Nucleic Acids Research

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 03051048 / 13624962
Current Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP) (10.1093)
Total articles ≅ 47,488
Google Scholar h5-index: 208
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Gabriele Orlando, Daniele Raimondi, Luciano Porto Kagami, Wim F Vranken
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa391

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy data provides valuable information on the behaviour of proteins in solution. The primary data to determine when studying proteins are the per-atom NMR chemical shifts, which reflect the local environment of atoms and provide insights into amino acid residue dynamics and conformation. Within an amino acid residue, chemical shifts present multi-dimensional and complexly cross-correlated information, making them difficult to analyse. The ShiftCrypt method, based on neural network auto-encoder architecture, compresses the per-amino acid chemical shift information in a single, interpretable, amino acid-type independent value that reflects the biophysical state of a residue. We here present the ShiftCrypt web server, which makes the method readily available. The server accepts chemical shifts input files in the NMR Exchange Format (NEF) or NMR-STAR format, executes ShiftCrypt and visualises the results, which are also accessible via an API. It also enables the ”biophysically-based” pairwise alignment of two proteins based on their ShiftCrypt values. This approach uses Dynamic Time Warping and can optionally include their amino acid code information, and has applications in, for example, the alignment of disordered regions. The server uses a token-based system to ensure the anonymity of the users and results. The web server is available at
Nina Baumgarten, Dennis Hecker, Sivarajan Karunanithi, Florian Schmidt, Markus List, Marcel H Schulz
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa382

A current challenge in genomics is to interpret non-coding regions and their role in transcriptional regulation of possibly distant target genes. Genome-wide association studies show that a large part of genomic variants are found in those non-coding regions, but their mechanisms of gene regulation are often unknown. An additional challenge is to reliably identify the target genes of the regulatory regions, which is an essential step in understanding their impact on gene expression. Here we present the EpiRegio web server, a resource of regulatory elements (REMs). REMs are genomic regions that exhibit variations in their chromatin accessibility profile associated with changes in expression of their target genes. EpiRegio incorporates both epigenomic and gene expression data for various human primary cell types and tissues, providing an integrated view of REMs in the genome. Our web server allows the analysis of genes and their associated REMs, including the REM’s activity and its estimated cell type-specific contribution to its target gene’s expression. Further, it is possible to explore genomic regions for their regulatory potential, investigate overlapping REMs and by that the dissection of regions of large epigenomic complexity. EpiRegio allows programmatic access through a REST API and is freely available at
Simon Rose, Sylvie Auxilien, Jesper F Havelund, Finn Kirpekar, Harald Huber, Henri Grosjean, Stephen Douthwaite
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa411

The universal L-shaped tertiary structure of tRNAs is maintained with the help of nucleotide modifications within the D- and T-loops, and these modifications are most extensive within hyperthermophilic species. The obligate-commensal Nanoarchaeum equitans and its phylogenetically-distinct host Ignicoccus hospitalis grow physically coupled under identical hyperthermic conditions. We report here two fundamentally different routes by which these archaea modify the key conserved nucleotide U54 within their tRNA T-loops. In N. equitans, this nucleotide is methylated by the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent enzyme NEQ053 to form m5U54, and a recombinant version of this enzyme maintains specificity for U54 in Escherichia coli. In N. equitans, m5U54 is subsequently thiolated to form m5s2U54. In contrast, I. hospitalis isomerizes U54 to pseudouridine prior to methylating its N1-position and thiolating the O4-position of the nucleobase to form the previously uncharacterized nucleotide m1s4Ψ. The methyl and thiol groups in m1s4Ψ and m5s2U are presented within the T-loop in a spatially identical manner that stabilizes the 3′-endo-anti conformation of nucleotide-54, facilitating stacking onto adjacent nucleotides and reverse-Hoogsteen pairing with nucleotide m1A58. Thus, two distinct structurally-equivalent solutions have evolved independently and convergently to maintain the tertiary fold of tRNAs under extreme hyperthermic conditions.
Xu Zhu, Bingxue Lan, Xianfu Yi, Chaoran He, Lin Dang, Xingquan Zhou, Yumei Lu, Yongzhan Sun, Zhiheng Liu, Xue Bai, et al.
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa441

