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Sample records for synthetic splicing ribozymes

  1. Trans-splicing with the group I intron ribozyme from Azoarcus

    PubMed Central

    Dolan, Gregory F.; Müller, Ulrich F.

    2014-01-01

    Group I introns are ribozymes (catalytic RNAs) that excise themselves from RNA primary transcripts by catalyzing two successive transesterification reactions. These cis-splicing ribozymes can be converted into trans-splicing ribozymes, which can modify the sequence of a separate substrate RNA, both in vitro and in vivo. Previous work on trans-splicing ribozymes has mostly focused on the 16S rRNA group I intron ribozyme from Tetrahymena thermophila. Here, we test the trans-splicing potential of the tRNAIle group I intron ribozyme from the bacterium Azoarcus. This ribozyme is only half the size of the Tetrahymena ribozyme and folds faster into its active conformation in vitro. Our results showed that in vitro, the Azoarcus and Tetrahymena ribozymes favored the same set of splice sites on a substrate RNA. Both ribozymes showed the same trans-splicing efficiency when containing their individually optimized 5′ terminus. In contrast to the previously optimized 5′-terminal design of the Tetrahymena ribozyme, the Azoarcus ribozyme was most efficient with a trans-splicing design that resembled the secondary structure context of the natural cis-splicing Azoarcus ribozyme, which includes base-pairing between the substrate 5′ portion and the ribozyme 3′ exon. These results suggested preferred trans-splicing interactions for the Azoarcus ribozyme under near-physiological in vitro conditions. Despite the high activity in vitro, however, the splicing efficiency of the Azoarcus ribozyme in Escherichia coli cells was significantly below that of the Tetrahymena ribozyme. PMID:24344321

  2. RNA-based networks: using RNA aptamers and ribozymes as synthetic genetic devices.

    PubMed

    Weigand, Julia E; Wittmann, Alexander; Suess, Beatrix

    2012-01-01

    Within the last few years, a set of synthetic riboswitches has been engineered, which expands the toolbox of genetic regulatory devices. Small molecule binding aptamers have been used for the design of such riboswitches by insertion into untranslated regions of mRNAs, exploiting the fact that upon ligand binding the RNA structure interferes either with translation initiation or pre-mRNA splicing in yeast. In combination with self-cleaving ribozymes, aptamers have been used to modulate RNA stability. In this chapter, we discuss the applicability of different aptamers, ways to identify novel genetic devices, the pros and cons of various insertion sites and the application of allosteric ribozymes. Our expertise help to apply synthetic riboswitches to engineer complex genetic circuits. PMID:22083741

  3. Kinetic characterization of the first step of the ribozyme-catalyzed trans excision-splicing reaction.

    PubMed

    Dotson, P Patrick; Sinha, Joy; Testa, Stephen M

    2008-06-01

    Group I introns catalyze the self-splicing reaction, and their derived ribozymes are frequently used as model systems for the study of RNA folding and catalysis, as well as for the development of non-native catalytic reactions. Utilizing a group I intron-derived ribozyme from Pneumocystis carinii, we previously reported a non-native reaction termed trans excision-splicing (TES). In this reaction, an internal segment of RNA is excised from an RNA substrate, resulting in the covalent reattachment of the flanking regions. TES proceeds through two consecutive phosphotransesterification reactions, which are similar to the reaction steps of self-splicing. One key difference is that TES utilizes the 3'-terminal guanosine of the ribozyme as the first-step nucleophile, whereas self-splicing utilizes an exogenous guanosine. To further aid in our understanding of ribozyme reactions, a kinetic framework for the first reaction step (substrate cleavage) was established. The results demonstrate that the substrate binds to the ribozyme at a rate expected for simple helix formation. In addition, the rate constant for the first step of the TES reaction is more than one order of magnitude lower than the analogous step in self-splicing. Results also suggest that a conformational change, likely similar to that in self-splicing, exists between the two reaction steps of TES. Finally, multiple turnover is curtailed because dissociation of the cleavage product is slower than the rate of chemistry. PMID:18479464

  4. Synthetic shuffling and in vitro selection reveal the rugged adaptive fitness landscape of a kinase ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Curtis, Edward A.; Bartel, David P.

    2013-01-01

    The relationship between genotype and phenotype is often described as an adaptive fitness landscape. In this study, we used a combination of recombination, in vitro selection, and comparative sequence analysis to characterize the fitness landscape of a previously isolated kinase ribozyme. Point mutations present in improved variants of this ribozyme were recombined in vitro in more than 1014 different arrangements using synthetic shuffling, and active variants were isolated by in vitro selection. Mutual information analysis of 65 recombinant ribozymes isolated in the selection revealed a rugged fitness landscape in which approximately one-third of the 91 pairs of positions analyzed showed evidence of correlation. Pairs of correlated positions overlapped to form densely connected networks, and groups of maximally connected nucleotides occurred significantly more often in these networks than they did in randomized control networks with the same number of links. The activity of the most efficient recombinant ribozyme isolated from the synthetically shuffled pool was 30-fold greater than that of any of the ribozymes used to build it, which indicates that synthetic shuffling can be a rich source of ribozyme variants with improved properties. PMID:23798664

  5. Activating the branch-forming splicing pathway by reengineering the ribozyme component of a natural group II intron.

    PubMed

    Monachello, Dario; Michel, François; Costa, Maria

    2016-03-01

    When assayed in vitro, group IIC self-splicing introns, which target bacterial Rho-independent transcription terminators, generally fail to yield branched products during splicing despite their possessing a seemingly normal branchpoint. Starting with intron O.i.I1 from Oceanobacillus iheyensis, whose crystallographically determined structure lacks branchpoint-containing domain VI, we attempted to determine what makes this intron unfit for in vitro branch formation. A major factor was found to be the length of the helix at the base of domain VI: 4 base pairs (bp) are required for efficient branching, even though a majority of group IIC introns have a 3-bp helix. Equally important for lariat formation is the removal of interactions between ribozyme domains II and VI, which are specific to the second step of splicing. Conversely, mismatching of domain VI and its proposed first-step receptor in subdomain IC1 was found to be detrimental; these data suggest that the intron-encoded protein may promote branch formation partly by modulating the equilibrium between conformations specific to the first and second steps of splicing. As a practical application, we show that by making just two changes to the O.i.I1 ribozyme, it is possible to generate sufficient amounts of lariat intron for the latter to be purified and used in kinetic assays in which folding and reaction are uncoupled. PMID:26769855

  6. Who Activates the Nucleophile in Ribozyme Catalysis? An Answer from the Splicing Mechanism of Group II Introns.

    PubMed

    Casalino, Lorenzo; Palermo, Giulia; Rothlisberger, Ursula; Magistrato, Alessandra

    2016-08-24

    Group II introns are Mg(2+)-dependent ribozymes that are considered to be the evolutionary ancestors of the eukaryotic spliceosome, thus representing an ideal model system to understand the mechanism of conversion of premature messenger RNA (mRNA) into mature mRNA. Neither in splicing nor for self-cleaving ribozymes has the role of the two Mg(2+) ions been established, and even the way the nucleophile is activated is still controversial. Here we employed hybrid quantum-classical QM(Car-Parrinello)/MM molecular dynamics simulations in combination with thermodynamic integration to characterize the molecular mechanism of the first and rate-determining step of the splicing process (i.e., the cleavage of the 5'-exon) catalyzed by group II intron ribozymes. Remarkably, our results show a new RNA-specific dissociative mechanism in which the bulk water accepts the nucleophile's proton during its attack on the scissile phosphate. The process occurs in a single step with no Mg(2+) ion activating the nucleophile, at odds with nucleases enzymes. We suggest that the novel reaction path elucidated here might be an evolutionary ancestor of the more efficient two-metal-ion mechanism found in enzymes. PMID:27309711

  7. Mechanistic investigations of a ribozyme derived from the Tetrahymena group I intron: insights into catalysis and the second step of self-splicing.

    PubMed

    Mei, R; Herschlag, D

    1996-05-01

    Self-splicing of Tetrahymena pre-rRNA proceeds in two consecutive phosphoryl transesterification steps. One major difference between these steps is that in the first an exogenous guanosine (G) binds to the active site, while in the second the 3'-terminal G414 residue of the intron binds. The first step has been extensively characterized in studies of the L-21ScaI ribozyme, which uses exogenous G as a nucleophile. In this study, mechanistic features involved in the second step are investigated by using the L-21G414 ribozyme. The L-21G414 reaction has been studied in both directions, with G414 acting as a leaving group in the second step and a nucleophile in its reverse. The rate constant of chemical step is the same with exogenous G bound to the L-21ScaI ribozyme and with the intramolecular guanosine residue of the L-21G414 ribozyme. The result supports the previously proposed single G-binding site model and further suggests that the orientation of the bound G and the overall active site structure is the same in both steps of the splicing reaction. An evolutionary rationale for the use of exogenous G in the first step is also presented. The results suggest that the L-21G414 ribozyme exists predominantly with the 3'-terminal G414 docked into the G-binding site. This docking is destabilized by approximately 100-fold when G414 is attached to an electron-withdrawing pA group. The internal equilibrium with K(int) = 0.7 for the ribozyme reaction indicates that bound substrate and product are thermodynamically matched and is consistent with a degree of symmetry within the active site. These observations are consistent with the presence of a second Mg ion in the active site. Finally, the slow dissociation of a 5' exon analog relative to a ligated exon analog from the L-21G414 ribozyme suggests a kinetic mechanism for ensuring efficient ligation of exons and raises new questions about the overall self-splicing reaction. PMID:8639540

  8. Ribozyme-based insulator parts buffer synthetic circuits from genetic context

    PubMed Central

    Lou, Chunbo; Stanton, Brynne; Chen, Ying-Ja; Munsky, Brian; Voigt, Christopher A

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic genetic programs are built from circuits that integrate sensors and implement temporal control of gene expression1–4. Transcriptional circuits are layered by using promoters to carry the signal between circuits. In other words, the output promoter of one circuit serves as the input promoter to the next. Thus, connecting circuits requires physically connecting a promoter to the next circuit. We show that the sequence at the junction between the input promoter and circuit can affect the input-output response (transfer function) of the circuit5–9. A library of putative sequences that might reduce (or buffer) such context effects, which we refer to as ‘insulator parts’, is screened in Escherichia coli. We find that ribozymes that cleave the 5′ untranslated region (5′-UTR) of the mRNA are effective insulators. They generate quantitatively identical transfer functions, irrespective of the identity of the input promoter. When these insulators are used to join synthetic gene circuits, the behavior of layered circuits can be predicted using a mathematical model. The inclusion of insulators will be critical in reliably permuting circuits to build different programs. PMID:23034349

  9. Tecto-GIRz: Engineered Group I Ribozyme the Catalytic Ability of Which Can Be Controlled by Self-Dimerization.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, Takahiro; Matsumura, Shigeyoshi; Furuta, Hiroyuki; Ikawa, Yoshiya

    2016-08-01

    RNA is a promising biomaterial for self-assembly of nano-sized structures with a wide range of applications in nanotechnology and synthetic biology. Several RNA-based nanostructures have been reported, but most are unrelated to intracellular RNA, which possesses modular structures that are sufficiently large and complex to serve as catalysts to promote sophisticated chemical reactions. In this study, we designed dimeric RNA structures based on the Tetrahymena group I ribozyme. The resulting dimeric RNAs (tecto group I ribozyme; tecto-GIRz) exhibit catalytic ability that depended on controlled dimerization, by which a pair of ribozymes can be activated to perform cleavage and splicing reactions of two distinct substrates. Modular redesign of complex RNA structures affords large ribozymes for use as modules in RNA nanotechnology and RNA synthetic biology. PMID:27247120

  10. Hammerhead ribozyme cleavage of hamster prion pre-mRNA in complex cell-free model systems.

    PubMed

    Denman, R B; Purow, B; Rubenstein, R; Miller, D L

    1992-07-31

    The cleavage properties of a trans-acting hammerhead ribozyme targeted 51 bases upstream of the putative splicing branch point in the hamster prion pre-mRNA intron were investigated in cell-free model systems in vitro. The specificity of cleavage was demonstrated by the inability of this ribozyme to cleave a non-homologous synthetic message encoding part of the beta amyloid peptide precursor, beta APP, and by the inability of the prion pre-mRNA to be cleaved by a ribozyme targeted to beta amyloid peptide precursor mRNA. Also, the addition of total RNA isolated from rat brain had only a minimal effect on the cleavage of the prion substrate pre-mRNA by the ribozyme. Finally neither the presence of 100 ng of nuclear or cytoplasmic proteins were found to affect the rate of cleavage in vitro. PMID:1379801

  11. Spliced synthetic genes as internal controls in RNA sequencing experiments.

    PubMed

    Hardwick, Simon A; Chen, Wendy Y; Wong, Ted; Deveson, Ira W; Blackburn, James; Andersen, Stacey B; Nielsen, Lars K; Mattick, John S; Mercer, Tim R

    2016-09-01

    RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) can be used to assemble spliced isoforms, quantify expressed genes and provide a global profile of the transcriptome. However, the size and diversity of the transcriptome, the wide dynamic range in gene expression and inherent technical biases confound RNA-seq analysis. We have developed a set of spike-in RNA standards, termed 'sequins' (sequencing spike-ins), that represent full-length spliced mRNA isoforms. Sequins have an entirely artificial sequence with no homology to natural reference genomes, but they align to gene loci encoded on an artificial in silico chromosome. The combination of multiple sequins across a range of concentrations emulates alternative splicing and differential gene expression, and it provides scaling factors for normalization between samples. We demonstrate the use of sequins in RNA-seq experiments to measure sample-specific biases and determine the limits of reliable transcript assembly and quantification in accompanying human RNA samples. In addition, we have designed a complementary set of sequins that represent fusion genes arising from rearrangements of the in silico chromosome to aid in cancer diagnosis. RNA sequins provide a qualitative and quantitative reference with which to navigate the complexity of the human transcriptome. PMID:27502218

  12. Molecular characterization of a new member of the lariat capping twin-ribozyme introns

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Twin-ribozyme introns represent a complex class of mobile group I introns that harbour a lariat capping (LC) ribozyme and a homing endonuclease gene embedded in a conventional self-splicing group I ribozyme (GIR2). Twin-ribozyme introns have so far been confined to nucleolar DNA in Naegleria amoeboflagellates and the myxomycete Didymium iridis. Results We characterize structural organization, catalytic properties and molecular evolution of a new twin-ribozyme intron in Allovahlkampfia (Heterolobosea). The intron contains two ribozyme domains with different functions in ribosomal RNA splicing and homing endonuclease mRNA maturation. We found Allovahlkampfia GIR2 to be a typical group IC1 splicing ribozyme responsible for addition of the exogenous guanosine cofactor (exoG), exon ligation and circularization of intron RNA. The Allovahlkampfia LC ribozyme, by contrast, represents an efficient self-cleaving ribozyme that generates a small 2′,5′ lariat cap at the 5′ end of the homing endonuclease mRNA, and thus contributes to intron mobility. Conclusions The discovery of a twin-ribozyme intron in a member of Heterolobosea expands the distribution pattern of LC ribozymes. We identify a putative regulatory RNA element (AP2.1) in the Allovahlkampfia LC ribozyme that involves homing endonuclease mRNA coding sequences as an important structural component. PMID:25342998

  13. Hammerhead ribozymes going viral.

    PubMed

    Hammann, Christian

    2016-01-01

    An association between hammerhead ribozymes and non-autonomous, long terminal repeat retrotransposons is uncovered in plants, shedding light on the biological function of genomically encoded ribozymes. PMID:27339278

  14. Molecular modelling of the GIR1 branching ribozyme gives new insight into evolution of structurally related ribozymes

    PubMed Central

    Beckert, Bertrand; Nielsen, Henrik; Einvik, Christer; Johansen, Steinar D; Westhof, Eric; Masquida, Benoît

    2008-01-01

    Twin-ribozyme introns contain a branching ribozyme (GIR1) followed by a homing endonuclease (HE) encoding sequence embedded in a peripheral domain of a group I splicing ribozyme (GIR2). GIR1 catalyses the formation of a lariat with 3 nt in the loop, which caps the HE mRNA. GIR1 is structurally related to group I ribozymes raising the question about how two closely related ribozymes can carry out very different reactions. Modelling of GIR1 based on new biochemical and mutational data shows an extended substrate domain containing a GoU pair distinct from the nucleophilic residue that dock onto a catalytic core showing a different topology from that of group I ribozymes. The differences include a core J8/7 region that has been reduced and is complemented by residues from the pre-lariat fold. These findings provide the basis for an evolutionary mechanism that accounts for the change from group I splicing ribozyme to the branching GIR1 architecture. Such an evolutionary mechanism can be applied to other large RNAs such as the ribonuclease P. PMID:18219270

  15. Identification of the nucleotides in the A-rich bulge of the Tetrahymena ribozyme responsible for an efficient self-splicing reaction.

    PubMed

    Ikawa, Y; Okada, A; Imahori, H; Shiraishi, H; Inoue, T

    1997-10-01

    P5abc is a large extension of the P5 element characteristic of subclasses IC1 and IC2 of group I introns. It has a conserved region termed the A-rich bulge, that is responsible for activation of the Tetrahymena self-splicing intron. By employing a modified color-colony assay system, we identified four adenosines in the bulge that are responsible for an efficient splicing reaction. On comparison with the X-ray crystal structure of the P4-5-6 domains of the Tetrahymena intron, three adenosines at positions 183, 184, and 186 were found to be identical to those significantly contributing to the formation of its tertiary structure. However, our results show that an adenosine at 187 is involved in the formation of a Watson-Crick base pair with U135, although it forms a Hoogsteen base pair in the crystal structure. PMID:9399595

  16. A versatile cis-blocking and trans-activation strategy for ribozyme characterization

    PubMed Central

    Kennedy, Andrew B.; Liang, Joe C.; Smolke, Christina D.

