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)
Developmental regulation of spliced leader RNA gene in Leishmania donovani amastigotes is mediated by specific polyadenylation.
Leishmania cycles between the insect vector and its mammalian host undergoing several important changes mediated by the stage-specific expression of a number of genes. Using a genomic differential screening approach, we isolated differentially expressed cosmid clones carrying several copies of the mini-exon gene. We report that the spliced leader (SL) RNA, essential for the maturation of all pre-mRNAs by trans-splicing, is developmentally regulated in Leishmania donovani amastigotes and that this regulation is rapidly induced upon parasite growth under acidic conditions. Stage-specific regulation of the SL RNA is associated with the expression of a larger approximately 170-nucleotide transcript that bears an additional 15-nucleotide sequence at its 3'-end and is polyadenylated in contrast to the mature SL RNA. The poly(A)+ SL RNA represents 12-16% of the total SL transcript synthesized in amastigotes and is 2.5-3-fold more stable than the poly(A)- transcript. The poly(A)+ SL transcript is synthesized specifically from one class of the genomic mini-exon copies. Polyadenylation of the SL RNA may control the levels of the SL mature transcript under amastigote growth and may represent an additional step in the gene regulation process during parasite differentiation. (+info)
A series of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)-based hybrid vectors for transient gene expression were constructed with similar designs but differing in the source of heterologous tobamovirus sequence: Odontoglossum ringspot virus, tobacco mild green mosaic virus variants U2 and U5, tomato mosaic virus, and sunn-hemp mosaic virus. These vectors contained a heterologous coat protein subgenomic mRNA promoter and coat protein open reading frame (ORF) and either TMV or heterologous 3' nontranslated region. The foreign ORF, from the jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene, was transcribed from the native TMV coat protein subgenomic mRNA promoter, which extended into the coat protein ORF. The presence of an in-frame stop codon within the GFP mRNA leader and the choice of sequence of GFP ORFs substantially affected translational efficiency. However, the major regulatory component of gene expression in these vectors appeared to be transcriptional rather than translational. There was an inverse relationship between expression of GFP and the heterologous coat protein genes that was reflected in accumulation of the respective mRNAs and proteins. The most effective vector in this series (30B) contained sequences encoding the coat protein subgenomic mRNA promoter, coat protein ORF, and 3' nontranslated region from tobacco mild green mosaic virus U5. Expressed from 30B, GFP accumulated up to 10% of total soluble protein in leaves. (+info)
Complete sequence of enzootic nasal tumor virus, a retrovirus associated with transmissible intranasal tumors of sheep.
The sequence of the complete genome of ovine enzootic nasal tumor virus, an exogenous retrovirus associated exclusively with contagious intranasal tumors of sheep, was determined. The genome is 7,434 nucleotides long and exhibits a genetic organization characteristic of type B and D oncoviruses. Enzootic nasal tumor virus is closely related to the Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus and to sheep endogenous retroviruses. (+info)
Purification of the spliced leader ribonucleoprotein particle from Leptomonas collosoma revealed the existence of an Sm protein in trypanosomes. Cloning the SmE homologue.
Trans-splicing in trypanosomes involves the addition of a common spliced leader (SL) sequence, which is derived from a small RNA, the SL RNA, to all mRNA precursors. The SL RNA is present in the cell in the form of a ribonucleoprotein, the SL RNP. Using conventional chromatography and affinity selection with 2'-O-methylated RNA oligonucleotides at high ionic strength, five proteins of 70, 16, 13, 12, and 8 kDa were co-selected with the SL RNA from Leptomonas collosoma, representing the SL RNP core particle. Under conditions of lower ionic strength, additional proteins of 28 and 20 kDa were revealed. On the basis of peptide sequences, the gene coding for a protein with a predicted molecular weight of 11.9 kDa was cloned and identified as homologue of the cis-spliceosomal SmE. The protein carries the Sm motifs 1 and 2 characteristic of Sm antigens that bind to all known cis-spliceosomal uridylic acid-rich small nuclear RNAs (U snRNAs), suggesting the existence of Sm proteins in trypanosomes. This finding is of special interest because trypanosome snRNPs are the only snRNPs examined to date that are not recognized by anti-Sm antibodies. Because of the early divergence of trypanosomes from the eukaryotic lineage, the trypanosome SmE protein represents one of the primordial Sm proteins in nature. (+info)
The role of intron structures in trans-splicing and cap 4 formation for the Leishmania spliced leader RNA.
