Protein Synthesis and Degradation
Deep mutational analysis of elongation factor eEF2 residues implicated in human disease to identify functionally important contacts with the ribosomeAn emerging body of research is revealing mutations in elongation factor eEF2 that are implicated in both inherited and de novo neurodevelopmental disorders. Previous structural analysis has revealed that most pathogenic amino acid substitutions map to the three main points of contact between eEF2 and critical large subunit rRNA elements of the ribosome, specifically to contacts with Helix 69, Helix 95, also known as the sarcin-ricin loop, and Helix 43 of the GTPase-associated center. In order to further investigate these eEF2–ribosome interactions, we identified a series of yeast eEF2 amino acid residues based on their proximity to these functionally important rRNA elements.
Rate-limiting hydrolysis in ribosomal release reactions revealed by ester activationTranslation terminates by releasing the polypeptide chain in one of two chemical reactions catalyzed by the ribosome. Release is also a target for engineering, as readthrough of a stop codon enables incorporation of unnatural amino acids and treatment of genetic diseases. Hydrolysis of the ester bond of peptidyl-tRNA requires conformational changes of both a class I release factor (RF) protein and the peptidyl transferase center of a large subunit rRNA. The rate-limiting step was proposed to be hydrolysis at physiological pH and an RF conformational change at higher pH, but evidence was indirect.
Recognition of 3′ nucleotide context and stop codon readthrough are determined during mRNA translation elongationThe nucleotide context surrounding stop codons significantly affects the efficiency of translation termination. In eukaryotes, various 3′ contexts that are unfavorable for translation termination have been described; however, the exact molecular mechanism that mediates their effects remains unknown. In this study, we used a reconstituted mammalian translation system to examine the efficiency of stop codons in different contexts, including several previously described weak 3′ stop codon contexts.
Ribosomal protein S18 acetyltransferase RimI is responsible for the acetylation of elongation factor TuN-terminal acetylation is widespread in the eukaryotic proteome but in bacteria is restricted to a small number of proteins mainly involved in translation. It was long known that elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) is N-terminally acetylated, whereas the enzyme responsible for this process was unclear. Here, we report that RimI acetyltransferase, known to modify ribosomal protein S18, is likewise responsible for N-acetylation of the EF-Tu. With the help of inducible tufA expression plasmid, we demonstrated that the acetylation does not alter the stability of EF-Tu.
Rqc1 and other yeast proteins containing highly positively charged sequences are not targets of the RQC complexPrevious work has suggested that highly positively charged protein segments coded by rare codons or poly (A) stretches induce ribosome stalling and translational arrest through electrostatic interactions with the negatively charged ribosome exit tunnel, leading to inefficient elongation. This arrest leads to the activation of the Ribosome Quality Control (RQC) pathway and results in low expression of these reporter proteins. However, the only endogenous yeast proteins known to activate the RQC are Rqc1, a protein essential for RQC function, and Sdd1, a protein with unknown function, both of which contain polybasic sequences.
GGQ methylation enhances both speed and accuracy of stop codon recognition by bacterial class-I release factorsAccurate translation termination in bacteria requires correct recognition of the stop codons by the class-I release factors (RFs) RF1 and RF2, which release the nascent peptide from the peptidyl tRNA after undergoing a “compact to open” conformational transition. These RFs possess a conserved Gly-Gly-Gln (GGQ) peptide release motif, of which the Q residue is posttranslationally methylated. GGQ-methylated RFs have been shown to be faster in peptide release than the unmethylated ones, but it was unknown whether this modification had additional roles.
Stop codon read-through of mammalian MTCH2 leading to an unstable isoform regulates mitochondrial membrane potentialStop codon read-through (SCR) is a process of continuation of translation beyond a stop codon. This phenomenon, which occurs only in certain mRNAs under specific conditions, leads to a longer isoform with properties different from that of the canonical isoform. MTCH2, which encodes a mitochondrial protein that regulates mitochondrial metabolism, was selected as a potential read-through candidate based on evolutionary conservation observed in the proximal region of its 3′ UTR. Here, we demonstrate translational read-through across two evolutionarily conserved, in-frame stop codons of MTCH2 using luminescence- and fluorescence-based assays, and by analyzing ribosome-profiling and mass spectrometry (MS) data.
The noncoding RNA BC200 associates with polysomes to positively regulate mRNA translation in tumor cellsBC200 is a noncoding RNA elevated in a broad spectrum of tumor cells that is critical for cell viability, invasion, and migration. Overexpression studies have implicated BC200 and the rodent analog BC1 as negative regulators of translation in both cell-based and in vitro translation assays. Although these studies are consistent, they have not been confirmed in knockdown studies and direct evidence for this function is lacking. Herein, we have demonstrated that BC200 knockdown is correlated with a decrease in global translation rates.