    2013-01-01

    Synthetic RNA control devices that use ribozymes as gene-regulatory components have been applied to controlling cellular behaviors in response to environmental signals. Quantitative measurement of the in vitro cleavage rate constants associated with ribozyme-based devices is essential for advancing the molecular design and optimization of this class of gene-regulatory devices. One of the key challenges encountered in ribozyme characterization is the efficient generation of full-length RNA from in vitro transcription reactions, where conditions generally lead to significant ribozyme cleavage. Current methods for generating full-length ribozyme-encoding RNA rely on a trans-blocking strategy, which requires a laborious gel separation and extraction step. Here, we develop a simple two-step gel-free process including cis-blocking and trans-activation steps to support scalable generation of functional full-length ribozyme-encoding RNA. We demonstrate our strategy on various types of natural ribozymes and synthetic ribozyme devices, and the cleavage rate constants obtained for the RNA generated from our strategy are comparable with those generated through traditional methods. We further develop a rapid, label-free ribozyme cleavage assay based on surface plasmon resonance, which allows continuous, real-time monitoring of ribozyme cleavage. The surface plasmon resonance-based characterization assay will complement the versatile cis-blocking and trans-activation strategy to broadly advance our ability to characterize and engineer ribozyme-based devices. PMID:23155065

  17. Ribozyme-Spherical Nucleic Acids.

    PubMed

    Rouge, Jessica L; Sita, Timothy L; Hao, Liangliang; Kouri, Fotini M; Briley, William E; Stegh, Alexander H; Mirkin, Chad A

    2015-08-26

    Ribozymes are highly structured RNA sequences that can be tailored to recognize and cleave specific stretches of mRNA. Their current therapeutic efficacy remains low due to their large size and structural instability compared to shorter therapeutically relevant RNA such as small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA). Herein, a synthetic strategy that makes use of the spherical nucleic acid (SNA) architecture to stabilize ribozymes and transfect them into live cells is reported. The properties of this novel ribozyme-SNA are characterized in the context of the targeted knockdown of O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), a DNA repair protein involved in chemotherapeutic resistance of solid tumors, foremost glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Data showing the direct cleavage of full-length MGMT mRNA, knockdown of MGMT protein, and increased sensitization of GBM cells to therapy-mediated apoptosis, independent of transfection agents, provide compelling evidence for the promising properties of this new chemical architecture. PMID:26271335

  18. Ribozyme-Spherical Nucleic Acids

    PubMed Central

    Hao, Liangliang; Kouri, Fotini M.; Briley, William E.; Stegh, Alexander H.; Mirkin, Chad A.

    2015-01-01

    Ribozymes are highly structured RNA sequences that can be tailored to recognize and cleave specific stretches of mRNA. Their current therapeutic efficacy remains low due to their large size and structural instability compared to shorter therapeutically relevant RNA such as small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA). Herein, a synthetic strategy that makes use of the spherical nucleic acid (SNA) architecture to stabilize ribozymes and transfect them into live cells is reported. The properties of this novel ribozyme SNA are characterized in the context of the targeted knockdown of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), a DNA repair protein involved in chemotherapeutic resistance of solid tumors, foremost glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Data showing the direct cleavage of full-length MGMT mRNA, knockdown of MGMT protein, and increased sensitization of GBM cells to therapy-mediated apoptosis, independent of transfection agents, provide compelling evidence for the promising properties of this new chemical architecture. PMID:26271335

  19. High-throughput assay and engineering of self-cleaving ribozymes by sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Kobori, Shungo; Nomura, Yoko; Miu, Anh; Yokobayashi, Yohei

    2015-01-01

    Self-cleaving ribozymes are found in all domains of life and are believed to play important roles in biology. Additionally, self-cleaving ribozymes have been the subject of extensive engineering efforts for applications in synthetic biology. These studies often involve laborious assays of multiple individual variants that are either designed rationally or discovered through selection or screening. However, these assays provide only a limited view of the large sequence space relevant to the ribozyme function. Here, we report a strategy that allows quantitative characterization of greater than 1000 ribozyme variants in a single experiment. We generated a library of predefined ribozyme variants that were converted to DNA and analyzed by high-throughput sequencing. By counting the number of cleaved and uncleaved reads of every variant in the library, we obtained a complete activity profile of the ribozyme pool which was used to both analyze and engineer allosteric ribozymes. PMID:25829176

  20. The unforeseeable hammerhead ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Hammann, Christian

    2009-01-01

    Despite its small size, the complex behavior of the hammerhead ribozyme keeps surprising us, even more than 20 years after its discovery. Here, we summarize recent developments in the field, in particular the discovery of the first split hammerhead ribozyme. PMID:20948624

  1. A complex ligase ribozyme evolved in vitro from a group I ribozyme domain

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaeger, L.; Wright, M. C.; Joyce, G. F.; Bada, J. L. (Principal Investigator)

    1999-01-01

    Like most proteins, complex RNA molecules often are modular objects made up of distinct structural and functional domains. The component domains of a protein can associate in alternative combinations to form molecules with different functions. These observations raise the possibility that complex RNAs also can be assembled from preexisting structural and functional domains. To test this hypothesis, an in vitro evolution procedure was used to isolate a previously undescribed class of complex ligase ribozymes, starting from a pool of 10(16) different RNA molecules that contained a constant region derived from a large structural domain that occurs within self-splicing group I ribozymes. Attached to this constant region were three hypervariable regions, totaling 85 nucleotides, that gave rise to the catalytic motif within the evolved catalysts. The ligase ribozymes catalyze formation of a 3',5'-phosphodiester linkage between adjacent template-bound oligonucleotides, one bearing a 3' hydroxyl and the other a 5' triphosphate. Ligation occurs in the context of a Watson-Crick duplex, with a catalytic rate of 0.26 min(-1) under optimal conditions. The constant region is essential for catalytic activity and appears to retain the tertiary structure of the group I ribozyme. This work demonstrates that complex RNA molecules, like their protein counterparts, can share common structural domains while exhibiting distinct catalytic functions.

  2. A Faster Triphosphorylation Ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Dolan, Gregory F.; Akoopie, Arvin; Müller, Ulrich F.

    2015-01-01

    In support of the RNA world hypothesis, previous studies identified trimetaphosphate (Tmp) as a plausible energy source for RNA world organisms. In one of these studies, catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) that catalyze the triphosphorylation of RNA 5'-hydroxyl groups using Tmp were obtained by in vitro selection. One ribozyme (TPR1) was analyzed in more detail. TPR1 catalyzes the triphosphorylation reaction to a rate of 0.013 min-1 under selection conditions (50 mM Tmp, 100 mM MgCl2, 22°C). To identify a triphosphorylation ribozyme that catalyzes faster triphosphorylation, and possibly learn about its secondary structure TPR1 was subjected to a doped selection. The resulting ribozyme, TPR1e, contains seven mutations relative to TPR1, displays a previously unidentified duplex that constrains the ribozyme's structure, and reacts at a 24-fold faster rate than the parent ribozyme. Under optimal conditions (150 mM Tmp, 650 mM MgCl2, 40°C), the triphosphorylation rate of TRP1e reaches 6.8 min-1. PMID:26545116

  3. A kinetic and thermodynamic framework for the Azoarcus group I ribozyme reaction

    PubMed Central

    Gleitsman, Kristin R.

    2014-01-01

    Determination of quantitative thermodynamic and kinetic frameworks for ribozymes derived from the Azoarcus group I intron and comparisons to their well-studied analogs from the Tetrahymena group I intron reveal similarities and differences between these RNAs. The guanosine (G) substrate binds to the Azoarcus and Tetrahymena ribozymes with similar equilibrium binding constants and similar very slow association rate constants. These and additional literature observations support a model in which the free ribozyme is not conformationally competent to bind G and in which the probability of assuming the binding-competent state is determined by tertiary interactions of peripheral elements. As proposed previously, the slow binding of guanosine may play a role in the specificity of group I intron self-splicing, and slow binding may be used analogously in other biological processes. The internal equilibrium between ribozyme-bound substrates and products is similar for these ribozymes, but the Azoarcus ribozyme does not display the coupling in the binding of substrates that is observed with the Tetrahymena ribozyme, suggesting that local preorganization of the active site and rearrangements within the active site upon substrate binding are different for these ribozymes. Our results also confirm the much greater tertiary binding energy of the 5′-splice site analog with the Azoarcus ribozyme, binding energy that presumably compensates for the fewer base-pairing interactions to allow the 5′-exon intermediate in self splicing to remain bound subsequent to 5′-exon cleavage and prior to exon ligation. Most generally, these frameworks provide a foundation for design and interpretation of experiments investigating fundamental properties of these and other structured RNAs. PMID:25246656

  4. Optimization of hammerhead ribozymes for the cleavage of S100A4 (CAPL) mRNA.

    PubMed

    Hovig, E; Maelandsmo, G; Mellingsaeter, T; Fodstad, O; Mielewczyk, S S; Wolfe, J; Goodchild, J

    2001-04-01

    Previously, suppression of the S100A4 mRNA by an endogenously expressed ribozyme in osteosarcoma cells was shown to inhibit their metastasis in rats. As a prelude to performing similar studies with exogenous, synthetic ribozymes, we compared a series of hammerhead ribozymes targeted against different sites in the mRNA. The ribozymes differed only in the 7-base flanking sequences complementary to the substrate and were protected against nucleases by chemical modification. Cleavage efficiency varied widely and was not obviously related to the predicted secondary structure of the target RNA. The most active ribozyme of the series was chosen for further optimization. Lengthening its flanking sequences was counterproductive and reduced cleavage even when using excess ribozyme. Using excess substrate (multiple-turnover kinetics), cleavage was fastest with the (6+8) ribozyme having 6 nucleotides (nt) in stem III and 8 nt in stem I. Although these stems strongly influence ribozyme performance, their optimization is still empirical. Faster cleavage was obtained by adding facilitator oligonucleotides to ribozymes with shorter stems of (6+6) and (5+5) nt. Stimulation was particularly strong in the case of the (5+5) ribozyme, which was poorly active by itself. The enhancement caused by different facilitator oligonucleotides paralleled their expected ability to hybridize to RNA as a function of length and chemical modification. PMID:11334142

  5. The ubiquitous hammerhead ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Hammann, Christian; Luptak, Andrej; Perreault, Jonathan; de la Peña, Marcos

    2012-01-01

    The hammerhead ribozyme is a small catalytic RNA motif capable of endonucleolytic (self-) cleavage. It is composed of a catalytic core of conserved nucleotides flanked by three helices, two of which form essential tertiary interactions for fast self-scission under physiological conditions. Originally discovered in subviral plant pathogens, its presence in several eukaryotic genomes has been reported since. More recently, this catalytic RNA motif has been shown to reside in a large number of genomes. We review the different approaches in discovering these new hammerhead ribozyme sequences and discuss possible biological functions of the genomic motifs. PMID:22454536

  6. Group I Ribozymes as a Paradigm for RNA Folding and Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodson, Sarah A.; Chauhan, Seema

    Group I ribozymes are an ancient class of RNA catalysts that serve as a paradigm for the self-assembly of complex structures of non-coding RNA. The diversity of subtypes illustrates the modular character of RNA architecture and the potential for the evolution of new functions. The folding mechanisms of group I ribozymes illustrate the hierarchy of folding transitions and the importance of kinetic partitioning among competing folding pathways. Studies on group I splicing factors demonstrate how proteins facilitate the assembly of splicing complexes by stabilizing tertiary interactions between domains and by ATP-dependent cycles of RNA unfolding.

  7. Synthetic oligonucleotides recruit ILF2/3 to RNA transcripts to modulate splicing

    PubMed Central

    Rigo, Frank; Hua, Yimin; Chun, Seung J; Prakash, Thazha P; Krainer, Adrian R; Bennett, C Frank

    2016-01-01

    We describe a new technology for recruiting specific proteins to RNA through selective recognition of heteroduplexes formed with chemically modified antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Typically, ASOs function by hybridizing to their RNA targets and blocking the binding of single-stranded RNA–binding proteins. Unexpectedly, we found that ASOs with 2′-deoxy-2′-fluoro (2′-F) nucleotides, but not with other 2′ chemical modifications, have an additional property: they form heteroduplexes with RNA that are specifically recognized by the interleukin enhancer-binding factor 2 and 3 complex (ILF2/3). 2′-F ASO–directed recruitment of ILF2/3 to RNA can be harnessed to control gene expression by modulating alternative splicing of target transcripts. ILF2/3 recruitment to precursor mRNA near an exon results in omission of the exon from the mature mRNA, both in cell culture and in mice. We discuss the possibility of using chemically engineered ASOs that recruit specific proteins to modulate gene expression for therapeutic intervention. PMID:22504300

  8. Synthetic oligonucleotides recruit ILF2/3 to RNA transcripts to modulate splicing.

    PubMed

    Rigo, Frank; Hua, Yimin; Chun, Seung J; Prakash, Thazha P; Krainer, Adrian R; Bennett, C Frank

    2012-06-01

    We describe a new technology for recruiting specific proteins to RNA through selective recognition of heteroduplexes formed with chemically modified antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Typically, ASOs function by hybridizing to their RNA targets and blocking the binding of single-stranded RNA-binding proteins. Unexpectedly, we found that ASOs with 2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro (2'-F) nucleotides, but not with other 2' chemical modifications, have an additional property: they form heteroduplexes with RNA that are specifically recognized by the interleukin enhancer-binding factor 2 and 3 complex (ILF2/3). 2'-F ASO-directed recruitment of ILF2/3 to RNA can be harnessed to control gene expression by modulating alternative splicing of target transcripts. ILF2/3 recruitment to precursor mRNA near an exon results in omission of the exon from the mature mRNA, both in cell culture and in mice. We discuss the possibility of using chemically engineered ASOs that recruit specific proteins to modulate gene expression for therapeutic intervention. PMID:22504300

  9. A ribozyme selected from variants of U6 snRNA promotes 2',5'-branch formation.

    PubMed Central

    Tuschl, T; Sharp, P A; Bartel, D P

    2001-01-01

    In vitro selection was used to sample SnRNA-related sequences for ribozyme activities, and several 2',5'-branch-forming ribozymes were isolated. One such ribozyme is highly dependent upon an 11-nt motif that contains a conserved U6 snRNA sequence (ACAGAGA-box) known to be important for pre-mRNA splicing. The ribozyme reaction is similar to the first step of splicing in that an internal 2'-hydroxyl of an unpaired adenosine attacks at the 5'-phosphate of a guanosine. It differs in that the leaving group is diphosphate rather than a 5' exon. The finding that lariat formation can be accomplished by a small RNA with sequences related to U6 snRNA indicates that the RNA available in the spliceosome may be involved in RNA-catalyzed branch formation. PMID:11214178

  10. In vivo screening of ligand-dependent hammerhead ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Saragliadis, Athanasios; Klauser, Benedikt; Hartig, Jörg S

    2012-01-01

    The development of artificial switches of gene expression is of high importance for future applications in biotechnology and synthetic biology. We have developed a powerful RNA-based system which allows for the ligand-dependent and reprogrammable control of gene expression in Escherichia coli. Our system makes use of the hammerhead ribozyme (HHR) which acts as molecular scaffold for the sequestration of the ribosome binding site (RBS), mimicking expression platforms in naturally occurring riboswitches. Aptamer domains can be attached to the ribozyme as exchangeable ligand-sensing modules. Addition of ligands to the bacterial growth medium changes the activity of the ligand-dependent self-cleaving ribozyme which in turn switches gene expression. In this chapter, we describe the in vivo screening procedure allowing for reprogramming the ligand-specificity of our system. PMID:22315086

  11. Complete RNA inverse folding: computational design of functional hammerhead ribozymes

    PubMed Central

    Dotu, Ivan; Garcia-Martin, Juan Antonio; Slinger, Betty L.; Mechery, Vinodh; Meyer, Michelle M.; Clote, Peter

    2014-01-01

    Nanotechnology and synthetic biology currently constitute one of the most innovative, interdisciplinary fields of research, poised to radically transform society in the 21st century. This paper concerns the synthetic design of ribonucleic acid molecules, using our recent algorithm, RNAiFold, which can determine all RNA sequences whose minimum free energy secondary structure is a user-specified target structure. Using RNAiFold, we design ten cis-cleaving hammerhead ribozymes, all of which are shown to be functional by a cleavage assay. We additionally use RNAiFold to design a functional cis-cleaving hammerhead as a modular unit of a synthetic larger RNA. Analysis of kinetics on this small set of hammerheads suggests that cleavage rate of computationally designed ribozymes may be correlated with positional entropy, ensemble defect, structural flexibility/rigidity and related measures. Artificial ribozymes have been designed in the past either manually or by SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment); however, this appears to be the first purely computational design and experimental validation of novel functional ribozymes. RNAiFold is available at http://bioinformatics.bc.edu/clotelab/RNAiFold/. PMID:25209235

  12. Ribozyme cleaves rex/tax mRNA and inhibits bovine leukemia virus expression.

    PubMed Central

    Cantor, G H; McElwain, T F; Birkebak, T A; Palmer, G H

    1993-01-01

    Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) encodes at least two regulatory proteins, Rex and Tax. Tax, the transactivating protein, stimulates the long terminal repeat to promote viral transcription and may be involved in tumorigenesis. Rex is involved in the transition from early expression of regulatory proteins to later expression of viral structural proteins. We have targeted ribozymes against the mRNA encoding Rex and Tax. The ribozymes consist of the hammer-head catalytic motif flanked by antisense sequences that hybridize with the complementary rex/tax mRNA. To evaluate cleavage in a cell-free system, we transcribed portions of rex/tax mRNA and incubated them with synthetic RNA ribozymes. A ribozyme was identified that cleaves > 80% of the target RNA. Synthetic DNA encoding this ribozyme was cloned into the expression vector pRc/RSV and transfected into BLV-infected bat lung cells. Intracellular cleavage of rex/tax mRNA was confirmed by reverse transcriptase PCR. In cells expressing the ribozyme, viral expression was markedly inhibited. Expression of the BLV core protein p24 was inhibited by 61%, and reverse transcriptase activity in supernatant was inhibited by 92%. Ribozyme inhibition of BLV expression suggests that cattle expressing these sequences may be able to control BLV replication. Images Fig. 2 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Fig. 6 PMID:7504287

  13. Ribozymes and Riboswitches: Modulation of RNA Function by Small Molecules†

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jinwei; Lau, Matthew W.; Ferré-D'Amaré, Adrian R.

