ISSN / EISSN : 1355-8382 / 1469-9001
Published by: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (10.1261)
Total articles ≅ 4,830
Latest articles in this journal
Dengue virus, a single-stranded positive sense RNA virus, is the most prevalent mosquito-borne pathogen in the world. Like all RNA viruses, it uses conserved structural elements within its genome to control essential replicative steps. A 70 nucleotides stem-loop RNA structure (called SLA) found at the 5’-end of the genome of all flaviviruses, functions as the promoter for viral replication. This highly conserved structure interacts with the viral polymerase NS5 to initiate RNA synthesis. Here we report the NMR structure of a monomeric SLA from Dengue virus serotype 1, assembled to high-resolution from independently folded structural elements. The DENV1 SLA has an L-shape structure, where the top and side helices are coaxially-stacked and the bottom helix is roughly perpendicular to them. Because the sequence is highly conserved among different flavivirus genomes, it is likely that the three-dimensional fold and local structure of SLA are also conserved among flaviviruses and required for efficient replication. This work provides structural insight into the Dengue promoter and provides the foundation for the discovery of new antiviral drugs that target this essential replicative step.
Transposable elements (TEs) contribute to the evolution of gene regulatory networks and are dynamically expressed throughout human brain development and disease. One gene regulatory mechanism influenced by TEs is the miRNA system of post-transcriptional control. miRNA sequences frequently overlap TE loci and this miRNA expression landscape is crucial for control of gene expression in adult brain and different cellular contexts. Despite this, a thorough investigation of the spatiotemporal expression of TE-embedded miRNAs in human brain development is lacking. Here, we identify a spatiotemporally dynamic TE-embedded miRNA expression landscape between childhood and adolescent stages of human brain development. These miRNAs sometimes arise from two apposed TEs of the same subfamily, such as for L2 or MIR elements, but in the majority of cases stem from solo TEs. They give rise to in silico predicted high-confidence pre-miRNA hairpin structures, likely represent functional miRNAs and have predicted genic targets associated with neurogenesis. TE-embedded miRNA expression is distinct in the cerebellum when compared to other brain regions, as has previously been described for gene and TE expression. Furthermore, we detect expression of previously non-annotated TE-embedded miRNAs throughout human brain development, suggestive of a previously undetected miRNA control network. Together, as with non-TE-embedded miRNAs, TE-embedded sequences give rise to spatiotemporally dynamic miRNA expression networks, the implications of which for human brain development constitute extensive avenues of future experimental research. To facilitate interactive exploration of these spatiotemporal miRNA expression dynamics, we provide the “Brain miRTExplorer” web application freely accessible for the community.
A previous bioinformatic analysis predicted that the ysgA open reading frame of Bacillus subtilis encodes an RNA methyltransferase of the SPOUT superfamily. Here we show that YsgA is the 2’-O-methyltransferase that targets position G2553 (Escherichia coli numbering) of the A-loop of 23S rRNA. This was shown by a combination of biochemical and mass spectrometry approaches using both rRNA extracted from B. subtilis wild-type or ΔysgA cells and in vitro synthesized rRNA. When the target G2553 is mutated, YsgA is able to methylate the ribose of adenosine. However it cannot methylate cytidine nor uridine. The enzyme modifies free 23S rRNA but not the fully assembled ribosome nor the 50S subunit, suggesting that the modification occurs early during ribosome biogenesis. Nevertheless ribosome subunits assembly is unaffected in a B. subtilis ΔysgA mutant strain. The crystal structure of the recombinant YsgA protein, combined with mutagenesis data, outlined in this article highlights a typical SPOUT fold preceded by an L7Ae/L30 (eL8/eL30 in a new nomenclature) N-terminal domain.
The Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) is a large bacterial group consisting mainly of uncultured lineages. They have small cells and small genomes, and they often lack ribosomal proteins uL1, bL9, and/or uL30, which are basically ubiquitous in non-CPR bacteria. Here, we comprehensively analyzed the genomic information on CPR bacteria and identified their unique properties. The distribution of protein lengths in CPR bacteria peaks at around 100–150 amino acids, whereas the position of the peak varies in the range of 100–300 amino acids in free-living non-CPR bacteria, and at around 100–200 amino acids in most symbiotic non-CPR bacteria. These results show that the proteins of CPR bacteria are smaller, on average, than those of free-living non-CPR bacteria, like those of symbiotic non-CPR bacteria. We found that ribosomal proteins bL28, uL29, bL32, and bL33 have been lost in CPR bacteria in a taxonomic lineage-specific manner. Moreover, the sequences of approximately half of all ribosomal proteins of CPR differ, in part, from those of non-CPR bacteria, with missing regions or specifically added regions. We also found that several regions in the 16S, 23S, and 5S rRNAs of CPR bacteria are lacking, which presumably caused that the total predicted lengths of the three rRNAs of CPR bacteria are smaller than those of non-CPR bacteria. The regions missing in the CPR ribosomal proteins and rRNAs are located near the surface of the ribosome, and some are close to one another. These observations suggest that ribosomes are smaller in CPR bacteria than those in free-living non-CPR bacteria, with simplified surface structures.
Advances in mRNA synthesis and lipid nanoparticles technologies have helped make mRNA therapeutics and vaccines a reality. The 5’ cap structure is a crucial modification required to functionalize synthetic mRNA for efficient protein translation in vivo and evasion of cellular innate immune responses. The extent of 5’ cap incorporation is one of the critical quality attributes in mRNA manufacturing. RNA cap analysis involves multiple steps: generation of pre-defined short fragments from the 5’ end of the kilobase-long synthetic mRNA molecules using RNase H, a ribozyme or a DNAzyme, enrichment of the 5’ cleavage products, and LC-MS intact mass analysis. In this communication, we describe 1) a framework to design site-specific RNA cleavage using RNase H; 2) a method to fluorescently label the RNase H cleavage fragments for more accessible readout methods such as gel electrophoresis or high-throughput capillary electrophoresis; 3) a simplified method for post-RNase H purification using desthiobiotinylated oligonucleotides and streptavidin magnetic beads followed by elution using water. By providing a design framework for RNase H-based RNA 5’ cap analysis using less resource-intensive analytical methods, we hope to make RNA cap analysis more accessible to the scientific community.
Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) make up to ~98% percent of the transcriptome of a given organism. In recent years one relatively new class of ncRNAs, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), were shown to be more than mere by-products of gene expression and regulation. The unicellular eukaryote Paramecium tetraurelia is a member of the ciliate phylum, an extremely heterogeneous group of organisms found in most bodies of water across the globe. A hallmark of ciliate genetics is nuclear dimorphism and programmed elimination of transposons and transposon-derived DNA elements, the latter of which is essential for the maintenance of the somatic genome. Paramecium and ciliates in general harbour a plethora of different ncRNA species, some of which drive the process of large scale genome rearrangements, including DNA elimination, during sexual development. Here, we identify and validate the first known functional lncRNAs in ciliates to date. Using deep-sequencing and subsequent bioinformatic processing and experimental validation, we show that Paramecium expresses at least 15 lncRNAs. These candidates were predicted by a highly conservative pipeline and informatic analyses hint at differential expression during development. Depletion of two lncRNAs, lnc1 and lnc15, resulted in clear phenotypes, decreased survival, morphological impairment and a global effect on DNA elimination.
Paraspeckles are mammalian-specific nuclear bodies built on the long noncoding RNA NEAT1_2. The molecular mechanisms of paraspeckle formation have been mainly studied using human or mouse cells, and it is not known if the same molecular components are involved in the formation of paraspeckles in other mammalian species. We thus investigated the expression pattern of NEAT1_2 in naked mole-rats (nNEAT1_2), which exhibit extreme longevity and lower susceptibility to cancer. In the intestine, nNEAT1_2 is widely expressed along the entire intestinal epithelium, which is different from the expression of mNeat1_2, that is restricted to the cells of the distal tip in mice. Notably, the expression of FUS, a FET family RNA binding protein, essential for the formation of paraspeckles both in humans and mice, was absent in the distal part of the intestinal epithelium in naked mole-rats. Instead, mRNAs of other FET family proteins EWSR1 and TAF15 were expressed in the distal region. Exogenous expression of these proteins in Fus-deficient murine embryonic fibroblast cells rescued the formation of paraspeckles. These observations suggest that nNEAT1_2 recruits different set of RNA binding proteins in a cell type-specific manner during the formation of paraspeckles in different organisms.