Molecular determinants of release factor 2 for ArfA-mediated ribosome rescueTranslation termination in bacteria requires that the stop codon be recognized by release factor RF1 or RF2, leading to hydrolysis of the ester bond between the peptide and tRNA on the ribosome. As a consequence, normal termination cannot proceed if the translated mRNA lacks a stop codon. In Escherichia coli, the ribosome rescue factor ArfA releases the nascent polypeptide from the stalled ribosome with the help of RF2 in a stop codon–independent manner. Interestingly, the reaction does not proceed if RF1 is instead provided, even though the structures of RF1 and RF2 are very similar.
Regulation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 6 dynamics through multisite phosphorylation by GSK3Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 6 (eIF6) is essential for the synthesis of 60S ribosomal subunits and for regulating the association of 60S and 40S subunits. A mechanistic understanding of how eIF6 modulates translation in response to stress, specifically starvation-induced stress, is lacking. We here show a novel mode of eIF6 regulation by glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) that is predominantly active in response to serum starvation. Both GSK3α and GSK3β phosphorylate human eIF6. Multiple residues in the C terminus of eIF6 are phosphorylated by GSK3 in a sequential manner.
The folding and unfolding behavior of ribonuclease H on the ribosomeThe health of a cell depends on accurate translation and proper protein folding, whereas misfolding can lead to aggregation and disease. The first opportunity for a protein to fold occurs during translation, when the ribosome and surrounding environment can affect the nascent chain energy landscape. However, quantifying these environmental effects is challenging because ribosomal proteins and rRNA preclude most spectroscopic measurements of protein energetics. Here, we have applied two gel-based approaches, pulse proteolysis and force-profile analysis, to probe the folding and unfolding pathways of RNase H (RNH) nascent chains stalled on the prokaryotic ribosome in vitro.
Translational regulation of environmental adaptation in bacteriaBacteria must rapidly respond to both intracellular and environmental changes to survive. One critical mechanism to rapidly detect and adapt to changes in environmental conditions is control of gene expression at the level of protein synthesis. At each of the three major steps of translation—initiation, elongation, and termination—cells use stimuli to tune translation rate and cellular protein concentrations. For example, changes in nutrient concentrations in the cell can lead to translational responses involving mechanisms such as dynamic folding of riboswitches during translation initiation or the synthesis of alarmones, which drastically alter cell physiology.
The hibernating 100S complex is a target of ribosome-recycling factor and elongation factor G in Staphylococcus aureusThe formation of translationally inactive 70S dimers (called 100S ribosomes) by hibernation-promoting factor is a widespread survival strategy among bacteria. Ribosome dimerization is thought to be reversible, with the dissociation of the 100S complexes enabling ribosome recycling for participation in new rounds of translation. The precise pathway of 100S ribosome recycling has been unclear. We previously found that the heat-shock GTPase HflX in the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is a minor disassembly factor.
Chiral checkpoints during protein biosynthesisProtein chains contain only l-amino acids, with the exception of the achiral glycine, making the chains homochiral. This homochirality is a prerequisite for proper protein folding and, hence, normal cellular function. The importance of d-amino acids as a component of the bacterial cell wall and their roles in neurotransmission in higher eukaryotes are well-established. However, the wider presence and the corresponding physiological roles of these specific amino acid stereoisomers have been appreciated only recently.
Ribosome depurination by ricin leads to inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress–induced HAC1 mRNA splicing on the ribosomeRicin undergoes retrograde transport to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and ricin toxin A chain (RTA) enters the cytosol from the ER. Previous reports indicated that RTA inhibits activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in yeast and in mammalian cells. Both precursor (preRTA) and mature form of RTA (mRTA) inhibited splicing of HAC1u (u for uninduced) mRNA, suggesting that UPR inhibition occurred on the cytosolic face of the ER. Here, we examined the role of ribosome binding and depurination activity on inhibition of the UPR using mRTA mutants.
How do cells cope with RNA damage and its consequences?Similar to many other biological molecules, RNA is vulnerable to chemical insults from endogenous and exogenous sources. Noxious agents such as reactive oxygen species or alkylating chemicals have the potential to profoundly affect the chemical properties and hence the function of RNA molecules in the cell. Given the central role of RNA in many fundamental biological processes, including translation and splicing, changes to its chemical composition can have a detrimental impact on cellular fitness, with some evidence suggesting that RNA damage has roles in diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders.