    2010-01-01

    Diverse small molecules interact with catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) as substrates and cofactors, and their intracellular concentrations are sensed by gene-regulatory mRNA domains (riboswitches) that modulate transcription, splicing, translation, or RNA stability. Although recognition mechanisms vary from RNA to RNA, structural analyses reveal recurring strategies that arise from the intrinsic properties of RNA such as base pairing and stacking with conjugated heterocycles, and cation-dependent recognition of anionic functional groups. These studies also suggest that, to a first approximation, the magnitude of ligand-induced reorganization of an RNA is inversely proportional to the complexity of the riboswitch or ribozyme. How these small molecule binding-induced changes in RNA lead to alteration in gene expression is less well understood. While different riboswitches have been proposed to be under either kinetic or thermodynamic control, the biochemical and structural mechanisms that give rise to regulatory consequences downstream of small molecule recognition by RNAs mostly remain to be elucidated. PMID:20931966

  14. Kinetic characterization of hairpin ribozyme variants.

    PubMed

    Appel, Bettina; Marschall, Thomas; Strahl, Anne; Müller, Sabine

    2012-01-01

    Kinetic analysis of ribozyme reactions is a common method to evaluate and compare activities of catalytic RNAs. The hairpin ribozyme catalyzes the reversible cleavage of a suitable RNA substrate at a specific site. Hairpin ribozyme variants as an allosteric ribozyme responsive to flavine mononucleotide and a hairpin-derived twin ribozyme that catalyzes two cleavage reactions and two ligation events with the result of a fragment exchange have been developed by rational design and were kinetically characterized. Herein, protocols for preparation of ribozymes and dye-labeled substrates as well as for analysis of cleavage, ligation, and fragment exchange reactions are provided. PMID:22315062

  15. Conditional control of mammalian gene expression by tetracycline-dependent hammerhead ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Beilstein, Kim; Wittmann, Alexander; Grez, Manuel; Suess, Beatrix

    2015-05-15

    Robust synthetic devices are requisite for the construction of synthetic genetic circuits and important scientific and technological tools to control cellular processes. We developed tetracycline-dependent ribozymes, which can switch on gene expression up to 8.7-fold upon addition of tetracycline. A tetracycline aptamer was grafted onto the hammerhead ribozyme in such a way that ligand binding to the aptamers destroys a loop-loop interaction within the ribozyme thereby inhibiting ribozyme cleavage and allowing gene expression. The advantage of the presented regulatory system is its independence of any regulatory proteins. The stable integration of the ribozyme into the genome of HeLa cells indicates a low background activity in the absence of ligand. Furthermore, the ligand concentration required to robustly flip the switch does not affect cell viability and therefore allows a long-term application of the system. These properties turn the tetracycline-dependent ribozymes into a very promising tool for conditional gene expression in mammalian cells. PMID:25265236

  16. Two group I ribozymes with different functions in a nuclear rDNA intron.

    PubMed Central

    Decatur, W A; Einvik, C; Johansen, S; Vogt, V M

    1995-01-01

    DiSSU1, a mobile intron in the nuclear rRNA gene of Didymium iridis, was previously reported to contain two independent catalytic RNA elements. We have found that both catalytic elements, renamed GIR1 and GIR2, are group I ribozymes, but with differing functionality. GIR2 carries out the several reactions associated with self-splicing. GIR1 carries out a hydrolysis reaction at an internal processing site (IPS-1). These conclusions are based on the catalytic properties of RNAs transcribed in vitro. Mutation of the P7 pairing segment of GIR2 abrogated self-splicing, while mutation of P7 in GIR1 abrogated hydrolysis at the IPS-1. Much of the P2 stem and all of the associated loop could be deleted without effect on self-splicing. These results are accounted for by a secondary structure model, in which a long P2 pairing segment brings the 5' splice site to the GIR2 catalytic core. GIR1 is the smallest natural group I ribozyme yet reported and is the first example of a group I ribozyme whose presumptive biological function is hydrolysis. We hypothesize that GIR1-mediated cleavage of the excised intron RNA functions in the generation and expression of the mRNA for the intron-encoded endonuclease I-DirI. Images PMID:7556099

  17. Sequence specificity of a group II intron ribozyme: multiple mechanisms for promoting unusually high discrimination against mismatched targets.

    PubMed

    Xiang, Q; Qin, P Z; Michels, W J; Freeland, K; Pyle, A M

    1998-03-17

    Group II intron ai5 gamma was reconstructed into a multiple-turnover ribozyme that efficiently cleaves small oligonucleotide substrates in-trans. This construct makes it possible to investigate sequence specificity, since second-order rate constants (kcat/K(m), or the specificity constant) can be obtained and compared with values for mutant substrates and with other ribozymes. The ribozyme used in this study consists of intron domains 1 and 3 connected in-cis, together with domain 5 as a separate catalytic cofactor. This ribozyme has mechanistic features similar to the first step of reverse-splicing, in which a lariat intron attacks exogenous RNA and DNA substrates, and it therefore serves as a model for the sequence specificity of group II intron mobility. To quantitatively evaluate the sequence specificity of this ribozyme, the WT kcat/Km value was compared to individual kcat/Km values for a series of mutant substrates and ribozymes containing single base changes, which were designed to create mismatches at varying positions along the two ribozyme-substrate recognition helices. These mismatches had remarkably large effects on the discrimination index (1/relative kcat/K(m)), resulting in values > 10,000 in several cases. The delta delta G++ for mismatches ranged from 2 to 6 kcal/mol depending on the mismatch and its position. The high specificity of the ribozyme is attributable to effects on duplex stabilization (1-3 kcal/mol) and unexpectedly large effects on the chemical step of reaction (0.5-2.5 kcal/mol). In addition, substrate association is accompanied by an energetic penalty that lowers the overall binding energy between ribozyme and substrate, thereby causing the off-rate to be faster than the rate of catalysis and resulting in high specificity for the cleavage of long target sequences (> or = 13 nucleotides). PMID:9521704

  18. Intracellular RNA cleavage by the hairpin ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Seyhan, A A; Amaral, J; Burke, J M

    1998-01-01

    Studies involving ribozyme-directed inactivation of targeted RNA molecules have met with mixed success, making clear the importance of methods to measure and optimize ribozyme activity within cells. The interpretation of biochemical assays for determining ribozyme activity in the cellular environment have been complicated by recent results indicating that hammerhead and hairpin ribozymes can cleave RNA following cellular lysis. Here, we report the results of experiments in which the catalytic activity of hairpin ribozymes is monitored following expression in mammalian cells, and in which post-lysis cleavage is rigorously excluded through a series of biochemical and genetic controls. Following transient transfection, self-processing transcripts containing active and inactive hairpin ribozymes together with cleavable and non-cleavable substrates were generated within the cytoplasm of mouse OST7-1 cells using T7 RNA polymerase. Unprocessed RNA and products ofintracellular cleavage were detected and analyzed using a primer-extension assay. Ribozyme-containing transcripts accumulated to a level of 4 x 10(4) copies per cell, and self-processing proceeded to an extent of >75% within cells. Cellular RNA processing was blocked by mutations within the ribozyme (G8A, G21U) or substrate (DeltaA-1) that, in vitro , eliminate cleavage without affecting substrate binding. In addition to self-processing activity, trans -cleavage reactions were supported by the ribozyme-containing product of the self-processing reaction, and by the ribozyme linked to the non-cleavable substrate analog. Ribozyme activity was present in extracts of cells expressing constructs with active ribozyme domains. These results provide direct biochemical evidence for the catalytic activity of the hairpin ribozyme in a cellular environment, and indicate that self-processing ribozyme transcripts may be well suited for cellular RNA-inactivation experiments. PMID:9671810

  19. Engineering of ribozyme-based riboswitches for mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Wieland, Markus; Ausländer, David; Fussenegger, Martin

    2012-03-01

    Artificial RNA riboswitches--apart from protein-based gene regulation systems, which have been known about for a long time--have become increasingly important in biotechnology and synthetic biology. Aptamer-controlled hammerhead ribozymes (so-called aptazymes) have been shown to be a versatile platform for the engineering of novel gene regulators. Since aptazymes are cis-acting elements that are located in the untranslated regions of a gene of interest, their application does not need any further protein co-factor. This presents the opportunity to simplify complex gene networks while simultaneously expanding the repertoire of available parts. Nevertheless, the generation of novel aptazymes requires a functional aptamer-ribozyme connection, which can be difficult to engineer. This article describes a novel approach for using fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) in order to identify functional aptazymes in bacteria and their subsequent transfer into mammalian cells. PMID:22305857

  20. Group II Intron Self-Splicing.

    PubMed

    Pyle, Anna Marie

    2016-07-01

    Group II introns are large, autocatalytic ribozymes that catalyze RNA splicing and retrotransposition. Splicing by group II introns plays a major role in the metabolism of plants, fungi, and yeast and contributes to genetic variation in many bacteria. Group II introns have played a major role in genome evolution, as they are likely progenitors of spliceosomal introns, retroelements, and other machinery that controls genetic variation and stability. The structure and catalytic mechanism of group II introns have recently been elucidated through a combination of genetics, chemical biology, solution biochemistry, and crystallography. These studies reveal a dynamic machine that cycles progressively through multiple conformations as it stimulates the various stages of splicing. A central active site, containing a reactive metal ion cluster, catalyzes both steps of self-splicing. These studies provide insights into RNA structure, folding, and catalysis, as they raise new questions about the behavior of RNA machines. PMID:27391926

  1. Recent developments in the hammerhead ribozyme field.

    PubMed Central

    Vaish, N K; Kore, A R; Eckstein, F

    1998-01-01

    Developments in the hammerhead ribozyme field during the last two years are reviewed here. New results on the specificity of this ribozyme, the mechanism of its action and on the question of metal ion involvement in the cleavage reaction are discussed. To demonstrate the potential of ribozyme technology examples of the application of this ribozyme for the inhibition of gene expression in cell culture, in animals, as well as in plant models are presented. Particular emphasis is given to critical steps in the approach, including RNA site selection, delivery, vector development and cassette construction. PMID:9826743

  2. Protein-responsive ribozyme switches in eukaryotic cells

    PubMed Central

    Kennedy, Andrew B.; Vowles, James V.; d'Espaux, Leo; Smolke, Christina D.

    2014-01-01

    Genetic devices that directly detect and respond to intracellular concentrations of proteins are important synthetic biology tools, supporting the design of biological systems that target, respond to or alter specific cellular states. Here, we develop ribozyme-based devices that respond to protein ligands in two eukaryotic hosts, yeast and mammalian cells, to regulate the expression of a gene of interest. Our devices allow for both gene-ON and gene-OFF response upon sensing the protein ligand. As part of our design process, we describe an in vitro characterization pipeline for prescreening device designs to identify promising candidates for in vivo testing. The in vivo gene-regulatory activities in the two types of eukaryotic cells correlate with in vitro cleavage activities determined at different physiologically relevant magnesium concentrations. Finally, localization studies with the ligand demonstrate that ribozyme switches respond to ligands present in the nucleus and/or cytoplasm, providing new insight into their mechanism of action. By extending the sensing capabilities of this important class of gene-regulatory device, our work supports the implementation of ribozyme-based devices in applications requiring the detection of protein biomarkers. PMID:25274734

  3. Cryoenzymology of the hammerhead ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Feig, A L; Ammons, G E; Uhlenbeck, O C

    1998-01-01

    The technique of cryoenzymology has been applied to the hammerhead ribozyme in an attempt to uncover a structural rearrangement step prior to cleavage. Several cryosolvents were tested and 40% (v/v) methanol in water was found to perturb the system only minimally. This solvent allowed the measurement of ribozyme activity between 30 and -33 degrees C. Eyring plots are linear down to -27 degrees C, but a drastic reduction in activity occurs below this temperature. However, even at extremely low temperatures, the rate is still quite pH dependent, suggesting that the chemical step rather than a structural rearrangement is still rate-limiting. The nonlinearity of the Eyring plot may be the result of a transition to a cold-denatured state or a glassed state. PMID:9769099

  4. Specificity of hammerhead ribozyme cleavage.

    PubMed Central

    Hertel, K J; Herschlag, D; Uhlenbeck, O C

    1996-01-01

    To be effective in gene inactivation, the hammerhead ribozyme must cleave a complementary RNA target without deleterious effects from cleaving non-target RNAs that contain mismatches and shorter stretches of complementarity. The specificity of hammerhead cleavage was evaluated using HH16, a well-characterized ribozyme designed to cleave a target of 17 residues. Under standard reaction conditions, HH16 is unable to discriminate between its full-length substrate and 3'-truncated substrates, even when six fewer base pairs are formed between HH16 and the substrate. This striking lack of specificity arises because all the substrates bind to the ribozyme with sufficient affinity so that cleavage occurs before their affinity differences are manifested. In contrast, HH16 does exhibit high specificity towards certain 3'-truncated versions of altered substrates that either also contain a single base mismatch or are shortened at the 5' end. In addition, the specificity of HH16 is improved in the presence of p7 nucleocapsid protein from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1, which accelerates the association and dissociation of RNA helices. These results support the view that the hammerhead has an intrinsic ability to discriminate against incorrect bases, but emphasizes that the high specificity is only observed in a certain range of helix lengths. Images PMID:8670879

  5. Increased Ribozyme Activity in Crowded Solutions*

    PubMed Central

    Desai, Ravi; Kilburn, Duncan; Lee, Hui-Ting; Woodson, Sarah A.

    2014-01-01

    Noncoding RNAs must function in the crowded environment of the cell. Previous small-angle x-ray scattering experiments showed that molecular crowders stabilize the structure of the Azoarcus group I ribozyme, allowing the ribozyme to fold at low physiological Mg2+ concentrations. Here, we used an RNA cleavage assay to show that the PEG and Ficoll crowder molecules increased the biochemical activity of the ribozyme, whereas sucrose did not. Crowding lowered the Mg2+ threshold at which activity was detected and increased total RNA cleavage at high Mg2+ concentrations sufficient to fold the RNA in crowded or dilute solution. After correcting for solution viscosity, the observed reaction rate was proportional to the fraction of active ribozyme. We conclude that molecular crowders stabilize the native ribozyme and favor the active structure relative to compact inactive folding intermediates. PMID:24337582

  6. Novel RNA structural features of an alternatively splicing group II intron from Clostridium tetani.

    PubMed

    McNeil, Bonnie A; Zimmerly, Steven

    2014-06-01

    Group II introns are ribozymes in bacterial and organellar genomes that function as self-splicing introns and as retroelements. Previously, we reported that the group II intron C.te.I1 of Clostridium tetani alternatively splices in vivo to produce five distinct coding mRNAs. Accurate fusion of upstream and downstream reading frames requires a shifted 5' splice site located 8 nt upstream of the usual 5' GUGYG motif. This site is specified by the ribozyme through an altered intron/exon-binding site 1 (IBS1-EBS1) pairing. Here we use mutagenesis and self-splicing assays to investigate in more detail the significance of the structural features of the C.te.I1 ribozyme. The shifted 5' splice site is shown to be affected by structures in addition to IBS1-EBS1, and unlike other group II introns, C.te.I1 appears to require a spacer between IBS1 and the GUGYG motif. In addition, the mechanism of 3' exon recognition is modified from the ancestral IIB mechanism to a IIA-like mechanism that appears to be longer than the typical single base-pair interaction and may extend up to 4 bp. The novel ribozyme properties that have evolved for C.te.I1 illustrate the plasticity of group II introns in adapting new structural and catalytic properties that can be utilized to affect gene expression. PMID:24751650

  7. Novel RNA structural features of an alternatively splicing group II intron from Clostridium tetani

    PubMed Central

    McNeil, Bonnie A.; Zimmerly, Steven

    2014-01-01

    Group II introns are ribozymes in bacterial and organellar genomes that function as self-splicing introns and as retroelements. Previously, we reported that the group II intron C.te.I1 of Clostridium tetani alternatively splices in vivo to produce five distinct coding mRNAs. Accurate fusion of upstream and downstream reading frames requires a shifted 5′ splice site located 8 nt upstream of the usual 5′ GUGYG motif. This site is specified by the ribozyme through an altered intron/exon-binding site 1 (IBS1–EBS1) pairing. Here we use mutagenesis and self-splicing assays to investigate in more detail the significance of the structural features of the C.te.I1 ribozyme. The shifted 5′ splice site is shown to be affected by structures in addition to IBS1–EBS1, and unlike other group II introns, C.te.I1 appears to require a spacer between IBS1 and the GUGYG motif. In addition, the mechanism of 3′ exon recognition is modified from the ancestral IIB mechanism to a IIA-like mechanism that appears to be longer than the typical single base-pair interaction and may extend up to 4 bp. The novel ribozyme properties that have evolved for C.te.I1 illustrate the plasticity of group II introns in adapting new structural and catalytic properties that can be utilized to affect gene expression. PMID:24751650

  8. Fluorescence and solution NMR study of the active site of a 160-kDa group II intron ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Gumbs, Orlando H.; Padgett, Richard A.; Dayie, Kwaku T.