Functional crosstalk between histone modifications and chromatin remodeling has emerged as a key regulatory mode of transcriptional control during cell fate decisions, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here we discover an HRP2–DPF3a–BAF epigenetic pathway that coordinates methylated histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36me) and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling to regulate chromatin dynamics and gene transcription during myogenic differentiation. Using siRNA screening targeting epigenetic modifiers, we identify hepatoma-derived growth factor-related protein 2 (HRP2) as a key regulator of myogenesis. Knockout of HRP2 in mice leads to impaired muscle regeneration. Mechanistically, through its HIV integrase binding domain (IBD), HRP2 associates with the BRG1/BRM-associated factor (BAF) chromatin remodeling complex by interacting directly with the BAF45c (DPF3a) subunit. Through its Pro-Trp-Trp-Pro (PWWP) domain, HRP2 preferentially binds to H3K36me2. Consistent with the biochemical studies, ChIP-seq analyses show that HRP2 colocalizes with DPF3a across the genome and that the recruitment of HRP2/DPF3a to chromatin is dependent on H3K36me2. Integrative transcriptomic and cistromic analyses, coupled with ATAC-seq, reveal that HRP2 and DPF3a activate myogenic genes by increasing chromatin accessibility through recruitment of BRG1, the ATPase subunit of the BAF complex. Taken together, these results illuminate a key role for the HRP2-DPF3a-BAF complex in the epigenetic coordination of gene transcription during myogenic differentiation.
Jiawei Wang, Wei Dai, Jiahui Li, Ruopeng Xie, Rhys A Dunstan, Christopher Stubenrauch, Yanju Zhang, Trevor Lithgow
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa432

Anti-CRISPRs are widespread amongst bacteriophage and promote bacteriophage infection by inactivating the bacterial host's CRISPR–Cas defence system. Identifying and characterizing anti-CRISPR proteins opens an avenue to explore and control CRISPR–Cas machineries for the development of new CRISPR–Cas based biotechnological and therapeutic tools. Past studies have identified anti-CRISPRs in several model phage genomes, but a challenge exists to comprehensively screen for anti-CRISPRs accurately and efficiently from genome and metagenome sequence data. Here, we have developed an ensemble learning based predictor, PaCRISPR, to accurately identify anti-CRISPRs from protein datasets derived from genome and metagenome sequencing projects. PaCRISPR employs different types of feature recognition united within an ensemble framework. Extensive cross-validation and independent tests show that PaCRISPR achieves a significantly more accurate performance compared with homology-based baseline predictors and an existing toolkit. The performance of PaCRISPR was further validated in discovering anti-CRISPRs that were not part of the training for PaCRISPR, but which were recently demonstrated to function as anti-CRISPRs for phage infections. Data visualization on anti-CRISPR relationships, highlighting sequence similarity and phylogenetic considerations, is part of the output from the PaCRISPR toolkit, which is freely available at
Marlena Kisiala, Monika Kowalska, Michal Pastor, Henryk J Korza, Honorata Czapinska, Matthias Bochtler
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa403

Restriction endonucleases naturally target DNA duplexes. Systematic screening has identified a small minority of these enzymes that can also cleave RNA/DNA heteroduplexes and that may therefore be useful as tools for RNA biochemistry. We have chosen AvaII (G↓GWCC, where W stands for A or T) as a representative of this group of restriction endonucleases for detailed characterization. Here, we report crystal structures of AvaII alone, in specific complex with partially cleaved dsDNA, and in scanning complex with an RNA/DNA hybrid. The specific complex reveals a novel form of semi-specific dsDNA readout by a hexa-coordinated metal cation, most likely Ca2+ or Mg2+. Substitutions of residues anchoring this non-catalytic metal ion severely impair DNA binding and cleavage. The dsDNA in the AvaII complex is in the A-like form. This creates space for 2′-OH groups to be accommodated without intra-nucleic acid steric conflicts. PD-(D/E)XK restriction endonucleases of known structure that bind their dsDNA targets in the A-like form cluster into structurally similar groups. Most such enzymes, including some not previously studied in this respect, cleave RNA/DNA heteroduplexes. We conclude that A-form dsDNA binding is a good predictor for RNA/DNA cleavage activity.
Xiuli Dan, Mansi Babbar, Anthony Moore, Noah Wechter, Jingyan Tian, Joy G Mohanty, Deborah L Croteau, Vilhelm A Bohr
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa393

