Nucleic Acids Research

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 03051048 / 13624962
Current Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP) (10.1093)
Total articles ≅ 47,201
Google Scholar h5-index: 208
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Stephan Werner, Lukas Schmidt, Virginie Marchand, Thomas Kemmer, Christoph Falschlunger, Maksim V Sednev, Guillaume Bec, Eric Ennifar, Claudia Höbartner, Ronald Micura, et al.
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa113

Abstract:Reverse transcription (RT) of RNA templates containing RNA modifications leads to synthesis of cDNA containing information on the modification in the form of misincorporation, arrest, or nucleotide skipping events. A compilation of such events from multiple cDNAs represents an RT-signature that is typical for a given modification, but, as we show here, depends also on the reverse transcriptase enzyme. A comparison of 13 different enzymes revealed a range of RT-signatures, with individual enzymes exhibiting average arrest rates between 20 and 75%, as well as average misincorporation rates between 30 and 75% in the read-through cDNA. Using RT-signatures from individual enzymes to train a random forest model as a machine learning regimen for prediction of modifications, we found strongly variegated success rates for the prediction of methylated purines, as exemplified with N1-methyladenosine (m1A). Among the 13 enzymes, a correlation was found between read length, misincorporation, and prediction success. Inversely, low average read length was correlated to high arrest rate and lower prediction success. The three most successful polymerases were then applied to the characterization of RT-signatures of other methylated purines. Guanosines featuring methyl groups on the Watson-Crick face were identified with high confidence, but discrimination between m1G and m22G was only partially successful. In summary, the results suggest that, given sufficient coverage and a set of specifically optimized reaction conditions for reverse transcription, all RNA modifications that impede Watson-Crick bonds can be distinguished by their RT-signature.
Shreya Ghosh, Matthew J Lawless, Hanna J Brubaker, Kevin Singewald, Michael R Kurpiewski, Linda Jen-Jacobson, Sunil Saxena
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa133

Abstract:Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) has become an important tool to probe conformational changes in nucleic acids. An array of EPR labels for nucleic acids are available, but they often come at the cost of long tethers, are dependent on the presence of a particular nucleotide or can be placed only at the termini. Site directed incorporation of Cu2+-chelated to a ligand, 2,2′dipicolylamine (DPA) is potentially an attractive strategy for site-specific, nucleotide independent Cu2+-labelling in DNA. To fully understand the potential of this label, we undertook a systematic and detailed analysis of the Cu2+-DPA motif using EPR and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. We used continuous wave EPR experiments to characterize Cu2+ binding to DPA as well as optimize Cu2+ loading conditions. We performed double electron-electron resonance (DEER) experiments at two frequencies to elucidate orientational selectivity effects. Furthermore, comparison of DEER and MD simulated distance distributions reveal a remarkable agreement in the most probable distances. The results illustrate the efficacy of the Cu2+-DPA in reporting on DNA backbone conformations for sufficiently long base pair separations. This labelling strategy can serve as an important tool for probing conformational changes in DNA upon interaction with other macromolecules.
Meijuan Zou, Ying Mu, Xin Chai, Min Ouyang, Long-Jiang Yu, Lixin Zhang, Jörg Meurer, Wei Chi
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa129

Abstract:Methylation of nucleotides in ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) is a ubiquitous feature that occurs in all living organisms. The formation of methylated nucleotides is performed by a variety of RNA-methyltransferases. Chloroplasts of plant cells result from an endosymbiotic event and possess their own genome and ribosomes. However, enzymes responsible for rRNA methylation and the function of modified nucleotides in chloroplasts remain to be determined. Here, we identified an rRNA methyltransferase, CMAL (Chloroplast MraW-Like), in the Arabidopsis chloroplast and investigated its function. CMAL is the Arabidopsis ortholog of bacterial MraW/ RsmH proteins and accounts to the N4-methylation of C1352 in chloroplast 16S rRNA, indicating that CMAL orthologs and this methyl-modification nucleotide is conserved between bacteria and the endosymbiont-derived eukaryotic organelle. The knockout of CMAL in Arabidopsis impairs the chloroplast ribosome accumulation and accordingly reduced the efficiency of mRNA translation. Interestingly, the loss of CMAL leads not only to defects in chloroplast function, but also to abnormal leaf and root development and overall plant morphology. Further investigation showed that CMAL is involved in the plant development probably by modulating auxin derived signaling pathways. This study uncovered the important role of 16S rRNA methylation mediated by CMAL in chloroplast ribosome biogenesis and plant development.
Matic Kovačič, Peter Podbevšek, Hisae Tateishi-Karimata, Shuntaro Takahashi, Naoki Sugimoto, Janez Plavec
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa118

Abstract:Guanine-rich regions of the human genome can adopt non-canonical secondary structures. Their role in regulating gene expression has turned them into promising targets for therapeutic intervention. Ligands based on polyaromatic moieties are especially suitable for targeting G-quadruplexes utilizing their size complementarity to interact with the large exposed surface area of four guanine bases. A predictable way of (de)stabilizing specific G-quadruplex structures through efficient base stacking of polyaromatic functional groups could become a valuable tool in our therapeutic arsenal. We have investigated the effect of pyrene-modified uridine nucleotides incorporated at several positions of the thrombin binding aptamer (TBA) as a model system. Characterization using spectroscopic and biophysical methods provided important insights into modes of interaction between pyrene groups and the G-quadruplex core as well as (de)stabilization by enthalpic and entropic contributions. NMR data demonstrated that incorporation of pyrene group into G-rich oligonucleotide such as TBA may result in significant changes in 3D structure such as formation of novel dimeric topology. Site specific structural changes induced by stacking of the pyrene moiety on nearby nucleobases corelate with distinct thrombin binding affinities and increased resistance against nuclease degradation.
Monali NandyMazumdar, Shiyi Yin, Alekh Paranjapye, Jenny L Kerschner, Hannah Swahn, Alex Ge, Shih-Hsing Leir, Ann Harris
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa089