    2006-01-01

    We have reconstructed the group II intron from Pylaiella littoralis (PL) into a hydrolytic ribozyme, comprising domains 1–3 (D123) connected in cis plus domain 5 (D5) supplied in trans that efficiently cleaves spliced exon substrates. Using a novel gel-based fluorescence assay and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we monitored the direct binding of D5 to D123, characterized the kinetics of the spliced exon hydrolysis reaction (which is mechanistically analogous to the reverse of the second catalytic step of splicing), and identified the binding surface of D123 on D5. This PL ribozyme acts as an RNA endonuclease even at low monovalent (100 mM KCl) and divalent ion concentrations (1–10 mM MgCl2). This is in contrast to other group II intron ribozyme systems that require high levels of salt, making NMR analysis problematic. D5 binds tightly to D123 with a K d of 650 ± 250 nM, a K m of ∼300 nM, and a K cat of 0.02 min−1 under single turnover conditions. Within the ∼160-kDa D123–D5 binary complex, site-specific binding to D123 leads to dramatic chemical shift perturbation of residues localized to the tetraloop and internal bulge within D5, suggesting a structural switch model for D5-assisted splicing. This minimal ribozyme thus recapitulates the essential features of the reverse of the second catalytic step and represents a well-behaved system for ongoing high-resolution structural work to complement folding and catalytic functional studies. PMID:16894219

  9. A strategy for developing a hammerhead ribozyme for selective RNA cleavage depending on substitutional RNA editing

    PubMed Central

    Fukuda, Masatora; Kurihara, Kei; Tanaka, Yasuyoshi; Deshimaru, Masanobu

    2012-01-01

    Substitutional RNA editing plays a crucial role in the regulation of biological processes. Cleavage of target RNA that depends on the specific site of substitutional RNA editing is a useful tool for analyzing and regulating intracellular processes related to RNA editing. Hammerhead ribozymes have been utilized as small catalytic RNAs for cleaving target RNA at a specific site and may be used for RNA-editing-specific RNA cleavage. Here we reveal a design strategy for a hammerhead ribozyme that specifically recognizes adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) and cytosine to uracil (C-to-U) substitutional RNA-editing sites and cleaves target RNA. Because the hammerhead ribozyme cleaves one base upstream of the target-editing site, the base that pairs with the target-editing site was utilized for recognition. RNA-editing-specific ribozymes were designed such that the recognition base paired only with the edited base. These ribozymes showed A-to-I and C-to-U editing-specific cleavage activity against synthetic serotonin receptor 2C and apolipoprotein B mRNA fragments in vitro, respectively. Additionally, the ribozyme designed for recognizing A-to-I RNA editing at the Q/R site on filamin A (FLNA) showed editing-specific cleavage activity against physiologically edited FLNA mRNA extracted from cells. We demonstrated that our strategy is effective for cleaving target RNA in an editing-dependent manner. The data in this study provided an experimental basis for the RNA-editing-dependent degradation of specific target RNA in vivo. PMID:22798264

  10. Crystal Structure of a Self-Spliced Group ll Intron

    SciTech Connect

    Toor,N.; Keating, K.; Taylor, S.; Pyle, A.

    2008-01-01

    Group II introns are self-splicing ribozymes that catalyze their own excision from precursor transcripts and insertion into new genetic locations. Here we report the crystal structure of an intact, self-spliced group II intron from Oceanobacillus iheyensis at 3.1 angstrom resolution. An extensive network of tertiary interactions facilitates the ordered packing of intron subdomains around a ribozyme core that includes catalytic domain V. The bulge of domain V adopts an unusual helical structure that is located adjacent to a major groove triple helix (catalytic triplex). The bulge and catalytic triplex jointly coordinate two divalent metal ions in a configuration that is consistent with a two-metal ion mechanism for catalysis. Structural and functional analogies support the hypothesis that group II introns and the spliceosome share a common ancestor.

  11. Crystal Structure of a Self-Spliced Group II Intron

    SciTech Connect

    Toor, Navtej; Keating, Kevin S.; Taylor, Sean D.; Pyle, Anna Marie

    2008-04-10

    Group II introns are self-splicing ribozymes that catalyze their own excision from precursor transcripts and insertion into new genetic locations. Here we report the crystal structure of an intact, self-spliced group II intron from Oceanobacillus iheyensis at 3.1 angstrom resolution. An extensive network of tertiary interactions facilitates the ordered packing of intron subdomains around a ribozyme core that includes catalytic domain V. The bulge of domain V adopts an unusual helical structure that is located adjacent to a major groove triple helix (catalytic triplex). The bulge and catalytic triplex jointly coordinate two divalent metal ions in a configuration that is consistent with a two-metal ion mechanism for catalysis. Structural and functional analogies support the hypothesis that group II introns and the spliceosome share a common ancestor.

  12. Functional characterization of the SOFA delta ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    BERGERON, LUCIEN JUNIOR; REYMOND, CÉDRIC; PERREAULT, JEAN-PIERRE

    2005-01-01

    Molecular engineering has led to the development of a novel target-dependent riboswitch that increases δribozyme fidelity. This δ ribozyme possesses a specific on/off adapter (SOFA) that switches the cleavage activity from off (a “safety lock”) to on solely in the presence of the desired RNA substrate. In this report, we investigate the influence of both the structure and the sequence of each domain of the SOFA module. Analysis of the cleavage activity, using a large collection of substrates and SOFA-ribozyme mutants, together with RNase H probing provided several insights into the nature of the sequence and the optimal design of each domain of the SOFA module. For example, we determined that (1) the optimal size of the blocker sequence, which keeps the ribozyme off in the absence of the substrate, is 4 nucleotides (nt); (2) a single nucleotide difference between the substrate and the biosensor domain, which is responsible for the initial binding of the substrate that subsequently switches the SOFA-ribozyme on, is sufficient to cause nonrecognition of the appropriate substrate; (3) the stabilizer, which joins the 5′ and 3′ ends of the SOFA-ribozyme, plays only a structural role; and (4) the optimal spacer sequence, which serves to separate the binding regions of the biosensor and catalytic domain of the ribozyme on the substrate, is from 1 to 5 nt long. Together, these data should facilitate the design of more efficient SOFA-ribozymes with significant potential for many applications in gene-inactivation systems. PMID:16251383

  13. Splicing fidelity

    PubMed Central

    Koodathingal, Prakash; Staley, Jonathan P.

    2013-01-01

    The spliceosome discriminates against suboptimal substrates, both during assembly and catalysis, thereby enhancing specificity during pre-mRNA splicing. Central to such fidelity mechanisms are a conserved subset of the DEAD- and DEAH-box ATPases, which belong to a superfamily of proteins that mediate RNP rearrangements in almost all RNA-dependent processes in the cell. Through an investigation of the mechanisms contributing to the specificity of 5′ splice site cleavage, two related reports, one from our lab and the other from the Cheng lab, have provided insights into fidelity mechanisms utilized by the spliceosome. In our work, we found evidence for a kinetic proofreading mechanism in splicing in which the DEAH-box ATPase Prp16 discriminates against substrates undergoing slow 5′ splice site cleavage. Additionally, our study revealed that discriminated substrates are discarded through a general spliceosome disassembly pathway, mediated by another DEAH-box ATPase Prp43. In their work, Tseng et al. described the underlying molecular events through which Prp16 discriminates against a splicing substrate during 5′ splice site cleavage. Here, we present a synthesis of these two studies and, additionally, provide the first biochemical evidence for discrimination of a suboptimal splicing substrate just prior to 5′ splice site cleavage. Together, these findings support a general mechanism for a ubiquitous superfamily of ATPases in enhancing specificity during RNA-dependent processes in the cell. PMID:23770752

  14. Self-Incorporation of Coenzymes by Ribozymes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Breaker, Ronald R.; Joyce, Gerald F.

    1995-01-01

    RNA molecules that are assembled from the four standard nucleotides contain a limited number of chemical functional groups, a characteristic that is generally thought to restrict the potential for catalysis by ribozymes. Although polypeptides carry a wider range of functional groups, many contemporary protein-based enzymes employ coenzymes to augment their capabilities. The coenzymes possess additional chemical moieties that can participate directly in catalysis and thereby enhance catalytic function. In this work, we demonstrate a mechanism by which ribozymes can supplement their limited repertoire of functional groups through RNAcatalyzed incorporation of various coenzymes and coenzyme analogues. The group I ribozyme of Tetrahymena thermophila normally mediates a phosphoester transfer reaction that results in the covalent attachment of guanosine to the ribozyme. Here, a shortened version of the ribozyme is shown to catalyze the self-incorporation of coenzymes and coenzyme analogues, such as NAD+ and dephosphorylated CoA-SH. Similar ribozyme activities may have played an important role in the "RNA world," when RNA enzymes are thought to have maintained a complex metabolism in the absence of proteins and would have benefited from the inclusion of additional functional groups.

  15. High-Throughput Mutational Analysis of a Twister Ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Kobori, Shungo; Yokobayashi, Yohei

    2016-08-22

    Recent discoveries of new classes of self-cleaving ribozymes in diverse organisms have triggered renewed interest in the chemistry and biology of ribozymes. Functional analysis and engineering of ribozymes often involve performing biochemical assays on multiple ribozyme mutants. However, because each ribozyme mutant must be individually prepared and assayed, the number and variety of mutants that can be studied are severely limited. All of the single and double mutants of a twister ribozyme (a total of 10 296 mutants) were generated and assayed for their self-cleaving activity by exploiting deep sequencing to count the numbers of cleaved and uncleaved sequences for every mutant. Interestingly, we found that the ribozyme is highly robust against mutations such that 71 % and 30 % of all single and double mutants, respectively, retain detectable activity under the assay conditions. It was also observed that the structural elements that comprise the ribozyme exhibit distinct sensitivity to mutations. PMID:27461281

  16. Synthesis of 2'-modified nucleotides and their incorporation into hammerhead ribozymes.

    PubMed Central

    Beigelman, L; Karpeisky, A; Matulic-Adamic, J; Haeberli, P; Sweedler, D; Usman, N

    1995-01-01

    Several 2'-modified ribonucleoside phosphoramidites have been prepared for structure-activity studies of the hammerhead ribozyme. The aim of these studies was to design and synthesize catalytically active and nuclease-resistant ribozymes. Synthetic schemes for stereoselective synthesis of the R isomer of 2'-deoxy-2'-C-allyl uridine and cytidine phosphoramidites, based on the Keck allylation procedure, were developed. Protection of the 2'-amino group in 2'-deoxy-2'-aminouridine was optimized and a method for the convenient preparation of 5'-O-dimethoxytrityl-2'-deoxy-2'-phthalimidouridine 3'-O-(2-cyanoethyl-N,N-diisopropylphosphoramidite) was developed. During the attempted preparation of the 2'-O-t-butyldimethylsilyl-3'-O-phosphoramidite of arabinouridine a reversed regioselectivity in the silylation reaction, compared with the published procedure, was observed, as well as the unexpected formation of the 2,2'-anhydronucleoside. A possible mechanism for this cyclization is proposed. The synthesis of 2'-deoxy-2'-methylene and 2'-deoxy-2'-difluoromethylene uridine phosphoramidites is described. Based on a '5-ribose' model for essential 2'-hydroxyls in the hammerhead ribozyme these 2'-modified monomers were incorporated at positions U4 and/or U7 of the catalytic core. A number of these ribozymes had almost wild-type catalytic activity and improved stability in human serum, compared with an all-RNA molecule. PMID:7501467

  17. Ribozyme-mediated inhibition of HIV 1 suggests nucleolar trafficking of HIV-1 RNA

    PubMed Central

    Michienzi, Alessandro; Cagnon, Laurence; Bahner, Ingrid; Rossi, John J.

    2000-01-01

    The HIV regulatory proteins Tat and Rev have a nucleolar localization property in human cells. However, no functional role has been attributed to this localization. Recently it has been demonstrated that expression of Rev induces nucleolar relocalization of some protein factors involved in Rev export. Because the function of Rev is to bind HIV RNA and facilitate transport of singly spliced and unspliced RNA to the cytoplasm, it is likely that the nucleolus plays a critical role in HIV-1 RNA export. As a test for trafficking of HIV-1 RNAs into the nucleolus, a hammerhead ribozyme that specifically cleaves HIV-1 RNA was inserted into the body of the U16 small nucleolar RNA, resulting in accumulation of the ribozyme within the nucleoli of human cells. HeLa CD4+ and T cells expressing this nucleolar localized ribozyme exhibit dramatically suppressed HIV-1 replication. The results presented here suggest a trafficking of HIV-1 RNA through the nucleoli of human cells, thus posing a different paradigm for lentiviral RNA processing. PMID:10922055

  18. Mapping L1 Ligase ribozyme conformational switch

    PubMed Central

    Giambaşu, George M.; Lee, Tai-Sung; Scott, William G.; York, Darrin M.

    2012-01-01

    L1 Ligase (L1L)molecular switch is an in vitro optimized synthetic allosteric ribozyme that catalyzes the regioselective formation of a 5’-to-3’ phosphodiester bond, a reaction for which there is no known naturally occurring RNA catalyst. L1L serves as a proof of principle that RNA can catalyze a critical reaction for prebiotic RNA self-replication according to the RNA World hypothesis. L1L crystal structure captures two distinct conformations that differ by a re-orientation of one of the stems by around 80 Å and are presumed to correspond to the active and inactive state, respectively. It is of great interest to understand the nature of these two states in solution, and the pathway for their interconversion. In this study, we use explicit solvent molecular simulation together with a novel enhanced sampling method that utilizes concepts from network theory to map out the conformational transition between active and inactive states of L1L. We find that the overall switching mechanism can be described as a 3-state/2-step process. The first step involves a large-amplitude swing that re-orients stem C. The second step involves the allosteric activation of the catalytic site through distant contacts with stem C. Using a conformational space network representation of the L1L switch transition, it is shown that the connection between the three states follows different topographical patterns: the stem C swing step passes through a narrow region of the conformational space network, whereas the allosteric activation step covers a much wider region and a more diverse set of pathways through the network. PMID:22771572

  19. Multiple splicing pathways of group II trans-splicing introns in wheat mitochondria.

    PubMed

    Massel, Karen; Silke, Jordan R; Bonen, Linda

    2016-05-01

    Trans-splicing of discontinuous introns in plant mitochondria requires the assembly of independently-transcribed precursor RNAs into splicing-competent structures, and they are expected to be excised as Y-branched molecules ("broken lariats") because these introns belong to the group II ribozyme family. We now demonstrate that this is just one of several trans-splicing pathways for wheat mitochondrial nad1 intron 4 and nad5 intron 2; they also use a hydrolytic pathway and the liberated 5'-half-intron linear molecules are unexpectedly abundant in the RNA population. We also observe a third productive splicing pathway for nad5 intron 2 that yields full-length excised introns in which the termini are joined in vivo and possess non-encoded nucleotides. In the case of trans-splicing nad1 intron 1, which has a weakly-structured and poorly-conserved core sequence, excision appears to be solely through a hydrolytic pathway. When wheat embryos are germinated in the cold rather than at room temperature, an increased complexity in trans-splicing products is seen for nad1 intron 4, suggesting that there can be environmental effects on the RNA folding of bipartite introns. Our observations provide insights into intron evolution and the complexity of RNA processing events in plant mitochondria. PMID:26970277

  20. Crystal Structure of the VS ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Suslov, Nikolai B.; DasGupta, Saurja; Huang, Hao; Fuller, James R.; Lilley, David M.J.; Rice, Phoebe A.; Piccirilli, Joseph A.

    2015-01-01

    Varkud Satellite (VS) ribozyme mediates rolling circle replication of a plasmid found in the Neurospora mitochondria. We report crystal structures of this ribozyme at 3.1Å resolution, revealing an intertwined dimer formed by an exchange of substrate helices. Within each protomer, an arrangement of three-way helical junctions organizes seven helices into a global fold that creates a docking site for the substrate helix of the other protomer, resulting in the formation of two active sites in trans. This mode of RNA-RNA association resembles the process of domain swapping in proteins and has implications for RNA regulation and evolution. Within each active site, adenine and guanine nucleobases abut the scissile phosphate, poised to serve direct roles in catalysis. Similarities to the active sites of the hairpin and hammerhead ribozymes highlight the functional significance of active site features, underscore the ability of RNA to access functional architectures from distant regions of sequence space, and suggest convergent evolution. PMID:26414446

  1. Crystallographic Analysis of Small Ribozymes and Riboswitches

    PubMed Central

    Lippa, Geoffrey M.; Liberman, Joseph A.; Jenkins, Jermaine L.; Krucinska, Jolanta; Salim, Mohammad; Wedekind, Joseph E.

