RNA degradation is fundamental for cellular homeostasis. The process is carried out by various classes of endolytic and exolytic enzymes that together degrade an RNA polymer to mono-ribonucleotides. Within the exoribonucleases, nano-RNases play a unique role as they act on the smallest breakdown products and hence catalyze the final steps in the process. We recently showed that oligoribonuclease (Orn) acts as a dedicated diribonucleotidase, defining the ultimate step in RNA degradation that is crucial for cellular fitness (Kim et al., 2019). Whether such a specific activity exists in organisms that lack Orn-type exoribonucleases remained unclear. Through quantitative structure-function analyses we show here that NrnC-type RNases share this narrow substrate length preference with Orn. Although NrnC employs similar structural features that distinguish these two classes as dinucleotidases from other exonucleases, the key determinants for dinucleotidase activity are realized through distinct structural scaffolds. The structures together with comparative genomic analyses of the phylogeny of DEDD-type exoribonucleases indicates convergent evolution as the mechanism of how dinucleotidase activity emerged repeatedly in various organisms. The evolutionary pressure to maintain dinucleotidase activity further underlines the important role these analogous proteins play for cell growth.
The atomic coordinates and structure factors have been deposited in the Protein Data Bank, www.rcsb.org (PDB ID codes 7MPL, 7MPM, 7MPN, 7MPO, 7MPP, 7MPQ, 7MPR, 7MPS, 7MPT, 7MPU, 7MQB/EMD-23941, 7MQD/EMD-23943, 7MQF/EMD-23945, 7MQH/EMD-23947, 7MQC/EMD-23942, 7MQE/EMD-23944, 7MQG/EMD-23946, 7MQI/EMD-23948).
- Vincent T Lee
- Holger Sondermann
- J Christopher Fromme
The funding sources were not involved in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Bryce E Nickels, Rutgers University, United States
© 2021, Lormand et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Antibiotics of the β-lactam (penicillin) family inactivate target enzymes called D,D-transpeptidases or penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) that catalyze the last cross-linking step of peptidoglycan synthesis. The resulting net-like macromolecule is the essential component of bacterial cell walls that sustains the osmotic pressure of the cytoplasm. In Escherichia coli, bypass of PBPs by the YcbB L,D-transpeptidase leads to resistance to these drugs. We developed a new method based on heavy isotope labeling and mass spectrometry to elucidate PBP- and YcbB-mediated peptidoglycan polymerization. PBPs and YcbB similarly participated in single-strand insertion of glycan chains into the expanding bacterial side wall. This absence of any transpeptidase-specific signature suggests that the peptidoglycan expansion mode is determined by other components of polymerization complexes. YcbB did mediate β-lactam resistance by insertion of multiple strands that were exclusively cross-linked to existing tripeptide-containing acceptors. We propose that this undocumented mode of polymerization depends upon accumulation of linear glycan chains due to PBP inactivation, formation of tripeptides due to cleavage of existing cross-links by a β-lactam-insensitive endopeptidase, and concerted cross-linking by YcbB.