Activation of systemic acquired silencing by localised introduction of DNA.
BACKGROUND: In plants, post-transcriptional gene silencing results in RNA degradation after transcription. Among tobacco transformants carrying a nitrate reductase (Nia) construct under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (35S-Nia2), one class of transformants spontaneously triggers Nia post-transcriptional gene silencing (class II) whereas another class does not (class I). Non-silenced plants of both classes become silenced when grafted onto silenced stocks, indicating the existence of a systemic silencing signal. Graft-transmitted silencing is maintained in class II but not in class I plants when removed from silenced stocks, indicating similar requirements for spontaneous triggering and maintenance. RESULTS: Introduction of 35S-Nia2 DNA by the gene transfer method called biolistics led to localised acquired silencing (LAS) in bombarded leaves of wild-type, class I and class II plants, and to systemic acquired silencing (SAS) in class II plants. SAS occurred even if the targeted leaf was removed 2 days after bombardment, indicating that the systemic signal is produced, transmitted and amplified rapidly. SAS was activated by sense, antisense and promoterless Nia2 DNA constructs, indicating that transcription is not required although it does stimulate SAS. CONCLUSIONS: SAS was activated by biolistic introduction of promoterless constructs, indicating that the DNA itself is a potent activator of post-transcriptional gene silencing. The systemic silencing signal invaded the whole plant by cell-to-cell and long-distance propagation, and reamplification of the signal. (+info
Gene silencing: plants and viruses fight it out.
Plants can become 'immune' to attack by viruses by degrading specific viral RNA, but some plant viruses have evolved the general capacity to suppress this resistance mechanism. (+info
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
The 3' end CCA of mature tRNA is an antideterminant for eukaryotic 3'-tRNase.
Cytoplasmic tRNAs undergo posttranscriptional 5' and 3' end processing in the eukaryotic nucleus, and CCA (which forms the mature 3' end of all tRNAs) must be added by tRNA nucleotidyl transferase before tRNA can be aminoacylated and utilized in translation. Eukaryotic 3'-tRNase can endonucleolytically remove a 3' end trailer by cleaving on the 3' side of the discriminator base (the unpaired nucleotide 3' of the last base pair of the acceptor stem). This reaction proceeds despite a wide range in length and sequence of the 3' end trailer, except that mature tRNA containing the 3' terminal CCA is not a substrate for mouse 3'-tRNase (Nashimoto, 1997, Nucleic Acids Res 25:1148-1154). Herein, we extend this result with Drosophila and pig 3'-tRNase, using Drosophila melanogaster tRNAHis as substrate. Mature tRNA is thus prevented from recycling through 3' end processing. We also tested a series of tRNAs ending at the discriminator base (-), with one C added (+C), two Cs added (+CC), and CCA added (+CCA) as 3'-tRNase inhibitors. Inhibition was competitive with both Drosophila and pig 3'-tRNase. The product of the 3'-tRNase reaction (-) is a good 3'-tRNase inhibitor, with a KI approximately two times KM for the normal 3'-tRNase substrate. KI increases with each nucleotide added beyond the discriminator base, until when tRNA+CCA is used as inhibitor, KI is approximately forty times the substrate KM. The 3'-tRNase can thus remain free to process precursors with 3' end trailers because it is barely inhibited by tRNA+CCA, ensuring that tRNA can progress to aminoacylation. The active site of 3'-tRNase may have evolved to make an especially poor fit with tRNA+CCA. (+info
In vivo and in vitro processing of the Bacillus subtilis transcript coding for glutamyl-tRNA synthetase, serine acetyltransferase, and cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase.
In Bacillus subtilis, the adjacent genes gltX, cysE, and cysS encoding respectively glutamyl-tRNA synthetase, serine acetyl-transferase, and cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase, are transcribed as an operon but a gltX probe reveals only the presence of a monocistronic gltX mRNA (Gagnon et al., 1994, J Biol Chem 269:7473-7482). The transcript of the gltX-cysE intergenic region contains putative alternative secondary structures forming a p-independent terminator or an antiterminator, and a conserved sequence (T-box) found in the leader of most aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase and many amino acid biosynthesis genes in B. subtilis and in other Gram-positive eubacteria. The transcription of these genes is initiated 45 nt upstream from the first codon of gltX and is under the control of a sigmaA-type promoter. Analysis of the in vivo transcript of this operon revealed a cleavage site immediately downstream from the p-independent terminator structure. In vitro transcription analysis, using RNA polymerases from Escherichia coli, B. subtilis, and that encoded by the T7 phage, in the presence of various RNase inhibitors, shows the same cleavage. This processing generates mRNAs whose 5'-end half-lives differ by a factor of 2 in rich medium, and leaves putative secondary structures at the 3' end of the gltX transcript and at the 5' end of the cysE/S mRNA, which may be involved in the stabilization of these mRNAs. By its mechanism and its position, this cleavage differs from that of the other known transcripts encoding aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in B. subtilis. (+info
A novel nucleotide incorporation activity implicated in the editing of mitochondrial transfer RNAs in Acanthamoeba castellanii.