    2016-01-01

    Ribozymes and riboswitches are RNA motifs that accelerate biological reactions and regulate gene expression in response to metabolite recognition, respectively. These RNA molecules gain functionality via complex folding that cannot be predicted a priori, and thus requires high-resolution three-dimensional structure determination to locate key functional attributes. Herein, we present an overview of the methods used to determine small RNA structures with an emphasis on RNA preparation, crystallization, and structure refinement. We draw upon examples from our own research in the analysis of the leadzyme ribozyme, the hairpin ribozyme, a class I preQ1 riboswitch, and variants of a larger class II preQ1 riboswitch. The methods presented provide a guide for comparable investigations of noncoding RNA molecules including a 48-solution, “first choice” RNA crystal screen compiled from our prior successes with commercially available screens. PMID:22315069

  2. Hammerhead ribozymes: biochemical and chemical considerations.

    PubMed

    Goodchild, J

    2000-06-01

    Ribozymes can be used to cleave specific mRNAs so as to prevent their translation. This presents an alternative to the use of antisense oligonucleotides for drug target validation or therapeutic purposes. The present review covers only one class of ribozymes, the hammerheads, which are small enough for chemical synthesis. Following an account of their structure and ability to catalyze the cleavage of target RNA is a discussion of some problems associated with their use as exogenous therapeutics. Chemical modifications that are used to address these issues are described. PMID:11249621

  3. Searching genomes for ribozymes and riboswitches

    PubMed Central

    Hammann, Christian; Westhof, Eric

    2007-01-01

    New regulatory RNAs with complex structures have recently been discovered, among them the first catalytic riboswitch, a gene-regulatory RNA sequence with catalytic activity. Here we discuss some of the experimental approaches and theoretical difficulties attached to the identification of new ribozymes in genomes. PMID:17472738

  4. Lower temperature optimum of a smaller, fragmented triphosphorylation ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Akoopie, Arvin; Müller, Ulrich F

    2016-07-27

    The RNA world hypothesis describes a stage in the early evolution of life in which catalytic RNAs mediated the replication of RNA world organisms. One challenge to this hypothesis is that most existing ribozymes are much longer than what may be expected to originate from prebiotically plausible methods, or from the polymerization by currently existing polymerase ribozymes. We previously developed a 96-nucleotide long ribozyme, which generates a chemically activated 5'-phosphate (a 5'-triphosphate) from a prebiotically plausible molecule, trimetaphosphate, and an RNA 5'-hydroxyl group. Analogous ribozymes may have been important in the RNA world to access an energy source for the earliest life forms. Here we reduce the length of this ribozyme by fragmenting the ribozyme into multiple RNA strands, and by successively removing its longest double strand. The resulting ribozyme is composed of RNA fragments with none longer than 34 nucleotides. The temperature optimum was ∼20 °C, compared to ∼40 °C for the parent ribozyme. This shift in temperature dependence may be a more general phenomenon for fragmented ribozymes, and may have helped RNA world organisms to emerge at low temperature. PMID:27053323

  5. An engineered small RNA-mediated genetic switch based on a ribozyme expression platform

    PubMed Central

    Klauser, Benedikt; Hartig, Jörg S.

    2013-01-01

    An important requirement for achieving many goals of synthetic biology is the availability of a large repertoire of reprogrammable genetic switches and appropriate transmitter molecules. In addition to engineering genetic switches, the interconnection of individual switches becomes increasingly important for the construction of more complex genetic networks. In particular, RNA-based switches of gene expression have become a powerful tool to post-transcriptionally program genetic circuits. RNAs used for regulatory purposes have the advantage to transmit, sense, process and execute information. We have recently used the hammerhead ribozyme to control translation initiation in a small molecule-dependent fashion. In addition, riboregulators have been constructed in which a small RNA acts as transmitter molecule to control translation of a target mRNA. In this study, we combine both concepts and redesign the hammerhead ribozyme to sense small trans-acting RNAs (taRNAs) as input molecules resulting in repression of translation initiation in Escherichia coli. Importantly, our ribozyme-based expression platform is compatible with previously reported artificial taRNAs, which were reported to act as inducers of gene expression. In addition, we provide several insights into key requirements of riboregulatory systems, including the influences of varying transcriptional induction of the taRNA and mRNA transcripts, 5′-processing of taRNAs, as well as altering the secondary structure of the taRNA. In conclusion, we introduce an RNA-responsive ribozyme-based expression system to the field of artificial riboregulators that can serve as reprogrammable platform for engineering higher-order genetic circuits. PMID:23585277

  6. Solvent Structure and Hammerhead Ribozyme Catalysis

    PubMed Central

    Martick, Monika; Lee, Tai-Sung; York, Darrin M.; Scott, William G.

    2008-01-01

    SUMMARY Although the hammerhead ribozyme is regarded as a prototype for understanding RNA catalysis, the mechanistic roles of associated metal ions and water molecules in the cleavage reaction remain controversial. We have investigated the catalytic potential of observed divalent metal ions and water molecules bound to a 2 Å structure of the full-length hammerhead ribozyme by using X-ray crystallography in combination with molecular dynamics simulations. A single Mn2+ is observed to bind directly to the A9 phosphate in the active site, accompanying a hydrogen-bond network involving a well-ordered water molecule spanning N1 of G12 (the general base) and 2′-O of G8 (previously implicated in general acid catalysis) that we propose, based on molecular dynamics calculations, facilitates proton transfer in the cleavage reaction. Phosphate-bridging metal interactions and other mechanistic hypotheses are also tested with this approach. PMID:18420140

  7. Bacterial group II introns: not just splicing.

    PubMed

    Toro, Nicolás; Jiménez-Zurdo, José Ignacio; García-Rodríguez, Fernando Manuel

    2007-04-01

    Group II introns are both catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) and mobile retroelements that were discovered almost 14 years ago. It has been suggested that eukaryotic mRNA introns might have originated from the group II introns present in the alphaproteobacterial progenitor of the mitochondria. Bacterial group II introns are of considerable interest not only because of their evolutionary significance, but also because they could potentially be used as tools for genetic manipulation in biotechnology and for gene therapy. This review summarizes what is known about the splicing mechanisms and mobility of bacterial group II introns, and describes the recent development of group II intron-based gene-targetting methods. Bacterial group II intron diversity, evolutionary relationships, and behaviour in bacteria are also discussed. PMID:17374133

  8. Low Selection Pressure Aids the Evolution of Cooperative Ribozyme Mutations in Cells*

    PubMed Central

    Amini, Zhaleh N.; Müller, Ulrich F.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of functional RNA molecules is important for our molecular understanding of biology. Here we tested experimentally how two evolutionary parameters, selection pressure and recombination, influenced the evolution of an evolving RNA population. This was done using four parallel evolution experiments that employed low or gradually increasing selection pressure, and recombination events either at the end or dispersed throughout the evolution. As model system, a trans-splicing group I intron ribozyme was evolved in Escherichia coli cells over 12 rounds of selection and amplification, including mutagenesis and recombination. The low selection pressure resulted in higher efficiency of the evolved ribozyme populations, whereas differences in recombination did not have a strong effect. Five mutations were responsible for the highest efficiency. The first mutation swept quickly through all four evolving populations, whereas the remaining four mutations accumulated later and more efficiently under low selection pressure. To determine why low selection pressure aided this evolution, all evolutionary intermediates between the wild type and the 5-mutation variant were constructed, and their activities at three different selection pressures were determined. The resulting fitness profiles showed a high cooperativity among the four late mutations, which can explain why high selection pressure led to inefficient evolution. These results show experimentally how low selection pressure can benefit the evolution of cooperative mutations in functional RNAs. PMID:24089519

  9. Exploring purine N7 interactions via atomic mutagenesis: The group I ribozyme as a case study

    PubMed Central

    Forconi, Marcello; Benz-Moy, Tara; Gleitsman, Kristin Rule; Ruben, Eliza; Metz, Clyde; Herschlag, Daniel

    2012-01-01

    Atomic mutagenesis has emerged as a powerful tool to unravel specific interactions in complex RNA molecules. An early extensive study of analogs of the exogenous guanosine nucleophile in group I intron self-splicing by Bass and Cech demonstrated structure–function relationships analogous to those seen for protein ligands and provided strong evidence for a well-formed substrate binding site made of RNA. Subsequent functional and structural studies have confirmed these interacting sites and extended our understanding of them, with one notable exception. Whereas 7-methyl guanosine did not affect reactivity in the original study, a subsequent study revealed a deleterious effect of the seemingly more conservative 7-deaza substitution. Here we investigate this paradox, studying these and other analogs with the more thoroughly characterized ribozyme derived from the Tetrahymena group I intron. We found that the 7-deaza substitution lowers binding by ∼20-fold, relative to the cognate exogenous guanosine nucleophile, whereas binding and reaction with 7-methyl and 8-aza-7-deaza substitutions have no effect. These and additional results suggest that there is no functionally important contact between the N7 atom of the exogenous guanosine and the ribozyme. Rather, they are consistent with indirect effects introduced by the N7 substitution on stacking interactions and/or solvation that are important for binding. The set of analogs used herein should be valuable in deciphering nucleic acid interactions and how they change through reaction cycles for other RNAs and RNA/protein complexes. PMID:22543863

  10. Splicing Programs and Cancer

    PubMed Central

    Germann, Sophie; Gratadou, Lise; Dutertre, Martin; Auboeuf, Didier

    2012-01-01

    Numerous studies report splicing alterations in a multitude of cancers by using gene-by-gene analysis. However, understanding of the role of alternative splicing in cancer is now reaching a new level, thanks to the use of novel technologies allowing the analysis of splicing at a large-scale level. Genome-wide analyses of alternative splicing indicate that splicing alterations can affect the products of gene networks involved in key cellular programs. In addition, many splicing variants identified as being misregulated in cancer are expressed in normal tissues. These observations suggest that splicing programs contribute to specific cellular programs that are altered during cancer initiation and progression. Supporting this model, recent studies have identified splicing factors controlling cancer-associated splicing programs. The characterization of splicing programs and their regulation by splicing factors will allow a better understanding of the genetic mechanisms involved in cancer initiation and progression and the development of new therapeutic targets. PMID:22132318

  11. Biochemical analysis of hatchet self-cleaving ribozymes

    PubMed Central

    Li, Sanshu; Lünse, Christina E.; Harris, Kimberly A.; Breaker, Ronald R.

    2015-01-01

    Hatchet RNAs are members of a novel self-cleaving ribozyme class that was recently discovered by using a bioinformatics search strategy. The consensus sequence and secondary structure of this class includes 13 highly conserved and numerous other modestly conserved nucleotides interspersed among bulges linking four base-paired substructures. A representative hatchet ribozyme from a metagenomic source requires divalent ions such as Mg2+ to promote RNA strand scission with a maximum rate constant of ∼4 min−1. As with all other small self-cleaving ribozymes discovered to date, hatchet ribozymes employ a general mechanism for catalysis involving the nucleophilic attack of a ribose 2′-oxygen atom on an adjacent phosphorus center. Kinetic characteristics of the reaction demonstrate that members of this ribozyme class have an essential requirement for divalent metal ions and that they might have a complex active site that employs multiple catalytic strategies to accelerate RNA cleavage by internal phosphoester transfer. PMID:26385510

  12. Conformational heterogeneity at position U37 of an all-RNA hairpin ribozyme with implications for metal binding and the catalytic structure of the S-turn.

    PubMed

    Alam, Shabnam; Grum-Tokars, Valerie; Krucinska, Jolanta; Kundracik, Melisa L; Wedekind, Joseph E

    2005-11-01

    The hairpin ribozyme is an RNA enzyme that performs site-specific phosphodiester bond cleavage between nucleotides A-1 and G+1 within its cognate substrate. Previous functional studies revealed that the minimal hairpin ribozyme exhibited "gain-of-function" cleavage properties resulting from U39C or U39 to propyl linker (C3) modifications. Furthermore, each "mutant" displayed different magnesium-dependence in its activity. To investigate the molecular basis for these gain-of-function variants, crystal structures of minimal, junctionless hairpin ribozymes were solved in native (U39), and mutant U39C and U39(C3) forms. The results revealed an overall molecular architecture comprising two docked internal loop domains folded into a wishbone shape, whose tertiary interface forms a sequestered active site. All three minimal hairpin ribozymes bound Co(NH(3))(6)(3+) at G21/A40, the E-loop/S-turn boundary. The native structure also showed that U37 of the S-turn adopts both sequestered and exposed conformations that differ by a maximum displacement of 13 A. In the sequestered form, the U37 base packs against G36, and its 2'-hydroxyl group forms a water mediated hydrogen bond to O4' of G+1. These interactions were not observed in previous four-way-junction hairpin ribozyme structures due to crystal contacts with the U1A splicing protein. Interestingly, the U39C and U39(C3) mutations shifted the equilibrium conformation of U37 into the sequestered form through formation of new hydrogen bonds in the S-turn, proximal to the essential nucleotide A38. A comparison of all three new structures has implications for the catalytically relevant conformation of the S-turn and suggests a rationale for the distinctive metal dependence of each mutant. PMID:16262240

  13. Engineering a ribozyme cleavage-induced split fluorescent aptamer complementation assay.

    PubMed

    Ausländer, Simon; Fuchs, David; Hürlemann, Samuel; Ausländer, David; Fussenegger, Martin

    2016-06-01

    Hammerhead ribozymes are self-cleaving RNA molecules capable of regulating gene expression in living cells. Their cleavage performance is strongly influenced by intra-molecular loop-loop interactions, a feature not readily accessible through modern prediction algorithms. Ribozyme engineering and efficient implementation of ribozyme-based genetic switches requires detailed knowledge of individual self-cleavage performances. By rational design, we devised fluorescent aptamer-ribozyme RNA architectures that allow for the real-time measurement of ribozyme self-cleavage activity in vitro The engineered nucleic acid molecules implement a split Spinach aptamer sequence that is made accessible for strand displacement upon ribozyme self-cleavage, thereby complementing the fluorescent Spinach aptamer. This fully RNA-based ribozyme performance assay correlates ribozyme cleavage activity with Spinach fluorescence to provide a rapid and straightforward technology for the validation of loop-loop interactions in hammerhead ribozymes. PMID:26939886

  14. Engineering a ribozyme cleavage-induced split fluorescent aptamer complementation assay

    PubMed Central

    Ausländer, Simon; Fuchs, David; Hürlemann, Samuel; Ausländer, David; Fussenegger, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Hammerhead ribozymes are self-cleaving RNA molecules capable of regulating gene expression in living cells. Their cleavage performance is strongly influenced by intra-molecular loop–loop interactions, a feature not readily accessible through modern prediction algorithms. Ribozyme engineering and efficient implementation of ribozyme-based genetic switches requires detailed knowledge of individual self-cleavage performances. By rational design, we devised fluorescent aptamer-ribozyme RNA architectures that allow for the real-time measurement of ribozyme self-cleavage activity in vitro. The engineered nucleic acid molecules implement a split Spinach aptamer sequence that is made accessible for strand displacement upon ribozyme self-cleavage, thereby complementing the fluorescent Spinach aptamer. This fully RNA-based ribozyme performance assay correlates ribozyme cleavage activity with Spinach fluorescence to provide a rapid and straightforward technology for the validation of loop–loop interactions in hammerhead ribozymes. PMID:26939886

  15. Intermolecular domain docking in the hairpin ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Sumita, Minako; White, Neil A.; Julien, Kristine R.; Hoogstraten, Charles G.

    2013-01-01

    The hairpin ribozyme is a prototype small, self-cleaving RNA motif. It exists naturally as a four-way RNA junction containing two internal loops on adjoining arms. These two loops interact in a cation-driven docking step prior to chemical catalysis to form a tightly integrated structure, with dramatic changes occurring in the conformation of each loop upon docking. We investigate the thermodynamics and kinetics of the docking process using constructs in which loop A and loop B reside on separate molecules. Using a novel CD difference assay to isolate the effects of metal ions linked to domain docking, we find the intermolecular docking process to be driven by sub-millimolar concentrations of the exchange-inert Co(NH3)63+. RNA self-cleavage requires binding of lower-affinity ions with greater apparent cooperativity than the docking process itself, implying that, even in the absence of direct coordination to RNA, metal ions play a catalytic role in hairpin ribozyme function beyond simply driving loop-loop docking. Surface plasmon resonance assays reveal remarkably slow molecular association, given the relatively tight loop-loop interaction. This observation is consistent with a “double conformational capture” model in which only collisions between loop A and loop B molecules that are simultaneously in minor, docking-competent conformations are productive for binding. PMID:23324606

  16. Molecular Crowding Accelerates Ribozyme Docking and Catalysis

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    All biological processes take place in highly crowded cellular environments. However, the effect that molecular crowding agents have on the folding and catalytic properties of RNA molecules remains largely unknown. Here, we have combined single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) and bulk cleavage assays to determine the effect of a molecular crowding agents on the folding and catalysis of a model RNA enzyme, the hairpin ribozyme. Our single-molecule data reveal that PEG favors the formation of the docked (active) structure by increasing the docking rate constant with increasing PEG concentrations. Furthermore, Mg2+ ion-induced folding in the presence of PEG occurs at concentrations ∼7-fold lower than in the absence of PEG, near the physiological range (∼1 mM). Lastly, bulk cleavage assays in the presence of the crowding agent show that the ribozyme’s activity increases while the heterogeneity decreases. Our data is consistent with the idea that molecular crowding plays an important role in the stabilization of ribozyme active conformations in vivo. PMID:25399908

  17. Chemistry and Biology of Self-Cleaving Ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Jimenez, Randi M; Polanco, Julio A; Lupták, Andrej

    2015-11-01

    Self-cleaving ribozymes were discovered 30 years ago, but their biological distribution and catalytic mechanisms are only beginning to be defined. Each ribozyme family is defined by a distinct structure, with unique active sites accelerating the same transesterification reaction across the families. Biochemical studies show that general acid-base catalysis is the most common mechanism of self-cleavage, but metal ions and metabolites can be used as cofactors. Ribozymes have been discovered in highly diverse genomic contexts throughout nature, from viroids to vertebrates. Their biological roles include self-scission during rolling-circle replication of RNA genomes, co-transcriptional processing of retrotransposons, and metabolite-dependent gene expression regulation in bacteria. Other examples, including highly conserved mammalian ribozymes, suggest that many new biological roles are yet to be discovered. PMID:26481500

  18. Structure and Mechanism of the glmS Ribozyme

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soukup, Juliane K.; Soukup, Garrett A.