Abstract:The CFTR gene lies within an invariant topologically associated domain (TAD) demarcated by CTCF and cohesin, but shows cell-type specific control mechanisms utilizing different cis-regulatory elements (CRE) within the TAD. Within the respiratory epithelium, more than one cell type expresses CFTR and the molecular mechanisms controlling its transcription are likely divergent between them. Here, we determine how two extragenic CREs that are prominent in epithelial cells in the lung, regulate expression of the gene. We showed earlier that these CREs, located at −44 and −35 kb upstream of the promoter, have strong cell-type-selective enhancer function. They are also responsive to inflammatory mediators and to oxidative stress, consistent with a key role in CF lung disease. Here, we use CRISPR/Cas9 technology to remove these CREs from the endogenous locus in human bronchial epithelial cells. Loss of either site extinguished CFTR expression and abolished long-range interactions between these sites and the gene promoter, suggesting non-redundant enhancers. The deletions also greatly reduced promoter interactions with the 5′ TAD boundary. We show substantial recruitment of RNAPII to the −35 kb element and identify CEBPβ as a key activator of airway expression of CFTR, likely through occupancy at this CRE and the gene promoter.
Xiang Wang, Jun Guan, Baocheng Hu, Robert S Weiss, George Iliakis, Ya Wang
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa119

Abstract:Nucleic Acids Research (2004) 32(2): 767–775, doi:10.1093/nar/gkh243
Crystal M Vander Zanden, Ryan S Czarny, Ethan N Ho, Adam B Robertson, P Shing Ho
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa117

Abstract:Modified DNA bases functionally distinguish the taxonomic forms of life—5-methylcytosine separates prokaryotes from eukaryotes and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) invertebrates from vertebrates. We demonstrate here that mouse endonuclease G (mEndoG) shows specificity for both 5hmC and Holliday junctions. The enzyme has higher affinity (>50-fold) for junctions over duplex DNAs. A 5hmC-modification shifts the position of the cut site and increases the rate of DNA cleavage in modified versus unmodified junctions. The crystal structure of mEndoG shows that a cysteine (Cys69) is positioned to recognize 5hmC through a thiol-hydroxyl hydrogen bond. Although this Cys is conserved from worms to mammals, a two amino acid deletion in the vertebrate relative to the invertebrate sequence unwinds an α-helix, placing the thiol of Cys69 into the mEndoG active site. Mutations of Cys69 with alanine or serine show 5hmC-specificity that mirrors the hydrogen bonding potential of the side chain (C–H < S–H < O–H). A second orthogonal DNA binding site identified in the mEndoG structure accommodates a second arm of a junction. Thus, the specificity of mEndoG for 5hmC and junctions derives from structural adaptations that distinguish the vertebrate from the invertebrate enzyme, thereby thereby supporting a role for 5hmC in recombination processes.
Peng Xu, Cyrus Modavi, Benjamin Demaree, Frederick Twigg, Benjamin Liang, Chen Sun, Wenjun Zhang, Adam R Abate
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa131

Abstract:Microbial biosynthetic gene clusters are a valuable source of bioactive molecules. However, because they typically represent a small fraction of genomic material in most metagenomic samples, it remains challenging to deeply sequence them. We present an approach to isolate and sequence gene clusters in metagenomic samples using microfluidic automated plasmid library enrichment. Our approach provides deep coverage of the target gene cluster, facilitating reassembly. We demonstrate the approach by isolating and sequencing type I polyketide synthase gene clusters from an Antarctic soil metagenome. Our method promotes the discovery of functional-related genes and biosynthetic pathways.
Jin He, Wen Yin, Michael Y Galperin, Shan-Ho Chou
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa112

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Callum J C Parr, Shunsuke Wada, Kenjiro Kotake, Shigetoshi Kameda, Satoshi Matsuura, Souhei Sakashita, Soyoung Park, Hiroshi Sugiyama, Yi Kuang, Hirohide Saito
Nucleic Acids Research; doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa070

Abstract:Synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) tools often use pseudouridine and 5-methyl cytidine as substitutions for uridine and cytidine to avoid the immune response and cytotoxicity induced by introducing mRNA into cells. However, the influence of base modifications on the functionality of the RNA tools is poorly understood. Here we show that synthetic mRNA switches containing N1-methylpseudouridine (m1Ψ) as a substitution of uridine substantially out-performed all other modified bases studied, exhibiting enhanced microRNA and protein sensitivity, better cell-type separation ability, and comparably low immune stimulation. We found that the observed phenomena stem from the high protein expression from m1Ψ containing mRNA and efficient translational repression in the presence of target microRNAs or proteins. In addition, synthetic gene circuits with m1Ψ significantly improve performance in cells. These findings indicate that synthetic mRNAs with m1Ψ modification have enormous potentials in the research and application of biofunctional RNA tools.