized proteins that participate in pre-mRNA splicing, likely before spliceosome activation. Our multi-faceted approach has revealed new low abundance splicing factors connected to NTC function, provides evidence for distinct Prp19 containing complexes, and underscores the role of the Prp19 WD40 domain as a splicing scaffold.
Prp19 is a member of the WD40 repeat family of E3 ubiquitin ligases and a conserved eukaryotic RNA splicing factor essential for activation and stabilization of the spliceosome. To understand the role of the WD40 repeat domain of Prp19 we have determined its structure using X-ray crystallography. The domain has a distorted seven bladed WD40 architecture with significant asymmetry due to irregular packing of blades one and seven into the core of the WD40 domain. Structure-based mutagenesis identified a highly conserved surface centered around blade five that is required for the physical interaction between Prp19 and Cwc2, another essential splicing factor. This region is found to be required for Prp19 function and yeast viability. Experiments in vitro and in vivo demonstrate that two molecules of Cwc2 bind to the Prp19 tetramer. These coupled structural and functional studies provide a model for the functional architecture of Prp19.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Eukaryotic pre-mRNA splicing allows for a large, diverse proteome to be coded by a relatively small genome. Alternative splicing events are well regulated, but when mutations disrupt the splice sites or regulatory elements, disease can occur. Similarly, mutations can cause disease through aberrant transcript production. Enhancers, one of the splicing regulatory elements, are frequent targets of disease causing mutations. This review provides an overview of the splicing reaction and mechanisms of alternative splicing and provides examples of enhancer defects that cause disease.
The spliceosome is a dynamic macromolecular machine that catalyzes the excision of introns from pre-mRNA. The megadalton-sized spliceosome is composed of four small nuclear RNPs and additional pre-mRNA splicing factors. The formation of an active spliceosome involves a series of regulated steps that requires the assembly and disassembly of large multiprotein/RNA complexes. The dynamic nature of the pre-mRNA splicing reaction has hampered progress in analyzing the structure of spliceosomal complexes. We have used cryo-electron microscopy to produce a 29-A density map of a stable 37S spliceosomal complex from the genetically tractable fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Containing the U2, U5, and U6 snRNAs, pre-mRNA splicing intermediates, U2 and U5 snRNP proteins, the Nineteen Complex (NTC), and second-step splicing factors, this complex closely resembles in vitro purified mammalian C complex. The density map reveals an asymmetric particle, approximately 30 x 20 x 18 nm in size, which is composed of distinct domains that contact each other at the center of the complex.
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.
U-box-containing Prp19p is an integral component of the Prp19p-associated complex (the nineteen complex, or NTC) that is essential for activation of the spliceosome. Prp19p makes numerous protein-protein contacts with other NTC components and is required for NTC stability. Here we show that Prp19p forms a tetramer in vitro and in vivo and we map the domain required for its oligomerization to a central tetrameric coiled-coil. Biochemical and in vivo analyses are consistent with Prp19p tetramerization providing an interaction surface for a single copy of its binding partner, Cef1p. Electron microscopy showed that the isolated Prp19p tetramer is an elongated particle consisting of four globular WD40 domains held together by a central stalk consisting of four N-terminal U-boxes and four coiled-coils. These structural and functional data provide a basis for understanding the role of Prp19p as a key architectural component of the NTC.
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.