    The self-cleaving glmS ribozyme is a mechanistically unique functional RNA in the category of riboswitches and RNA catalysts. Its catalytic activity provides the basis of genetic regulation and depends upon glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) as a coenzyme. Substantial biochemical and biophysical data relating to the structure and function of the glmS ribozyme has been amassed in a relatively short period of time since its discovery. A precise and comprehensive mechanistic understanding of coenzyme function in glmS ribozyme self-cleavage has however not been elaborated. Here, evidence regarding the structure and function of the glmS ribozyme is carefully weighed to provide a comprehensive mechanistic model of coenzyme action in acid-base catalysis at the enzyme's active site.

  19. A ribozyme that triphosphorylates RNA 5′-hydroxyl groups

    PubMed Central

    Moretti, Janina E.; Müller, Ulrich F.

    2014-01-01

    The RNA world hypothesis describes a stage in the early evolution of life in which RNA served as genome and as the only genome-encoded catalyst. To test whether RNA world organisms could have used cyclic trimetaphosphate as an energy source, we developed an in vitro selection strategy for isolating ribozymes that catalyze the triphosphorylation of RNA 5′-hydroxyl groups with trimetaphosphate. Several active sequences were isolated, and one ribozyme was analyzed in more detail. The ribozyme was truncated to 96 nt, while retaining full activity. It was converted to a trans-format and reacted with rates of 0.16 min−1 under optimal conditions. The secondary structure appears to contain a four-helical junction motif. This study showed that ribozymes can use trimetaphosphate to triphosphorylate RNA 5′-hydroxyl groups and suggested that RNA world organisms could have used trimetaphosphate as their energy source. PMID:24452796

  20. Controlling mammalian gene expression by allosteric hepatitis delta virus ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Nomura, Yoko; Zhou, Linlin; Miu, Anh; Yokobayashi, Yohei

    2013-12-20

    We engineered small molecule responsive allosteric ribozymes based on the genomic hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme by replacing the P4-L4 stem-loop with an RNA aptamer through a connector stem. When embedded in the 3' untranslated region of a reporter gene mRNA, these RNA devices enabled regulation of cis-gene expression by theophylline and guanine by up to 29.5-fold in mammalian cell culture. Furthermore, a NOR logic gate device was constructed by placing two engineered ribozymes in tandem, demonstrating the modularity of the RNA devices. The significant improvement in the regulatory dynamic range (ON/OFF ratio) of the RNA devices based on the HDV ribozyme should provide new opportunities for practical applications. PMID:23697539

  1. Oligonucleotide facilitators may inhibit or activate a hammerhead ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Jankowsky, E; Schwenzer, B

    1996-01-01

    Facilitators are oligonucleotides capable of affecting hammerhead ribozyme activity by interacting with the substrate at the termini of the ribozyme. Facilitator effects were determined in vitro using a system consisting of a ribozyme with 7 nucleotides in every stem sequence and two substrates with inverted facilitator binding sequences. The effects of 9mer and 12mer RNA as well as DNA facilitators which bind either adjacent to the 3'- or 5'-end of the ribozyme were investigated. A kinetic model was developed which allows determination of the apparent dissociation constant of the ribozyme-substrate complex from single turnover reactions. We observed a decreased dissociation constant of the ribozyme-substrate complex due to facilitator addition corresponding to an additional stabilization energy of delta delta G=-1.7 kcal/mol with 3'-end facilitators. The cleavage rate constant was increased by 3'-end facilitators and decreased by 5'-end facilitators. Values for Km were slightly lowered by all facilitators and kcat was increased by 3'-end facilitators and decreased by 5'-end facilitators in our system. Generally the facilitator effects increased with the length of the facilitators and RNA provided greater effects than DNA of the same sequence. Results suggest facilitator influences on several steps of the hammerhead reaction, substrate association, cleavage and dissociation of products. Moreover, these effects are dependent in different manners on ribozyme and substrate concentration. This leads to the conclusion that there is a concentration dependence whether activation or inhibition is caused by facilitators. Conclusions are drawn with regard to the design of hammerhead ribozyme facilitator systems. PMID:8602353

  2. Dynamic signal processing by ribozyme-mediated RNA circuits to control gene expression

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Shensi; Rodrigo, Guillermo; Prakash, Satya; Majer, Eszter; Landrain, Thomas E.; Kirov, Boris; Daròs, José-Antonio; Jaramillo, Alfonso

    2015-01-01

    Organisms have different circuitries that allow converting signal molecule levels to changes in gene expression. An important challenge in synthetic biology involves the de novo design of RNA modules enabling dynamic signal processing in live cells. This requires a scalable methodology for sensing, transmission, and actuation, which could be assembled into larger signaling networks. Here, we present a biochemical strategy to design RNA-mediated signal transduction cascades able to sense small molecules and small RNAs. We design switchable functional RNA domains by using strand-displacement techniques. We experimentally characterize the molecular mechanism underlying our synthetic RNA signaling cascades, show the ability to regulate gene expression with transduced RNA signals, and describe the signal processing response of our systems to periodic forcing in single live cells. The engineered systems integrate RNA–RNA interaction with available ribozyme and aptamer elements, providing new ways to engineer arbitrary complex gene circuits. PMID:25916845

  3. Dynamic signal processing by ribozyme-mediated RNA circuits to control gene expression.

    PubMed

    Shen, Shensi; Rodrigo, Guillermo; Prakash, Satya; Majer, Eszter; Landrain, Thomas E; Kirov, Boris; Daròs, José-Antonio; Jaramillo, Alfonso

    2015-05-26

    Organisms have different circuitries that allow converting signal molecule levels to changes in gene expression. An important challenge in synthetic biology involves the de novo design of RNA modules enabling dynamic signal processing in live cells. This requires a scalable methodology for sensing, transmission, and actuation, which could be assembled into larger signaling networks. Here, we present a biochemical strategy to design RNA-mediated signal transduction cascades able to sense small molecules and small RNAs. We design switchable functional RNA domains by using strand-displacement techniques. We experimentally characterize the molecular mechanism underlying our synthetic RNA signaling cascades, show the ability to regulate gene expression with transduced RNA signals, and describe the signal processing response of our systems to periodic forcing in single live cells. The engineered systems integrate RNA-RNA interaction with available ribozyme and aptamer elements, providing new ways to engineer arbitrary complex gene circuits. PMID:25916845

  4. Crystallization and preliminary diffraction analysis of a group I ribozyme from bacteriophage Twort

    SciTech Connect

    Chase, Elaine; Golden, Barbara L.

    2005-01-01

    A group I self-splicing RNA has been synthesized and cocrystallized with a four-nucleotide product RNA. Iodination of the product RNA produces a heavy-atom derivative suitable for structure determination. Group I introns are catalytic RNAs that are capable of performing a variety of phosphotransesterification reactions including self-splicing and RNA cleavage. The reactions are efficient, accurate and dependent only on the presence of guanosine-nucleotide substrate and sufficient magnesium ion to stabilize the structure of the RNA. To understand how the group I intron active-site facilitates catalysis, crystals of a 242-nucleotide ribozyme bound to a four-nucleotide product RNA have been produced that diffract to 3.6 Å resolution. The space group of these crystals is I2{sub 1}2{sub 1}2{sub 1} and the unit-cell parameters are a = 94.6, b = 141.0, c = 210.9 Å. A single heavy-atom derivative has been synthesized by covalent modification of the product RNA with iodine.

  5. Structural basis for heterogeneous kinetics: Reengineering the hairpin ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Esteban, José A.; Walter, Nils G.; Kotzorek, Gerd; Heckman, Joyce E.; Burke, John M.

    1998-01-01

    The RNA cleavage reaction catalyzed by the hairpin ribozyme shows biphasic kinetics, and chase experiments show that the slow phase of the reaction results from reversible substrate binding to an inactive conformational isomer. To investigate the structural basis for the heterogeneous kinetics, we have developed an enzymatic RNA modification method that selectively traps substrate bound to the inactive conformer and allows the two forms of the ribozyme-substrate complex to be separated and analyzed by using both physical and kinetic strategies. The inactive form of the complex was trapped by the addition of T4 RNA ligase to a cleavage reaction, resulting in covalent linkage of the 5′ end of the substrate to the 3′ end of the ribozyme and in selective and quantitative ablation of the slow kinetic phase of the reaction. This result indicates that the inactive form of the ribozyme-substrate complex can adopt a conformation in which helices 2 and 3 are coaxially stacked, whereas the active form does not have access to this conformation, because of a sharp bend at the helical junction that presumably is stabilized by inter-domain tertiary contacts required for catalytic activity. These results were used to improve the activity of the hairpin ribozyme by designing new interfaces between the two domains, one containing a non-nucleotidic orthobenzene linkage and the other replacing the two-way junction with a three-way junction. Each of these modified ribozymes preferentially adopts the active conformation and displays improved catalytic efficiency. PMID:9600922

  6. In vitro selection of adenine-dependent hairpin ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Meli, Marc; Vergne, Jacques; Maurel, Marie-Christine

    2003-03-14

    Adenine-dependent hairpin ribozymes were isolated by in vitro selection from a degenerated hairpin ribozyme population. Two new adenine-dependent ribozymes catalyze their own reversible cleavage in the presence of free adenine. Both aptamers have Mg(2+) requirements for adenine-assisted cleavage similar to the wild-type hairpin ribozyme. Cleavage kinetics studies in the presence of various other small molecules were compared. The data suggest that adenine does not induce RNA self-cleavage in the same manner for both aptamers. In addition, investigations of pH effects on catalytic rates show that both adenine-dependent aptamers are more active in basic conditions, suggesting that they use new acid/base catalytic strategies in which adenine could be involved directly. The discovery of hairpin ribozymes dependent on adenine for their reversible self-cleavage presents considerable biochemical and evolutionary interests because we show that RNA is able to use exogenous reactive molecules to enhance its own catalytic activity. Such a mechanism may have been a means by which the ribozymes of the RNA world enlarged their chemical repertoire. PMID:12519767

  7. Kinetic framework for ligation by an efficient RNA ligase ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Bergman, N H; Johnston, W K; Bartel, D P

    2000-03-21

    The class I RNA ligase ribozyme, isolated previously from random sequences, performs an efficient RNA ligation reaction. It ligates two substrate RNAs, promoting the attack of the 3'-hydroxyl of one substrate upon the 5'-triphosphate of the other substrate with release of pyrophosphate. This ligation reaction has similarities to the reaction catalyzed by RNA polymerases. Using data from steady-state kinetic measurements and pulse-chase/pH-jump experiments, we have constructed minimal kinetic frameworks for two versions of the class I ligase, named 207t and 210t. For both ligases, as well as for the self-ligating parent ribozyme, the rate constant for the chemical step (k(c)) is log-linear with pH in the range 5.7-8.0. At physiological pH, the k(c) is 100 min(-1), a value similar to those reported for the fastest naturally occurring ribozymes. At higher pH, product release is limiting for both 207t and 210t. The 210t ribozyme, with its faster product release, attains multiple-turnover rates (k(cat) = 360 min(-1), pH 9.0) exceeding those of 207t and other reported ribozyme reactions. The kinetic framework for the 210t ribozyme describes the limits of this catalysis and suggests how key steps can be targeted for improvement using design or combinatorial approaches. PMID:10715133

  8. A discontinuous hammerhead ribozyme embedded in a mammalian messenger RNA

    PubMed Central

    Martick, Monika; Horan, Lucas H.; Noller, Harry F.; Scott, William G.

    2008-01-01

    Structured RNAs embedded in the untranslated regions (UTRs) of messenger RNAs can regulate gene expression. In bacteria, control of a metabolite gene is mediated by the self-cleaving activity of a ribozyme embedded in its 5′ UTR1. This discovery has raised the question of whether gene-regulating ribozymes also exist in eukaryotic mRNAs. Here we show that highly active hammerhead ribozymes2,3 are present in the 3′ UTRs of rodent C-type lectin type II (Clec2) genes4–7. Using a hammerhead RNA motif search with relaxed delimitation of the non-conserved regions, we detected ribozyme sequences in which the invariant regions, in contrast to the previously identified continuous hammerheads8–10, occur as two fragments separated by hundreds of nucleotides. Notably, a fragment pair can assemble to form an active hammerhead ribozyme structure between the translation termination and the poly-adenylation signals within the 3′ UTR. We demonstrate that this hammerhead structure can self-cleave both in vitro and in vivo, and is able to reduce protein expression in mouse cells. These results indicate that an unrecognized mechanism of post-transcriptional gene regulation involving association of discontinuous ribozyme sequences within an mRNA may be modulating the expression of several CLEC2 proteins that function in bone remodelling and the immune response of several mammals. PMID:18615019

  9. Efficient Ligation of the Schistosoma Hammerhead Ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Canny, Marella D.; Jucker, Fiona M.; Pardi, Arthur

    2011-01-01

    The hammerhead ribozyme from Schistosoma mansoni is the best characterized of the natural hammerhead ribozymes. Biophysical, biochemical, and structural studies have shown that the formation of the loop-loop tertiary interaction between stems I and II alters the global folding, cleavage kinetics, and conformation of the catalytic core of this hammerhead, leading to a ribozyme that is readily cleaved under physiological conditions. This study investigates the ligation kinetics and the internal equilibrium between cleavage and ligation for the Schistosoma hammerhead. Single turnover kinetic studies on a construct where the ribozyme cleaves and ligates substrate(s) in trans showed up to 23% ligation when starting from fully cleaved products. This was achieved by a ~2,000-fold increase in the rate of ligation compared to a minimal hammerhead without the loop-loop tertiary interaction, yielding an internal equilibrium that ranges from 2–3 at physiological Mg2+ ion concentrations (0.1 –1 mM). Thus, the natural Schistosoma hammerhead ribozyme is almost as efficient at ligation as it is at cleavage. The results here are consistent with a model where formation of the loop-loop tertiary interaction leads to a higher population of catalytically active molecules, and where formation of this tertiary interaction has a much larger effect on the ligation than the cleavage activity of the Schistosoma hammerhead ribozyme. PMID:17319693

  10. Probabilistic simple splicing systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Selvarajoo, Mathuri; Heng, Fong Wan; Sarmin, Nor Haniza; Turaev, Sherzod

    2014-06-01

    A splicing system, one of the early theoretical models for DNA computing was introduced by Head in 1987. Splicing systems are based on the splicing operation which, informally, cuts two strings of DNA molecules at the specific recognition sites and attaches the prefix of the first string to the suffix of the second string, and the prefix of the second string to the suffix of the first string, thus yielding the new strings. For a specific type of splicing systems, namely the simple splicing systems, the recognition sites are the same for both strings of DNA molecules. It is known that splicing systems with finite sets of axioms and splicing rules only generate regular languages. Hence, different types of restrictions have been considered for splicing systems in order to increase their computational power. Recently, probabilistic splicing systems have been introduced where the probabilities are initially associated with the axioms, and the probabilities of the generated strings are computed from the probabilities of the initial strings. In this paper, some properties of probabilistic simple splicing systems are investigated. We prove that probabilistic simple splicing systems can also increase the computational power of the splicing languages generated.

  11. Alternative splicing of SV40 early pre-mRNA in vitro.

    PubMed Central

    van Santen, V L; Spritz, R A

    1986-01-01

    Simian virus 40 (SV40) early pre-mRNA is spliced using either of two alternative 5' splice sites and a common 3' splice site to produce two mRNAs that encode the T and t antigens. We have studied alternative splicing of SV40 early pre-mRNA in vitro using a HeLa cell nuclear extract. Synthetic SV40 early transcripts are processed to T and t antigen mRNAs in vitro. As in SV40-infected cells in vivo, cleavage at the T antigen 5' splice site is more efficient than cleavage at the t antigen 5' splice site in vitro, although both of these 5' splice sites are utilized relatively inefficiently in vitro. The ratio of cleavage at the T and t antigen 5' splice sites is not changed significantly by a number of alterations in the conditions under which the in vitro splicing reactions are carried out. Images PMID:3027668

  12. Inhibition of the hammerhead ribozyme by neomycin.

    PubMed Central

    Stage, T K; Hertel, K J; Uhlenbeck, O C

    1995-01-01

    A series of antibiotics was tested for stimulation or inhibition of the hammerhead ribozyme cleavage reaction. Neomycin was found to be a potent inhibitor of the reaction with a Kl of 13.5 microM. Two hammerheads with well-characterized kinetics were used to determine which steps in the reaction mechanism were inhibited by neomycin. The data suggest that neomycin interacts preferentially with the enzyme-substrate complex and that this interaction leads to a reduction in the cleavage rate by stabilizing the ground state of the complex and destabilizing the transition state of the cleavage step. A comparison of neomycin with other aminoglycosides and inhibitors of hammerhead cleavage implies that the ammonium ions of neomycin are important for the antibiotic-hammerhead interaction. PMID:7489494

  13. Folding pathways of the Tetrahymena ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Mitchell, David; Russell, Rick

    2014-01-01

    Like many structured RNAs, the Tetrahymena group I intron ribozyme folds through multiple pathways and intermediates. Under standard conditions in vitro, a small fraction reaches the native state (N) with kobs ≈ 0.6 min–1, while the remainder forms a long-lived misfolded conformation (M) thought to differ in topology. These alternative outcomes reflect a pathway that branches late in folding, after disruption of a trapped intermediate (Itrap). Here, we use catalytic activity to probe the folding transitions from Itrap to the native and misfolded states. We show that mutations predicted to weaken the core helix P3 do not increase the rate of folding from Itrap but they increase the fraction that reaches the native state rather than forming the misfolded state. Thus, P3 is disrupted during folding to the native state but not to the misfolded state, and P3 disruption occurs after the rate-limiting step. Interestingly, P3-strengthening mutants also increase native folding. Additional experiments show that these mutants are rapidly committed to folding to the native state, although they reach the native state with approximately the same rate constant as the wild-type ribozyme (~1 min–1). Thus, the P3-strengthening mutants populate a distinct pathway that includes at least one intermediate but avoids the M state, most likely because P3 and the correct topology are formed early. Our results highlight multiple pathways in RNA folding and illustrate how kinetic competitions between rapid events can have long-lasting effects because the ‘choice’ is enforced by energy barriers that grow larger as folding progresses. PMID:24747051

  14. Probing the interplay between the two steps of group I intron splicing: competition of exogenous guanosine with omega G.