Polyadenylate-binding protein–interacting proteins PAIP1 and PAIP2 affect translation terminationPolyadenylate-binding protein (PABP) stimulates translation termination via interaction of its C-terminal domain with eukaryotic polypeptide chain release factor, eRF3. Additionally, two other proteins, poly(A)-binding protein-interacting proteins 1 and 2 (PAIP1 and PAIP2), bind the same domain of PABP and regulate its translation-related activity. To study the biochemistry of eRF3 and PAIP1/2 competition for PABP binding, we quantified the effects of PAIPs on translation termination in the presence or absence of PABP.
Translational recoding signals: Expanding the synthetic biology toolboxInnovation follows discovery. If the 20th century was a golden age of discovery in the biomolecular biosciences, the current century may be remembered by the explosion of beneficial devices and therapies conceived by the bioengineers of the era. Much as the development of solid-state electronic components made possible the information revolution, the rational combining of millions of basic molecular control modules will enable the development of highly sophisticated biomachines that will make today's smartphones appear rudimentary.
Importance of a tRNA anticodon loop modification and a conserved, noncanonical anticodon stem pairing in tRNACGGPro for decodingModification of anticodon nucleotides allows tRNAs to decode multiple codons, expanding the genetic code. Additionally, modifications located in the anticodon loop, but outside the anticodon itself, stabilize tRNA–codon interactions, increasing decoding fidelity. Anticodon loop nucleotide 37 is 3′ to the anticodon and, in tRNACGGPro, is methylated at the N1 position in its nucleobase (m1G37). The m1G37 modification in tRNACGGPro stabilizes its interaction with the codon and maintains the mRNA frame.
Conserved motifs on the cytoplasmic face of the protein translocation channel are critical for the transition between resting and active conformationsThe Sec61 complex is the primary cotranslational protein translocation channel in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The structural transition between the closed inactive conformation of the Sec61 complex and its open and active conformation is thought to be promoted by binding of the ribosome nascent-chain complex to the cytoplasmic surface of the Sec61 complex. Here, we have analyzed new yeast Sec61 mutants that selectively interfere with cotranslational translocation across the endoplasmic reticulum.
The ribosome: A hot spot for the identification of new types of protein methyltransferasesCellular physiology depends on the alteration of protein structures by covalent modification reactions. Using a combination of bioinformatic, genetic, biochemical, and mass spectrometric approaches, it has been possible to probe ribosomal proteins from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for post-translationally methylated amino acid residues and for the enzymes that catalyze these modifications. These efforts have resulted in the identification and characterization of the first protein histidine methyltransferase, the first N-terminal protein methyltransferase, two unusual types of protein arginine methyltransferases, and a new type of cysteine methylation.
Eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2) catalyzes reverse translocation of the eukaryotic ribosomeDuring protein synthesis, a ribosome moves along the mRNA template and, using aminoacyl-tRNAs, decodes the template nucleotide triplets to assemble a protein amino acid sequence. This movement is accompanied by shifting of mRNA–tRNA complexes within the ribosome in a process called translocation. In living cells, this process proceeds in a unidirectional manner, bringing the ribosome to the 3′ end of mRNA, and is catalyzed by the GTPase translation elongation factor 2 (EF-G in prokaryotes and eEF2 in eukaryotes).
Identification and characterization of a translation arrest motif in VemP by systematic mutational analysisVemP (Vibrio protein export monitoring polypeptide) is a secretory protein comprising 159 amino acid residues, which functions as a secretion monitor in Vibrio and regulates expression of the downstream V.secDF2 genes. When VemP export is compromised, its translation specifically undergoes elongation arrest at the position where the Gln156 codon of vemP encounters the P-site in the translating ribosome, resulting in up-regulation of V.SecDF2 production. Although our previous study suggests that many residues in a highly conserved C-terminal 20-residue region of VemP contribute to its elongation arrest, the exact role of each residue remains unclear.
Positive zip coding in small protein translocationMost newly synthesized proteins destined for the secretory pathway contain a signal peptide (SP) that triggers cotranslational translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, how small polypeptides undergo ER translocation is not fully understood. In this issue of JBC, Guo et al. describe a mechanism for posttranslational translocation of small secretory proteins featuring a positive charge within the SP N-terminal region. Defects in this element disrupt proper secretion and explain the effects of genetic mutations associated with one type of diabetes.
Loss of the deubiquitinase USP36 destabilizes the RNA helicase DHX33 and causes preimplantation lethality in miceDeubiquitinases are proteases with a wide functional diversity that profoundly impact multiple biological processes. Among them, the ubiquitin-specific protease 36 (USP36) has been implicated in the regulation of nucleolar activity. However, its functional relevance in vivo has not yet been fully described. Here, we report the generation of an Usp36-deficient mouse model to examine the function of this enzyme. We show that Usp36 depletion is lethal in preimplantation mouse embryos, where it blocks the transition from morula to blastocyst during embryonic development.