Initiation of transcription is a primary means for controlling gene expression. In bacteria, the RNA polymerase (RNAP) holoenzyme binds and unwinds promoter DNA, forming the transcription bubble of the open promoter complex (RPo). We have determined crystal structures, refined to 4.14 Å-resolution, of RPo containing Thermus aquaticus RNAP holoenzyme and promoter DNA that includes the full transcription bubble. The structures, combined with biochemical analyses, reveal key features supporting the formation and maintenance of the double-strand/single-strand DNA junction at the upstream edge of the -10 element where bubble formation initiates. The results also reveal RNAP interactions with duplex DNA just upstream of the -10 element and potential protein/DNA interactions that direct the DNA template strand into the RNAP active site. Addition of an RNA primer to yield a 4 base-pair post-translocated RNA:DNA hybrid mimics an initially transcribing complex at the point where steric clash initiates abortive initiation and σA dissociation.
- Stephen C Harrison, Harvard Medical School, United States
© 2015, Bae et al.
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Self-cleaving ribozymes are RNA molecules that catalyze the cleavage of their own phosphodiester backbones. These ribozymes are found in all domains of life and are also a tool for biotechnical and synthetic biology applications. Self-cleaving ribozymes are also an important model of sequence-to-function relationships for RNA because their small size simplifies synthesis of genetic variants and self-cleaving activity is an accessible readout of the functional consequence of the mutation. Here, we used a high-throughput experimental approach to determine the relative activity for every possible single and double mutant of five self-cleaving ribozymes. From this data, we comprehensively identified non-additive effects between pairs of mutations (epistasis) for all five ribozymes. We analyzed how changes in activity and trends in epistasis map to the ribozyme structures. The variety of structures studied provided opportunities to observe several examples of common structural elements, and the data was collected under identical experimental conditions to enable direct comparison. Heatmap-based visualization of the data revealed patterns indicating structural features of the ribozymes including paired regions, unpaired loops, non-canonical structures, and tertiary structural contacts. The data also revealed signatures of functionally critical nucleotides involved in catalysis. The results demonstrate that the data sets provide structural information similar to chemical or enzymatic probing experiments, but with additional quantitative functional information. The large-scale data sets can be used for models predicting structure and function and for efforts to engineer self-cleaving ribozymes.
Dystroglycan (DG) requires extensive post-translational processing and O-glycosylation to function as a receptor for extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins containing laminin-G-like (LG) domains. Matriglycan is an elongated polysaccharide of alternating xylose (Xyl) and glucuronic acid (GlcA) that binds with high-affinity to ECM proteins with LG-domains and is uniquely synthesized on α-dystroglycan (α-DG) by like-acetylglucosaminyltransferase-1 (LARGE1). Defects in the post-translational processing or O-glycosylation of α-DG that result in a shorter form of matriglycan reduce the size of α-DG and decrease laminin binding, leading to various forms of muscular dystrophy. Previously, we demonstrated that Protein O-Mannose Kinase (POMK) is required for LARGE1 to generate full-length matriglycan on α-DG (~150-250 kDa) (Walimbe et al., 2020). Here, we show that LARGE1 can only synthesize a short, non-elongated form of matriglycan in mouse skeletal muscle that lacks the DG N-terminus (α-DGN), resulting in a ~100-125 kDa α-DG. This smaller form of α-DG binds laminin and maintains specific force but does not prevent muscle pathophysiology, including reduced force production after eccentric contractions or abnormalities in the neuromuscular junctions. Collectively, our study demonstrates that α-DGN, like POMK, is required for LARGE1 to extend matriglycan to its full mature length on α-DG and thus prevent muscle pathophysiology.