    PubMed

    Zarrinkar, P P; Sullenger, B A

    1998-12-22

    One largely unexplored question about group I intron splicing is how the cleavage and ligation steps of the reaction are coordinated. We describe a simple in vitro trans-splicing model system in which both steps take place, including the exchange of ligands in the guanosine-binding site that must occur between the two steps. Using this model system, we show that the switch is accomplished by modulating the relative affinity of the binding site for the two ligands. While the terminal guanosine of the intron (omegaG) and exogenous guanosine compete for binding during the first step of splicing, no competition is apparent during the second step, when omegaG is bound tightly. These results help explain how the ribozyme orchestrates progression through the splicing reaction. In addition to providing a new tool to ask basic questions about RNA catalysis, the trans-splicing model system will also facilitate the development of therapeutically useful group I ribozymes that can repair mutant mRNAs. PMID:9922174

  15. Design of a ribozyme targeting human telomerase reverse transcriptase and cloning of it’s gene

    PubMed Central

    Hao, Zhi-Ming; Luo, Jin-Yan; Cheng, Jin; Wang, Quan-Yin; Yang, Guang-Xiao

    2003-01-01

    AIM: To design a hammerhead ribozyme targeting human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) and clone it’s gene for future use in the study of tumor gene therapy. METHODS: Using the software RNAstructure, the secondary structure of hTERT mRNA was predicted and the cleavage site of ribozyme was selected. A hammerhead ribozyme targeting this site was designed and bimolecular fold between the ribozyme and hTERT was predicted. The DNA encoding the ribozyme was synthesized and cloned into pGEMEX-1 and the sequence of the ribozyme gene was confirmed by DNA sequencing. RESULTS: Triplet GUC at 1742 of hTERT mRNA was chosen as the cleavage site of the ribozyme. The designed ribozyme was comprised of 22 nt catalytic core and 17 nt flanking sequence. Computer-aided prediction suggested that the ribozyme and hTERT mRNA could cofold into a proper conformation. Endonuclease restriction and DNA sequencing confirmed the correct insertion of the ribozyme gene into the vector pGEMEX-1. CONCLUSION: This fundamental work of successful designing and cloning of an anti-hTERT hammerhead ribozyme has paved the way for further study of inhibiting tumor cell growth by cleaving hTERT mRNA with ribozyme. PMID:12508361

  16. The evolution of spliced leader trans-splicing in nematodes.

    PubMed

    Pettitt, Jonathan; Harrison, Neale; Stansfield, Ian; Connolly, Bernadette; Müller, Berndt

    2010-08-01

    Spliced leader trans-splicing occurs in many primitive eukaryotes including nematodes. Most of our knowledge of trans-splicing in nematodes stems from the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans and relatives, and from work with Ascaris. Our investigation of spliced leader trans-splicing in distantly related Dorylaimia nematodes indicates that spliced-leader trans-splicing arose before the nematode phylum and suggests that the spliced leader RNA gene complements in extant nematodes have evolved from a common ancestor with a diverse set of spliced leader RNA genes. PMID:20659016

  17. Modulation of Group I Ribozyme Activity by Cationic Porphyrins

    PubMed Central

    Matsumura, Shigeyoshi; Ito, Tatsunobu; Tanaka, Takahiro; Furuta, Hiroyuki; Ikawa, Yoshiya

    2015-01-01

    The effects of cationic porphyrins on the catalytic activities of four group I ribozymes were investigated. A cationic porphyrin possessing four pyridinium moieties (pPyP) inhibited two group IC3 ribozymes (Syn Rz and Azo Rz) and a group IC1 ribozyme (Tet Rz). In the case of a group IA2 ribozyme (Td Rz), however, pPyP served not only as an inhibitor but also as an activator, and the effects of pPyP were dependent on its concentration. To analyze the structural and electronic factors determining the effects of pPyP on group I ribozymes, three cationic porphyrins (pPyNCP, pPyF4P, and TMPyP) were also examined. As interactions between small organic molecules and nucleic acids are attractive and important issues in biochemistry and biotechnology, this study contributes to the development of porphyrin-based molecules that can modulate functions of structured RNA molecules. PMID:25811638

  18. Biochemical analysis of pistol self-cleaving ribozymes

    PubMed Central

    Harris, Kimberly A.; Lünse, Christina E.; Li, Sanshu; Brewer, Kenneth I.; Breaker, Ronald R.

    2015-01-01

    Pistol RNAs are members of a distinct class of self-cleaving ribozymes that was recently discovered by using a bioinformatics search strategy. Several hundred pistol ribozymes share a consensus sequence including 10 highly conserved nucleotides and many other modestly conserved nucleotides associated with specific secondary structure features, including three base-paired stems and a pseudoknot. A representative pistol ribozyme from the bacterium Lysinibacillus sphaericus was found to promote RNA strand scission with a rate constant of ∼10 min−1 under physiological Mg2+ and pH conditions. The reaction proceeds via the nucleophilic attack of a 2′-oxygen atom on the adjacent phosphorus center, and thus adheres to the same general catalytic mechanism of internal phosphoester transfer as found with all other classes of natural self-cleaving ribozymes discovered to date. Analyses of the kinetic characteristics and the metal ion requirements of the cleavage reaction reveal that members of this ribozyme class likely use several catalytic strategies to promote the rapid cleavage of RNA. PMID:26385507

  19. Biochemical analysis of pistol self-cleaving ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Harris, Kimberly A; Lünse, Christina E; Li, Sanshu; Brewer, Kenneth I; Breaker, Ronald R

    2015-11-01

    Pistol RNAs are members of a distinct class of self-cleaving ribozymes that was recently discovered by using a bioinformatics search strategy. Several hundred pistol ribozymes share a consensus sequence including 10 highly conserved nucleotides and many other modestly conserved nucleotides associated with specific secondary structure features, including three base-paired stems and a pseudoknot. A representative pistol ribozyme from the bacterium Lysinibacillus sphaericus was found to promote RNA strand scission with a rate constant of ∼10 min(-1) under physiological Mg(2+) and pH conditions. The reaction proceeds via the nucleophilic attack of a 2'-oxygen atom on the adjacent phosphorus center, and thus adheres to the same general catalytic mechanism of internal phosphoester transfer as found with all other classes of natural self-cleaving ribozymes discovered to date. Analyses of the kinetic characteristics and the metal ion requirements of the cleavage reaction reveal that members of this ribozyme class likely use several catalytic strategies to promote the rapid cleavage of RNA. PMID:26385507

  20. Binding and cleavage of nucleic acids by the "hairpin" ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Chowrira, B M; Burke, J M

    1991-09-01

    The "hairpin" ribozyme derived from the minus strand of tobacco ringspot virus satellite RNA [(-)sTRSV] efficiently catalyzes sequence-specific RNA hydrolysis in trans (Feldstein et al., 1989; Hampel & Triz, 1989; Haseloff & Gerlach, 1989). The ribozyme does not cleave DNA. An RNA substrate analogue containing a single deoxyribonucleotide residue 5' to the cleavage site (A-1) binds to the ribozyme efficiently but cannot be cleaved. A DNA substrate analogue with a ribonucleotide at A-1 is cleaved; thus A-1 provides the only 2'-OH required for cleavage. These results support cleavage via a transphosphorylation mechanism initiated by attack of the 2'-OH of A-1 on the scissile phosphodiester. The ribozyme discriminates between DNA and RNA in both binding and cleavage. Results indicate that the 2'-OH of A-1 functions in complex stabilization as well as cleavage. The ribozyme efficiently cleaves a phosphorothioate diester linkage, suggesting that the pro-Rp oxygen at the scissile phosphodiester does not coordinate Mg2+. PMID:1909564

  1. In vitro evolution of a ribozyme that contains 5-bromouridine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dai, X.; Joyce, G. F.; Bada, J. L. (Principal Investigator)

    2000-01-01

    The Tetrahymena group I ribozyme was modified by replacing all 99 component uridine residues with 5-bromouridine. This resulted in a 13-fold reduction in catalytic efficiency in the RNA-catalyzed phosphoester-transfer reaction compared to the behavior of the unmodified ribozyme. A population of 10(13) variant ribozymes was constructed, each containing 5-bromouridine in place of uridine. Five successive 'generations' of in vitro evolution were carried out, selecting for improved phosphoester transferase activity. The evolved molecules exhibited a 27-fold increase in catalytic efficiency compared to the wild-type bromouridine-containing ribozyme, even exceeding that of the wild-type ribozyme in the non-brominated form. Three specific mutations were found to be responsible for this altered behavior. These mutations enhanced activity in the context of 5-bromouridine, but were detrimental in the context of unmodified uridine. The evolved RNAs not only tolerated but came to exploit the presence of the nucleotide analogue in carrying out their catalytic function.

  2. Splice-switching antisense oligonucleotides as therapeutic drugs.

    PubMed

    Havens, Mallory A; Hastings, Michelle L

    2016-08-19

    Splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) are short, synthetic, antisense, modified nucleic acids that base-pair with a pre-mRNA and disrupt the normal splicing repertoire of the transcript by blocking the RNA-RNA base-pairing or protein-RNA binding interactions that occur between components of the splicing machinery and the pre-mRNA. Splicing of pre-mRNA is required for the proper expression of the vast majority of protein-coding genes, and thus, targeting the process offers a means to manipulate protein production from a gene. Splicing modulation is particularly valuable in cases of disease caused by mutations that lead to disruption of normal splicing or when interfering with the normal splicing process of a gene transcript may be therapeutic. SSOs offer an effective and specific way to target and alter splicing in a therapeutic manner. Here, we discuss the different approaches used to target and alter pre-mRNA splicing with SSOs. We detail the modifications to the nucleic acids that make them promising therapeutics and discuss the challenges to creating effective SSO drugs. We highlight the development of SSOs designed to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy, which are currently being tested in clinical trials. PMID:27288447

  3. Cleavage of highly structured viral RNA molecules by combinatorial libraries of hairpin ribozymes. The most effective ribozymes are not predicted by substrate selection rules.

    PubMed

    Yu, Q; Pecchia, D B; Kingsley, S L; Heckman, J E; Burke, J M

    1998-09-01

    Combinatorial libraries of hairpin ribozymes representing all possible cleavage specificities (>10(5)) were used to evaluate all ribozyme cleavage sites within a large (4.2-kilobase) and highly structured viral mRNA, the 26 S subgenomic RNA of Sindbis virus. The combinatorial approach simultaneously accounts for target site structure and dynamics, together with ribozyme folding, and the sequences that result in a ribozyme-substrate complex with maximal activity. Primer extension was used to map and rank the relative activities of the ribozyme pool against individual sites and revealed two striking findings. First, only a small fraction of potential recognition sites are effectively cleaved (activity-selected sites). Second, nearly all of the most effectively cleaved sites deviated substantially from the established consensus selection rules for the hairpin ribozyme and were not predicted by examining the sequence, or through the use of computer-assisted predictions of RNA secondary structure. In vitro selection methods were used to isolate ribozymes with increased activity against substrates that deviate from the GUC consensus sequence. trans-Acting ribozymes targeting nine of the activity-selected sites were synthesized, together with ribozymes targeting four sites with a perfect match to the cleavage site consensus (sequence-selected sites). Activity-selected ribozymes have much higher cleavage activity against the long, structured RNA molecules than do sequence-selected ribozymes, although the latter are effective in cleaving oligoribonucleotides, as predicted. These results imply that, for Sindbis virus 26 S RNA, designing ribozymes based on matches to the consensus sequence may be an ineffective strategy. PMID:9722591

  4. Automated design of hammerhead ribozymes and validation by targeting the PABPN1 gene transcript

    PubMed Central

    Kharma, Nawwaf; Varin, Luc; Abu-Baker, Aida; Ouellet, Jonathan; Najeh, Sabrine; Ehdaeivand, Mohammad-Reza; Belmonte, Gabriel; Ambri, Anas; Rouleau, Guy; Perreault, Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    We present a new publicly accessible web-service, RiboSoft, which implements a comprehensive hammerhead ribozyme design procedure. It accepts as input a target sequence (and some design parameters) then generates a set of ranked hammerhead ribozymes, which target the input sequence. This paper describes the implemented procedure, which takes into consideration multiple objectives leading to a multi-objective ranking of the computer-generated ribozymes. Many ribozymes were assayed and validated, including four ribozymes targeting the transcript of a disease-causing gene (a mutant version of PABPN1). These four ribozymes were successfully tested in vitro and in vivo, for their ability to cleave the targeted transcript. The wet-lab positive results of the test are presented here demonstrating the real-world potential of both hammerhead ribozymes and RiboSoft. RiboSoft is freely available at the website http://ribosoft.fungalgenomics.ca/ribosoft/. PMID:26527730

  5. In-ice evolution of RNA polymerase ribozyme activity

    PubMed Central

    Attwater, James; Wochner, Aniela; Holliger, Philipp

    2014-01-01

    Mechanisms of molecular self-replication have the potential to shed light upon the origins of life. In particular, self-replication through RNA-catalysed templated RNA synthesis is thought to have supported a primordial ‘RNA World’. However, existing polymerase ribozymes lack the capacity to synthesise RNAs approaching their own size. Here we report the in vitro evolution of such catalysts directly in the RNA-stabilising medium of water-ice, which yielded RNA polymerase ribozymes specifically adapted to sub-zero temperatures and able to synthesise RNA in ices at temperatures as low as −19°C. Combination of cold-adaptive mutations with a previously described 5′ extension operating at ambient temperatures enabled the design of a first polymerase ribozyme capable of catalysing the accurate synthesis of an RNA sequence longer than itself (adding up to 206 nucleotides), an important stepping stone towards RNA self-replication. PMID:24256864

  6. Fluorescent RNA labeling using self-alkylating ribozymes.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Ashwani K; Plant, Joshua J; Rangel, Alexandra E; Meek, Kirsten N; Anamisis, April J; Hollien, Julie; Heemstra, Jennifer M

    2014-08-15

    The ability to fluorescently label specific RNA sequences is of significant utility for both in vitro and live cell applications. Currently, most RNA labeling methods utilize RNA-nucleic acid or RNA-protein molecular recognition. However, in the search for improved RNA labeling methods, harnessing the small-molecule recognition capabilities of RNA is rapidly emerging as a promising alternative. Along these lines, we propose a novel strategy in which a ribozyme acts to promote self-alkylation with a fluorophore, providing a robust, covalent linkage between the RNA and the fluorophore. Here we describe the selection and characterization of ribozymes that promote self-labeling with fluorescein iodoacetamide (FIA). Kinetic studies reveal a second-order rate constant that is on par with those of other reactions used for biomolecular labeling. Additionally, we demonstrate that labeling is specific to the ribozyme sequences, as FIA does not react nonspecifically with RNA. PMID:24896502

  7. Origins of the temperature dependence of hammerhead ribozyme catalysis.

    PubMed Central

    Peracchi, A

    1999-01-01

    The difficulties in interpreting the temperature dependence of protein enzyme reactions are well recognized. Here, the hammerhead ribozyme cleavage was investigated under single-turnover conditions between 0 and 60 degrees C as a model for RNA-catalyzed reactions. Under the adopted conditions, the chemical step appears to be rate-limiting. However, the observed rate of cleavage is affected by pre-catalytic equilibria involving deprotonation of an essential group and binding of at least one low-affinity Mg2+ion. Thus, the apparent entropy and enthalpy of activation include contributions from the temperature dependence of these equilibria, precluding a simple physical interpretation of the observed activation parameters. Similar pre-catalytic equilibria likely contribute to the observed activation parameters for ribozyme reactions in general. The Arrhenius plot for the hammerhead reaction is substantially curved over the temperature range considered, which suggests the occurrence of a conformational change of the ribozyme ground state around physiological temperatures. PMID:10390528

  8. Cross-ligation and exchange reactions catalyzed by hairpin ribozymes.

    PubMed Central

    Komatsu, Y; Koizumi, M; Sekiguchi, A; Ohtsuka, E

    1993-01-01

    The negative strand of the satellite RNA of tobacco ringspot virus (sTobRV(-)) contains a hairpin catalytic domain that shows self-cleavage and self-ligation activities in the presence of magnesium ions. We describe here that the minimal catalytic domain can catalyze a cross-ligation reaction between two kinds of substrates in trans. The cross-ligated product increased when the reaction temperature was decreased during the reaction from 37 degrees C to 4 degrees C. A two-stranded hairpin ribozyme, divided into two fragments between G45 and U46 in a hairpin loop, showed higher ligation activity than the nondivided ribozyme. The two stranded ribozyme also catalyzed an exchange reaction of the 3'-portion of the cleavage site. Images PMID:8441626

  9. Alternative Splicing in CKD.

    PubMed

    Stevens, Megan; Oltean, Sebastian

    2016-06-01

    Alternative splicing (AS) has emerged in the postgenomic era as one of the main drivers of proteome diversity, with ≥94% of multiexon genes alternatively spliced in humans. AS is therefore one of the main control mechanisms for cell phenotype, and is a process deregulated in disease. Numerous reports describe pathogenic mutations in splice factors, splice sites, or regulatory sequences. Additionally, compared with the physiologic state, disease often associates with an abnormal proportion of splice isoforms (or novel isoforms), without an apparent driver mutation. It is therefore essential to study how AS is regulated in physiology, how it contributes to pathogenesis, and whether we can manipulate faulty splicing for therapeutic advantage. Although the disease most commonly linked to deregulation of AS in several genes is cancer, many reports detail pathogenic splice variants in diseases ranging from neuromuscular disorders to diabetes or cardiomyopathies. A plethora of splice variants have been implicated in CKDs as well. In this review, we describe examples of these CKD-associated splice variants and ideas on how to manipulate them for therapeutic benefit. PMID:26763787

  10. Slow formation of a pseudoknot structure is rate limiting in the productive co-transcriptional folding of the self-splicing Candida intron.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Libin; Bao, Penghui; Leibowitz, Michael J; Zhang, Yi

    2009-11-01

    Pseudoknots play critical roles in packing the active structure of various functional RNAs. The importance of the P3-P7 pseudoknot in refolding of group I intron ribozymes has been recently appreciated, while little is known about the pseudoknot function in co-transcriptional folding. Here we used the Candida group I intron as a model to address the question. We show that co-transcriptional folding of the active self-splicing intron is twice as fast as refolding. The P3-P7 pseudoknot folds slowly during co-transcriptional folding at a rate constant similar to the folding of the active ribozyme, and folding of both P3-P7 and P1-P10 pseudoknots are inhibited by antisense oligonucleotides. We conclude that when RNA folding is coupled with transcription, formation of pseudoknot structures dominates the productive folding pathway and serves as a rate-limiting step in producing the self-splicing competent Candida intron. PMID:19710184

  11. Structural studies on an internal loop from a hairpin ribozyme

    SciTech Connect

    Cai, Z.; SantaLucia, J. Jr.; Tinoco, I. Jr.