A 39-nucleotide leader is trans-spliced onto all trypanosome nuclear mRNAs. The precursor spliced leader RNA was tested for trans-splicing function in vivo by mutating the intron. We report that in Leishmania tarentolae spliced leader RNA 5' modification is influenced by the primary sequence of stem-loop II, the Sm-binding site, and the secondary structure of stem-loop III. The sequence of stem-loop II was found to be important for cap 4 formation and splicing. As in Ascaris, mutagenesis of the bulge nucleotide in stem-loop II was detrimental to trans-splicing. Because restoration of the L. tarentolae stem-loop II structure was not sufficient to restore splicing, this result contrasts the findings in the kinetoplastid Leptomonas, where mutations that restored stem-loop II structure supported splicing. Methylation of the cap 4 structure and splicing was also dependent on both the Sm-binding site and the structure of stem-loop III and was inhibited by incomplete 3' end processing. The critical nature of the L. tarentolae Sm-binding site is consistent with its essential role in the Ascaris spliced leader RNA, whereas in Leptomonas mutation of the Sm-binding site and deletion of stem-loop III did not affect trans-splicing. A pathway for Leishmania spliced leader RNA processing and maturation is proposed. (+info)
Spliced leader-associated RNA from Crithidia fasciculata contains a structure resembling stem/loop II of U1 snRNA.
In contrast to earlier proposals, recent evidence suggests that trans-spliceosomes in trypanosomatid protozoa may contain a homolog of U1 small nuclear (sn) RNA (Schnare, M.N. and Gray, M.W. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274, 23,691-23,694). However, the candidate trypanosomatid U1 snRNA is unconventional because it lacks the highly conserved stem/loop II present in all other U1 snRNAs. Trypanosomatids also possess a unique spliced leader-associated (SLA) RNA of unknown function. We present the complete sequence of the SLA RNA from Crithidia fasciculata and propose that it may contribute a U1 snRNA-like stem/loop II to the trans-spliceosome. (+info)
Transcription initiation at the TATA-less spliced leader RNA gene promoter requires at least two DNA-binding proteins and a tripartite architecture that includes an initiator element.
Eukaryotic transcriptional regulatory signals, defined as core and activator promoter elements, have yet to be identified in the earliest diverging group of eukaryotes, the primitive protozoans, which include the Trypanosomatidae family of parasites. The divergence within this family is highlighted by the apparent absence of the "universal" transcription factor TATA-binding protein. To understand gene expression in these protists, we have investigated spliced leader RNA gene transcription. The RNA product of this gene provides an m(7)G cap and a 39-nucleotide leader sequence to all cellular mRNAs via a trans-splicing reaction. Regulation of spliced leader RNA synthesis is controlled by a tripartite promoter located exclusively upstream from the transcription start site. Proteins PBP-1 and PBP-2 bind to two of the three promoter elements in the trypanosomatid Leptomonas seymouri. They represent the first trypanosome transcription factors with typical double-stranded DNA binding site recognition. These proteins ensure efficient transcription. However, accurate initiation is determined an initiator element with a a loose consensus of CYAC/AYR (+1), which differs from that found in metazoan initiator elements as well as from that identified in one of the earliest diverging protozoans, Trichomonas vaginalis. Trypanosomes may utilize initiator element-protein interactions, and not TATA sequence-TATA-binding protein interactions, to direct proper transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II. (+info)