In Acanthamoeba castellanii, most of the mtDNA-encoded tRNAs are edited by a process that replaces one or more of the first three nucleotides at their 5' ends. As a result, base pairing potential is restored at acceptor stem positions (1:72, 2:71, and/or 3:70, in standard tRNA nomenclature) that are mismatched according to the corresponding tRNA gene sequence. Here we describe a novel nucleotide incorporation activity, partially purified from A. castellanii mitochondria, that has properties implicating it in mitochondrial tRNA editing in this organism. This activity is able to replace nucleotides at the first three positions of a tRNA (positions 1, 2, and 3), matching the newly incorporated residues through canonical base pairing to the respective partner nucleotide in the 3' half of the acceptor stem. Labeling experiments with natural (Escherichia coli tRNATyr) and synthetic (run-off transcripts corresponding to A. castellanii mitochondrial tRNALeu1) substrates suggest that the nucleotide incorporation activity consists of at least two components, a 5' exonuclease or endonuclease and a template-directed 3'-to-5' nucleotidyltransferase. The nucleotidyltransferase component displays an ATP requirement and generates 5' pppN... termini in vitro. The development of an accurate and efficient in vitro system opens the way for detailed studies of the biochemical properties of this novel activity and its relationship to mitochondrial tRNA editing in A. castellanii. In addition, the system will allow delineation of the structural features in a tRNA that identify it as a substrate for the labeling activity. (+info
Overexpression of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase under the control of mouse metallothionein I promoter in transgenic mice: evidence for a striking post-transcriptional regulation of transgene expression by a polyamine analogue.
We recently generated a transgenic mouse line overexpressing spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) gene under its own promoter. The tissue polyamine pools of these animals were profoundly affected and the mice were hairless from early age. We have now generated another transgenic-mouse line overexpressing the SSAT gene under the control of a heavy-metal-inducible mouse metallothionein I (MT) promoter. Even in the absence of heavy metals, changes in the tissue polyamine pools indicated that a marked activation of polyamine catabolism had occurred in the transgenic animals. As with the SSAT transgenic mice generated previously, the mice of the new line (MT-SSAT) suffered permanent hair loss, but this occurred considerably later than in the previous SSAT transgenic animals. Liver was the most affected tissue in the MT-SSAT transgenic animals, revealed by putrescine overaccumulation, significant decrease in spermidine concentration and >90% reduction in the spermine pool. Even though hepatic SSAT mRNA accumulated to massive levels in non-induced transgenic animals, SSAT activity was only moderately elevated. Administration of ZnSO4 further elevated the level of hepatic SSAT message and induced enzyme activity, but not more than 2- to 3-fold. Treatment of the transgenic animals with the polyamine analogue N1,N11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM) resulted in an immense induction, more than 40000-fold, of enzyme activity in the liver of transgenic animals, and minor changes in the SSAT mRNA level. Liver spermidine and spermine pools were virtually depleted within 1-2 days in response to the treatment with the analogue. The treatment also resulted in a marked mortality (up to 60%) among the transgenic animals which showed ultrastructural changes in the liver, most notably mitochondrial swelling, one of the earliest signs of cell injury. These results indicated that, even without its own promoter, SSAT is powerfully induced by the polyamine analogue through a mechanism that appears to involve a direct translational and/or heterogenous nuclear RNA processing control. It is likewise significant that overexpression of SSAT renders the animals extremely sensitive to polyamine analogues. (+info
An RNA switch at the 5' splice site requires ATP and the DEAD box protein Prp28p.
Pre-mRNA splicing requires dramatic RNA rearrangements hypothesized to be catalyzed by ATP-dependent RNA unwindases of the DExD/H box family. In a rearrangement critical for the fidelity of 5' splice site recognition, a base-pairing interaction between the 5' splice site and U1 snRNA must be switched for a mutually exclusive interaction between the 5' splice site and U6 snRNA. By lengthening the U1:5' splice site duplex, we impeded this switch in a temperature-dependent manner and prevented formation of the spliceosome's catalytic core. Using genetics, we identified the DExD/H box protein Prp28p as a potential mediator of the switch. In vitro, the switch requires both Prp28p and ATP. We propose that Prp28p directs isomerization of RNA at the 5' splice site and promotes fidelity in splicing. (+info