In vivo expression of the nucleolar group I intron-encoded I-dirI homing endonuclease involves the removal of a spliceosomal intron.
The Didymium iridis DiSSU1 intron is located in the nuclear SSU rDNA and has an unusual twin-ribozyme organization. One of the ribozymes (DiGIR2) catalyses intron excision and exon ligation. The other ribozyme (DiGIR1), which along with the endonuclease-encoding I-DirI open reading frame (ORF) is inserted in DiGIR2, carries out hydrolysis at internal processing sites (IPS1 and IPS2) located at its 3' end. Examination of the in vivo expression of DiSSU1 shows that after excision, DiSSU1 is matured further into the I-DirI mRNA by internal DiGIR1-catalysed cleavage upstream of the ORF 5' end, as well as truncation and polyadenylation downstream of the ORF 3' end. A spliceosomal intron, the first to be reported within a group I intron and the rDNA, is removed before the I-DirI mRNA associates with the polysomes. Taken together, our results imply that DiSSU1 uses a unique combination of intron-supplied ribozyme activity and adaptation to the general RNA polymerase II pathway of mRNA expression to allow a protein to be produced from the RNA polymerase I-transcribed rDNA. (+info)
Tight binding of the 5' exon to domain I of a group II self-splicing intron requires completion of the intron active site.
Group II self-splicing requires the 5' exon to form base pairs with two stretches of intronic sequence (EBS1 and EBS2) which also bind the DNA target during retrotransposition of the intron. We have used dimethyl sulfate modification of bases to obtain footprints of the 5' exon on intron Pl.LSU/2 from the mitochondrion of the alga Pylaiella littoralis, as well as on truncated intron derivatives. Aside from the EBS sites, which are part of the same subdomain (ID) of ribozyme secondary structure, three distant adenines become either less or more sensitive to modification in the presence of the exon. Unexpectedly, one of these adenines in subdomain IC1 is footprinted only in the presence of the distal helix of domain V, which is involved in catalysis. While the loss of that footprint is accompanied by a 100-fold decrease in the affinity for the exon, both protection from modification and efficient binding can be restored by a separate domain V transcript, whose binding results in its own, concise footprint on domains I and III. Possible biological implications of the need for the group II active site to be complete in order to observe high-affinity binding of the 5' exon to domain I are discussed. (+info)
A premature termination codon interferes with the nuclear function of an exon splicing enhancer in an open reading frame-dependent manner.
Premature translation termination codon (PTC)-mediated effects on nuclear RNA processing have been shown to be associated with a number of human genetic diseases; however, how these PTCs mediate such effects in the nucleus is unclear. A PTC at nucleotide (nt) 2018 that lies adjacent to the 5' element of a bipartite exon splicing enhancer within the NS2-specific exon of minute virus of mice P4 promoter-generated pre-mRNA caused a decrease in the accumulated levels of P4-generated R2 mRNA relative to P4-generated R1 mRNA, although the total accumulated levels of P4 product remained the same. This effect was seen in nuclear RNA and was independent of RNA stability. The 5' and 3' elements of the bipartite NS2-specific exon enhancer are redundant in function, and when the 2018 PTC was combined with a deletion of the 3' enhancer element, the exon was skipped in the majority of the viral P4-generated product. Such exon skipping in response to a PTC, but not a missense mutation at nt 2018, could be suppressed by frame shift mutations in either exon of NS2 which reopened the NS2 open reading frame, as well as by improvement of the upstream intron 3' splice site. These results suggest that a PTC can interfere with the function of an exon splicing enhancer in an open reading frame-dependent manner and that the PTC is recognized in the nucleus. (+info)
Alterations in the conserved SL1 trans-spliced leader of Caenorhabditis elegans demonstrate flexibility in length and sequence requirements in vivo.
Approximately 70% of mRNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans are trans spliced to conserved 21- to 23-nucleotide leader RNAs. While the function of SL1, the major C. elegans trans-spliced leader, is unknown, SL1 RNA, which contains this leader, is essential for embryogenesis. Efforts to characterize in vivo requirements of the SL1 leader sequence have been severely constrained by the essential role of the corresponding DNA sequences in SL1 RNA transcription. We devised a heterologous expression system that circumvents this problem, making it possible to probe the length and sequence requirements of the SL1 leader without interfering with its transcription. We report that expression of SL1 from a U2 snRNA promoter rescues mutants lacking the SL1-encoding genes and that the essential embryonic function of SL1 is retained when approximately one-third of the leader sequence and/or the length of the leader is significantly altered. In contrast, although all mutant SL1 RNAs were well expressed, more severe alterations eliminate this essential embryonic function. The one non-rescuing mutant leader tested was never detected on messages, demonstrating that part of the leader sequence is essential for trans splicing in vivo. Thus, in spite of the high degree of SL1 sequence conservation, its length, primary sequence, and composition are not critical parameters of its essential embryonic function. However, particular nucleotides in the leader are essential for the in vivo function of the SL1 RNA, perhaps for its assembly into a functional snRNP or for the trans-splicing reaction. (+info)
Promoter and exon-intron structure of the protein kinase C gene from the marine sponge Geodia cydonium: evolutionary considerations and promoter activity.