The interleukin 7 receptor (IL7R) is strongly associated with increased risk to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, and this association is likely driven by upregulation of the soluble isoform of IL7R (sIL7R). Expression of sIL7R is determined by exclusion of the alternative exon 6 from IL7R transcripts, and our previous work revealed that the MS risk allele of the SNP rs6897932 within this exon enhances the expression of sIL7R by promoting exclusion of exon 6. sIL7R potentiates the activity of IL7, leading to enhanced expansion of T cells and increased disability in the Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) murine model of MS. This role in modulating T cell-driven immunity positions sIL7R as an attractive therapeutic target whose expression could be reduced for treatment of MS or increased for treatment of cancers. In this study we identified novel antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) that effectively control the inclusion (anti-sIL7R ASOs) or exclusion (pro-sIL7R ASOs) of this exon in a dose-dependent fashion. These ASOs provided excellent control of exon 6 splicing and sIL7R secretion in human primary CD4+ T cells. Supporting their potential for therapeutic targeting, we showed that lead anti-sIL7R ASOs correct the enhanced exon 6 exclusion imposed by the MS risk allele of rs6897932, whereas lead pro-sIL7R ASOs phenocopy it. The data presented here form the foundation for future pre-clinical studies that will test the therapeutic potential of these ASOs in MS and immuno-oncology.
RNA, Volume 28, pp 947-971; https://doi.org/10.1261/rna.078918.121
The poly(A) tail enhances translation and transcript stability, and tail length is under dynamic control during cell state transitions. Tail regulation plays essential roles in translational timing and fertilization in early development, but poly(A) tail dynamics have not been fully explored in post-embryonic systems. Here, we examined the landscape and impact of tail length control during macrophage activation. Upon activation, more than 1500 mRNAs, including proinflammatory genes, underwent distinctive changes in tail lengths. Increases in tail length correlated with mRNA levels regardless of transcriptional activity, and many mRNAs that underwent tail extension encode proteins necessary for immune function and post-transcriptional regulation. Strikingly, we found that ZFP36, whose protein product destabilizes target transcripts, undergoes tail extension. Our analyses indicate that many mRNAs undergoing tail lengthening are, in turn, degraded by elevated levels of ZFP36, constituting a post-transcriptional feedback loop that ensures transient regulation of transcripts integral to macrophage activation. Taken together, this study establishes the complexity, relevance, and widespread nature of poly(A) tail dynamics, and the resulting post-transcriptional regulation during macrophage activation.
RNA, Volume 28, pp 917-926; https://doi.org/10.1261/rna.079160.122
The high mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 largely complicates our control of the pandemic. In particular, it is currently unclear why the spike (S) gene has an extraordinarily high mutation rate among all SARS-CoV-2 genes. By analyzing the occurrence of fixed synonymous mutations between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, and profiling the DAF (derived allele frequency) of polymorphic synonymous sites among millions of worldwide SARS-CoV-2 strains, we found that both fixed and polymorphic mutations show higher mutation rates in the S gene than other genes. The majority of mutations are C-to-T, representing the APOBEC-mediated C-to-U deamination instead of the previously proposed A-to-I deamination. Both in silico and in vivo evidence indicated that the S gene is more likely to be single-stranded compared to other SARS-CoV-2 genes, agreeing with the APOBEC preference of ssRNA. We conclude that the single-stranded property of the S gene makes it a favorable target for C-to-U deamination, leading to its excessively high mutation rate compared to other non-S genes. In conclusion, APOBEC, rather than ADAR, is the “editor-in-chief” of SARS-CoV-2 RNAs. This work helps us to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the mutation and evolution of SARS-CoV-2, and we believe it will contribute to the control of the pandemic.