In all living organisms, ribosomes translating membrane proteins are targeted to membrane translocons early in translation, by the ubiquitous Signal Recognition Particle (SRP) system. In eukaryotes, the SRP Alu domain arrests translation elongation of membrane proteins until targeting is complete. Curiously however, the Alu domain is lacking in most eubacteria. Here, by analyzing genome-wide data on translation rates, we identified a potential compensatory mechanism in E. coli that serves to slow down translation during membrane protein targeting. The underlying mechanism is likely programmed into the coding sequence, where Shine-Dalgarno-like elements trigger elongation pauses at strategic positions during early stages of translation. We provide experimental evidence that slow translation during targeting improves membrane protein production fidelity, as it correlates with better folding of overexpressed membrane proteins. Thus, slow elongation is important for membrane protein targeting in E. coli, which utilizes mechanisms different from the eukaryotic one to control translation speed.
- Nahum Sonenberg, McGill University, Canada
© 2014, Fluman et al.
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The relative positions of viral DNA genomes to the host intranuclear environment play critical roles in determining virus fate. Recent advances in the application of chromosome conformation capture-based sequencing analysis (3 C technologies) have revealed valuable aspects of the spatiotemporal interplay of viral genomes with host chromosomes. However, to elucidate the causal relationship between the subnuclear localization of viral genomes and the pathogenic outcome of an infection, manipulative tools are needed. Rapid repositioning of viral DNAs to specific subnuclear compartments amid infection is a powerful approach to synchronize and interrogate this dynamically changing process in space and time. Herein, we report an inducible CRISPR-based two-component platform that relocates extrachromosomal DNA pieces (5 kb to 170 kb) to the nuclear periphery in minutes (CRISPR-nuPin). Based on this strategy, investigations of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), a prototypical member of the human herpesvirus family, revealed unprecedently reported insights into the early intranuclear life of the pathogen: (I) Viral genomes tethered to the nuclear periphery upon entry, compared with those freely infecting the nucleus, were wrapped around histones with increased suppressive modifications and subjected to stronger transcriptional silencing and prominent growth inhibition. (II) Relocating HSV-1 genomes at 1 hr post infection significantly promoted the transcription of viral genes, termed an ‘Escaping’ effect. (III) Early accumulation of ICP0 was a sufficient but not necessary condition for ‘Escaping’. (IV) Subnuclear localization was only critical during early infection. Importantly, the CRISPR-nuPin tactic, in principle, is applicable to many other DNA viruses.
Impaired spermatogenesis and male infertility are common manifestations associated with mitochondrial diseases, yet the underlying mechanisms linking these conditions remain elusive. In this study, we demonstrate that mice deficient for the mitochondrial intra-membrane rhomboid protease PARL, a recently reported model of the mitochondrial encephalopathy Leigh syndrome, develop early testicular atrophy caused by a complete arrest of spermatogenesis during meiotic prophase I, followed by degeneration and death of arrested spermatocytes. This process is independent of neurodegeneration. Interestingly, genetic modifications of PINK1, PGAM5, and TTC19 – three major substrates of PARL with important roles in mitochondrial homeostasis – fail to reproduce or modify this severe phenotype, indicating that the spermatogenic arrest arises from distinct molecular pathways. We further observed severe abnormalities in mitochondrial ultrastructure in PARL-deficient spermatocytes, along with prominent electron transfer chain defects, disrupted coenzyme Q (CoQ) biosynthesis, and metabolic rewiring. These mitochondrial defects are associated with a germ cell-specific decrease in GPX4 expression leading arrested spermatocytes to ferroptosis – a regulated cell death modality characterized by uncontrolled lipid peroxidation. Our results suggest that mitochondrial defects induced by PARL depletion act as an initiating trigger for ferroptosis in primary spermatocytes through simultaneous effects on GPX4 and CoQ – two major inhibitors of ferroptosis. These findings shed new light on the potential role of ferroptosis in the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases and male infertility warranting further investigation.