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Marc Keppel, Max Hünnefeld, Andrei Filipchyk, Ulrike Viets, Cedric-Farhad Davoudi, Aileen Krüger, Christina Mack, Eugen Pfeifer, Tino Polen, Meike Baumgart, et al.
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa415

Heme is a multifaceted molecule. While serving as a prosthetic group for many important proteins, elevated levels are toxic to cells. The complexity of this stimulus has shaped bacterial network evolution. However, only a small number of targets controlled by heme-responsive regulators have been described to date. Here, we performed chromatin affinity purification and sequencing to provide genome-wide insights into in vivo promoter occupancy of HrrA, the response regulator of the heme-regulated two-component system HrrSA of Corynebacterium glutamicum. Time-resolved profiling revealed dynamic binding of HrrA to more than 200 different genomic targets encoding proteins associated with heme biosynthesis, the respiratory chain, oxidative stress response and cell envelope remodeling. By repression of the extracytoplasmic function sigma factor sigC, which activates the cydABCD operon, HrrA prioritizes the expression of genes encoding the cytochrome bc1-aa3 supercomplex. This is also reflected by a significantly decreased activity of the cytochrome aa3 oxidase in the ΔhrrA mutant. Furthermore, our data reveal that HrrA also integrates the response to heme-induced oxidative stress by activating katA encoding the catalase. These data provide detailed insights in the systemic strategy that bacteria have evolved to respond to the versatile signaling molecule heme.
Sivakumar Vadivel Gnanasundram, Laurence Malbert-Colas, Sa Chen, Leila Fusée, Chrysoula Daskalogianni, Petr Muller, Norman Salomao, Robin Fåhraeus
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa431

Cell growth requires a high level of protein synthesis and oncogenic pathways stimulate cell proliferation and ribosome biogenesis. Less is known about how cells respond to dysfunctional mRNA translation and how this feeds back into growth regulatory pathways. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded EBNA1 causes mRNA translation stress in cis that activates PI3Kδ. This leads to the stabilization of MDM2, induces MDM2’s binding to the E2F1 mRNA and promotes E2F1 translation. The MDM2 serine 166 regulates the interaction with the E2F1 mRNA and deletion of MDM2 C-terminal RING domain results in a constitutive E2F1 mRNA binding. Phosphorylation on serine 395 following DNA damage instead regulates p53 mRNA binding to its RING domain and prevents the E2F1 mRNA interaction. The p14Arf tumour suppressor binds MDM2 and in addition to preventing degradation of the p53 protein it also prevents the E2F1 mRNA interaction. The data illustrate how two MDM2 domains selectively bind specific mRNAs in response to cellular conditions to promote, or suppress, cell growth and how p14Arf coordinates MDM2’s activity towards p53 and E2F1. The data also show how EBV via EBNA1-induced mRNA translation stress targets the E2F1 and the MDM2 - p53 pathway.
Neil J Rzechorzek, Steven W Hardwick, Vincentius A Jatikusumo, Dimitri Y Chirgadze, Luca Pellegrini
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa429

DNA unwinding in eukaryotic replication is performed by the Cdc45–MCM–GINS (CMG) helicase. Although the CMG architecture has been elucidated, its mechanism of DNA unwinding and replisome interactions remain poorly understood. Here we report the cryoEM structure at 3.3 Å of human CMG bound to fork DNA and the ATP-analogue ATPγS. Eleven nucleotides of single-stranded (ss) DNA are bound within the C-tier of MCM2–7 AAA+ ATPase domains. All MCM subunits contact DNA, from MCM2 at the 5′-end to MCM5 at the 3′-end of the DNA spiral, but only MCM6, 4, 7 and 3 make a full set of interactions. DNA binding correlates with nucleotide occupancy: five MCM subunits are bound to either ATPγS or ADP, whereas the apo MCM2-5 interface remains open. We further report the cryoEM structure of human CMG bound to the replisome hub AND-1 (CMGA). The AND-1 trimer uses one β-propeller domain of its trimerisation region to dock onto the side of the helicase assembly formed by Cdc45 and GINS. In the resulting CMGA architecture, the AND-1 trimer is closely positioned to the fork DNA while its CIP (Ctf4-interacting peptide)-binding helical domains remain available to recruit partner proteins.
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