We report the gene structure of a key signaling molecule from a marine sponge, Geodia cydonium. The selected gene, which codes for a classical protein kinase C (cPKC), comprises 13 exons and 12 introns; the introns are, in contrast to those found in cPKC from higher Metazoa, small in size ranging from 93 nt to 359 nt. The complete gene has a length of 4229 nt and contains exons which encode the characteristic putative regulatory and catalytic domains of metazoan cPKCs. While in the regulatory domain only one intron is in phase 0, in the catalytic domain most introns are phase 0 introns, suggesting that the latter only rarely undergo module duplication. The 5'-flanking sequence of the sponge cPKC gene contains a TATA-box like motif which is located 35-26 nt upstream from the start of the longest sequenced cDNA. This 5'-flanking sequence was analyzed for promoter activity. The longest fragment (538 nt) was able to drive the expression of luciferase in transient transfections of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts; the strong activity of the sponge promoter was found to be half the one displayed by the SV40 reference promoter. Deletion analysis demonstrates that the AP4 site and the GC box which is most adjacent to the TATA box are the crucial elements for maximal promoter activity. The activity of the promoter is not changed in 3T3 cells which are kept serum starved or in the presence of a phorbol ester. In conclusion, these data present the phylogenetically oldest cPKC gene which contains in the 5'-flanking region a promoter functional in the heterologous mammalian cell system. (+info)
Interleukin-18 binding protein: a novel modulator of the Th1 cytokine response.
An interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) was purified from urine by chromatography on IL-18 beads, sequenced, cloned, and expressed in COS7 cells. IL-18BP abolished IL-18 induction of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma), IL-8, and activation of NF-kappaB in vitro. Administration of IL-18BP to mice abrogated circulating IFNgamma following LPS. Thus, IL-18BP functions as an inhibitor of the early Th1 cytokine response. IL-18BP is constitutively expressed in the spleen, belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily, and has limited homology to the IL-1 type II receptor. Its gene was localized on human chromosome 11q13, and no exon coding for a transmembrane domain was found in an 8.3 kb genomic sequence. Several Poxviruses encode putative proteins highly homologous to IL-18BP, suggesting that viral products may attenuate IL-18 and interfere with the cytotoxic T cell response. (+info)
The stability and fate of a spliced intron from vertebrate cells.
Introns constitute most of the length of typical pre-mRNAs in vertebrate cells. Thus, the turnover rate of introns may significantly influence the availability of ribonucleotides and splicing factors for further rounds of transcription and RNA splicing, respectively. Given the importance of intron turnover, it is surprising that there have been no reports on the half-life of introns from higher eukaryotic cells. Here, we determined the stability of IVS1Cbeta1, the first intron from the constant region of the mouse T-cell receptor-beta, (TCR-beta) gene. Using a tetracycline (tet)-regulated promoter, we demonstrate that spliced IVS1Cbeta1 and its pre-mRNA had half-lives of 6.0+/-1.4 min and 3.7+/-1.0 min, respectively. We also examined the half-lives of these transcripts by using actinomycin D (Act.D). Act.D significantly stabilized IVS1Cbeta1 and its pre-mRNA, suggesting that Act.D not only blocks transcription but exerts rapid and direct posttranscriptional effects in the nucleus. We observed that in vivo spliced IVS1Cbeta1 accumulated predominantly as lariat molecules that use a consensus branchpoint nucleotide. The accumulation of IVS1Cbeta1 as a lariat did not result from an intrinsic inability to be debranched, as it could be debranched in vitro, albeit somewhat less efficiently than an adenovirus intron. Subcellular-fractionation and sucrose-gradient analyses showed that most spliced IVS1Cbeta1 lariats cofractionated with pre-mRNA, but not always with mRNA in the nucleus. Some IVS1Cbeta1 also appeared to be selectively exported to the cytoplasm, whereas TCR-beta pre-mRNA remained in the nucleus. This study constitutes the first detailed analysis of the stability and fate of a spliced nuclear intron in vivo. (+info)
Genome-wide bioinformatic and molecular analysis of introns in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Introns have typically been discovered in an ad hoc fashion: introns are found as a gene is characterized for other reasons. As complete eukaryotic genome sequences become available, better methods for predicting RNA processing signals in raw sequence will be necessary in order to discover genes and predict their expression. Here we present a catalog of 228 yeast introns, arrived at through a combination of bioinformatic and molecular analysis. Introns annotated in the Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) were evaluated, questionable introns were removed after failing a test for splicing in vivo, and known introns absent from the SGD annotation were added. A novel branchpoint sequence, AAUUAAC, was identified within an annotated intron that lacks a six-of-seven match to the highly conserved branchpoint consensus UACUAAC. Analysis of the database corroborates many conclusions about pre-mRNA substrate requirements for splicing derived from experimental studies, but indicates that splicing in yeast may not be as rigidly determined by splice-site conservation as had previously been thought. Using this database and a molecular technique that directly displays the lariat intron products of spliced transcripts (intron display), we suggest that the current set of 228 introns is still not complete, and that additional intron-containing genes remain to be discovered in yeast. The database can be accessed at http://www.cse.ucsc.edu/research/compbi o/yeast_introns.html. (+info)