    1994-12-01

    Ribozymes, RNA enzymes, catalyze site-specific RNA cleavage and ligation reactions. We are studying the three-dimensional structure of a hairpin ribozyme derived from the minus strand of tobacco ring spot virus satellite RNA ((-)sTRSV), which has been engineering to specifically cleave the HIV-1 RNA. The minimum structure for the catalytic reaction involves a 50-nucleotide ribozyme and a 14-nucleotide substrate. The proposed secondary structure of the ribozyme-substrate complex consists of four short helices separated by two internal loops. The relatively large size (64-nucleotide) of the ribozyme-substrate complex presents formidable problems in solving the structure using NMR. Therefore we are studying smaller structural subunits of the complex. We are determining the high resolution structure of the symmetric internal loop involving the cleavage site and the flanking helices. One strand of the internal loop was selectively {sup 13}C-labeled at C8 of each purine and C6 of each pyrimidine. By using {sup 13}C-edited two-dimensional NMR, the proton NOESY spectrum was greatly simplified. This allowed unambiguous sequential proton resonance assignments along each strand. Three-dimensional {sup 1}-{sup 13}C HMQC-NOESY was used to further facilitate resonance assignments. We are also enzymatically synthesizing the entire 50-nucleotide ribozyme and will combine it with the {sup 13}C-labeled substrate. Through comparison of the NOE connectivities of the labeled nucleotides from the internal loop alone with those from the entire complex, the differences between the two structures can be elucidated.

  12. Kinetic partitioning mechanism of HDV ribozyme folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Jiawen; Gong, Sha; Wang, Yujie; Zhang, Wenbing

    2014-01-01

    RNA folding kinetics is directly tied to RNA biological functions. We introduce here a new approach for predicting the folding kinetics of RNA secondary structure with pseudoknots. This approach is based on our previous established helix-based method for predicting the folding kinetics of RNA secondary structure. In this approach, the transition rates for an elementary step: (1) formation, (2) disruption of a helix stem, and (3) helix formation with concomitant partial melting of an incompatible helix, are calculated with the free energy landscape. The folding kinetics of the Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme and the mutated sequences are studied with this method. The folding pathways are identified by recursive searching the states with high net flux-in(out) population starting from the native state. The theory results are in good agreement with that of the experiments. The results indicate that the bi-phasic folding kinetics for the wt HDV sequence is ascribed to the kinetic partitioning mechanism: Part of the population will quickly fold to the native state along the fast pathway, while another part of the population will fold along the slow pathway, in which the population is trapped in a non-native state. Single mutation not only changes the folding rate but also the folding pathway.

  13. Kinetic partitioning mechanism of HDV ribozyme folding

    SciTech Connect

    Chen, Jiawen; Gong, Sha; Wang, Yujie; Zhang, Wenbing

    2014-01-14

    RNA folding kinetics is directly tied to RNA biological functions. We introduce here a new approach for predicting the folding kinetics of RNA secondary structure with pseudoknots. This approach is based on our previous established helix-based method for predicting the folding kinetics of RNA secondary structure. In this approach, the transition rates for an elementary step: (1) formation, (2) disruption of a helix stem, and (3) helix formation with concomitant partial melting of an incompatible helix, are calculated with the free energy landscape. The folding kinetics of the Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme and the mutated sequences are studied with this method. The folding pathways are identified by recursive searching the states with high net flux-in(out) population starting from the native state. The theory results are in good agreement with that of the experiments. The results indicate that the bi-phasic folding kinetics for the wt HDV sequence is ascribed to the kinetic partitioning mechanism: Part of the population will quickly fold to the native state along the fast pathway, while another part of the population will fold along the slow pathway, in which the population is trapped in a non-native state. Single mutation not only changes the folding rate but also the folding pathway.

  14. Engineering of ribozyme-based aminoglycoside switches of gene expression by in vivo genetic selection in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Klauser, Benedikt; Rehm, Charlotte; Summerer, Daniel; Hartig, Jörg S

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic RNA-based switches are a growing class of genetic controllers applied in synthetic biology to engineer cellular functions. In this chapter, we detail a protocol for the selection of posttranscriptional controllers of gene expression in yeast using the Schistosoma mansoni hammerhead ribozyme as a central catalytic unit. Incorporation of a small molecule-sensing aptamer domain into the ribozyme renders its activity ligand-dependent. Aptazymes display numerous advantages over conventional protein-based transcriptional controllers, namely, the use of little genomic space for encryption, their modular architecture allowing for easy reprogramming to new inputs, the physical linkage to the message to be controlled, and the ability to function without protein cofactors. Herein, we describe the method to select ribozyme-based switches of gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that we successfully implemented to engineer neomycin- and theophylline-responsive switches. We also highlight how to adapt the protocol to screen for switches responsive to other ligands. Reprogramming of the sensor unit and incorporation into any RNA of interest enables the fulfillment of a variety of regulatory functions. However, proper functioning of the aptazyme is largely dependent on optimal connection between the aptamer and the catalytic core. We obtained functional switches from a pool of variants carrying randomized connection sequences by an in vivo selection in MaV203 yeast cells that allows screening of a large sequence space of up to 1×10(9) variants. The protocol given explains how to construct aptazyme libraries, carry out the in vivo selection and characterize novel ON- and OFF-switches. PMID:25605392

  15. Enhanced group II intron retrohoming in magnesium-deficient Escherichia coli via selection of mutations in the ribozyme core

    PubMed Central

    Truong, David M.; Sidote, David J.; Russell, Rick; Lambowitz, Alan M.

    2013-01-01

    Mobile group II introns are bacterial retrotransposons thought to be evolutionary ancestors of spliceosomal introns and retroelements in eukaryotes. They consist of a catalytically active intron RNA (“ribozyme”) and an intron-encoded reverse transcriptase, which function together to promote RNA splicing and intron mobility via reverse splicing of the intron RNA into new DNA sites (“retrohoming”). Although group II introns are active in bacteria, their natural hosts, they function inefficiently in eukaryotes, where lower free Mg2+ concentrations decrease their ribozyme activity and constitute a natural barrier to group II intron proliferation within nuclear genomes. Here, we show that retrohoming of the Ll.LtrB group II intron is strongly inhibited in an Escherichia coli mutant lacking the Mg2+ transporter MgtA, and we use this system to select mutations in catalytic core domain V (DV) that partially rescue retrohoming at low Mg2+ concentrations. We thus identified mutations in the distal stem of DV that increase retrohoming efficiency in the MgtA mutant up to 22-fold. Biochemical assays of splicing and reverse splicing indicate that the mutations increase the fraction of intron RNA that folds into an active conformation at low Mg2+ concentrations, and terbium-cleavage assays suggest that this increase is due to enhanced Mg2+ binding to the distal stem of DV. Our findings indicate that DV is involved in a critical Mg2+-dependent RNA folding step in group II introns and demonstrate the feasibility of selecting intron variants that function more efficiently at low Mg2+ concentrations, with implications for evolution and potential applications in gene targeting. PMID:24043808

  16. Computational Mutagenesis Studies of Hammerhead Ribozyme Catalysis

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Tai-Sung; York, Darrin M.

    2010-01-01

    Computational studies of the mutational effects at the C3, G8, and G5 positions of the hammerhead ribozyme (HHR) are reported based on a series of twenty four 100-ns molecular dynamics simulations of the native and mutated HHR in the reactant state and in an activated precursor state (G8:2′OH deprotonated). Invoking the assumptions that G12 acts as the general base while the 2′OH of G8 acts as a general acid, the simulations are able to explain the origins of experimentally observed mutational effects, including several that are not easily inferred from the crystal structure. Simulations suggest that the Watson-Crick base-pairing between G8 and C3, the hydrogen bond network between C17 and G5, and the base stacking interactions between G8 and C1.1, collectively, are key to maintaining an active site structure conducive for catalytic activity. Mutation-induced disruption of any of these interactions will adversely affect activity. The simulation results predict that the C3U/G8D double mutant, where D is 2,6-diaminopurine, will have a rescue effect relative to the corresponding single mutations. Two general conclusions about the simulations emerge from this work. Firstly, mutation simulations may require 30 ns or more to suitably relax such that the mutational effects become apparent. Secondly, in some cases, it is necessary to look beyond the reactant state in order to interpret mutational effects in terms of catalytically active structure. The present simulation results lead to better understanding of the origin of experimental mutational effects, and provide insight into the key conserved features necessary to maintain the integrity of the active site architecture. PMID:20812715

  17. Amplification of RNA by an RNA polymerase ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Horning, David P; Joyce, Gerald F

    2016-08-30

    In all extant life, genetic information is stored in nucleic acids that are replicated by polymerase proteins. In the hypothesized RNA world, before the evolution of genetically encoded proteins, ancestral organisms contained RNA genes that were replicated by an RNA polymerase ribozyme. In an effort toward reconstructing RNA-based life in the laboratory, in vitro evolution was used to improve dramatically the activity and generality of an RNA polymerase ribozyme by selecting variants that can synthesize functional RNA molecules from an RNA template. The improved polymerase ribozyme is able to synthesize a variety of complex structured RNAs, including aptamers, ribozymes, and, in low yield, even tRNA. Furthermore, the polymerase can replicate nucleic acids, amplifying short RNA templates by more than 10,000-fold in an RNA-catalyzed form of the PCR. Thus, the two prerequisites of Darwinian life-the replication of genetic information and its conversion into functional molecules-can now be accomplished with RNA in the complete absence of proteins. PMID:27528667

  18. Evolution in vitro: analysis of a lineage of ribozymes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lehman, N.; Joyce, G. F.

    1993-01-01

    Background: Catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, possessing both a genotype and a phenotype, are ideal molecules for evolution experiments in vitro. A large, heterogeneous pool of RNAs can be subjected to multiple rounds of selection, amplification and mutation, leading to the development of variants that have some desired phenotype. Such experiments allow the investigator to correlate specific genetic changes with quantifiable alterations of the catalytic properties of the RNA. In addition, patterns of evolutionary change can be discerned through a detailed examination of the genotypic composition of the evolving RNA population. Results: Beginning with a pool of 10(13) variants of the Tetrahymena ribozyme, we carried out in vitro evolution experiments that led to the generation of ribozymes with the ability to cleave an RNA substrate in the presence of Ca2+ ions, an activity that does not exist for the wild-type molecule. Over the course of 12 generations, a seven-error variant emerged that has substantial Ca(2+)-dependent RNA-cleavage activity. Advantageous mutations increased in frequency in the population according to three distinct dynamics--logarithmic, linear and transient. Through a comparative analysis of 31 individual variants, we infer how certain mutations influence the catalytic properties of the ribozyme. Conclusions: In vitro evolution experiments make it possible to elucidate important aspects of both evolutionary biology and structural biochemistry on a reasonable short time scale.

  19. A Hairpin Ribozyme Inhibits Expression of Diverse Strains of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Mang; Ojwang, Joshua; Yamada, Osamu; Hampel, Arnold; Rapapport, Jay; Looney, David; Wong-Staal, Flossie

    1993-07-01

    Ribozymes have enormous potential as antiviral agents. We have previously reported that a hairpin ribozyme expressed under the control of the β-actin promoter that cleaves human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA in the leader sequence can inhibit HIV-1 (pHXB2gpt) expression. For such a ribozyme in a retroviral vector delivery system to be useful in gene therapy for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, it must be able to inhibit the expression of multiple HIV-1 strains. We have now cloned this ribozyme into various regular expression vectors (including retroviral vectors) by using various gene expression control strategies. Here we show by transient transfection that inhibition of expression of diverse strains of HIV-1 can be achieved by this ribozyme expressed in the proper vectors. These data further support the potential of this hairpin ribozyme as a therapeutic agent for HIV-1.

  20. Alternative splicing of a group II intron in a surface layer protein gene in Clostridium tetani.

    PubMed

    McNeil, Bonnie A; Simon, Dawn M; Zimmerly, Steven

    2014-02-01

    Group II introns are ribozymes and retroelements found in bacteria, and are thought to have been the ancestors of nuclear pre-mRNA introns. Whereas nuclear introns undergo prolific alternative splicing in some species, group II introns are not known to carry out equivalent reactions. Here we report a group II intron in the human pathogen Clostridium tetani, which undergoes four alternative splicing reactions in vivo. Together with unspliced transcript, five mRNAs are produced, each encoding a distinct surface layer protein isoform. Correct fusion of exon reading frames requires a shifted 5' splice site located 8 nt upstream of the canonical boundary motif. The shifted junction is accomplished by an altered IBS1-EBS1 pairing between the intron and 5' exon. Growth of C. tetani under a variety of conditions did not result in large changes in alternative splicing levels, raising the possibility that alternative splicing is constitutive. This work demonstrates a novel type of gene organization and regulation in bacteria, and provides an additional parallel between group II and nuclear pre-mRNA introns. PMID:24214997

  1. Thiolated uridine substrates and templates improve the rate and fidelity of ribozyme-catalyzed RNA copying.

    PubMed

    Prywes, Noam; Michaels, Yale S; Pal, Ayan; Oh, Seung Soo; Szostak, Jack W

    2016-05-01

    Ribozyme-catalyzed RNA polymerization is inefficient and error prone. Here we demonstrate that two alternative bases, 2-thio-uridine (s(2)U) and 2-thio-ribo-thymidine (s(2)T), improve the rate and fidelity of ribozyme catalyzed nucleotide addition as NTP substrates and as template bases. We also demonstrate the functionality of s(2)U and s(2)T-containing ribozymes. PMID:27109314

  2. Electrical-splicing connector

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stringer, E. J.

    1977-01-01

    Connection can be made without removing insulation, and connector case insulates splice. Device can be made in various sizes and saves time, especially when working on prototype boards with several interconnecting test leads.

  3. Secondary structure confirmation and localization of Mg2+ ions in the mammalian CPEB3 ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Skilandat, Miriam; Rowinska-Zyrek, Magdalena; Sigel, Roland K O

    2016-05-01

    Most of today's knowledge of the CPEB3 ribozyme, one of the few small self-cleaving ribozymes known to occur in humans, is based on comparative studies with the hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme, which is highly similar in cleavage mechanism and probably also in structure. Here we present detailed NMR studies of the CPEB3 ribozyme in order to verify the formation of the predicted nested double pseudoknot in solution. In particular, the influence of Mg(2+), the ribozyme's crucial cofactor, on the CPEB3 structure is investigated. NMR titrations, Tb(3+)-induced cleavage, as well as stoichiometry determination by hydroxyquinoline sulfonic acid fluorescence and equilibrium dialysis, are used to evaluate the number, location, and binding mode of Mg(2+)ions. Up to eight Mg(2+)ions interact site-specifically with the ribozyme, four of which are bound with high affinity. The global fold of the CPEB3 ribozyme, encompassing 80%-90% of the predicted base pairs, is formed in the presence of monovalent ions alone. Low millimolar concentrations of Mg(2+)promote a more compact fold and lead to the formation of additional structures in the core of the ribozyme, which contains the inner small pseudoknot and the active site. Several Mg(2+)binding sites, which are important for the functional fold, appear to be located in corresponding locations in the HDV and CPEB3 ribozyme, demonstrating the particular relevance of Mg(2+)for the nested double pseudoknot structure. PMID:26966151

  4. In vitro selection of allosteric ribozymes that sense the bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP.

    PubMed

    Furukawa, Kazuhiro; Gu, Hongzhou; Breaker, Ronald R

    2014-01-01

    Recently, a number of study have shown the ligand-dependent allosteric ribozymes can be harnessed as biosensors, high-throughput screening, and agents for the control of gene expression in vivo, called artificial riboswitches. In this chapter, we describe how in vitro selection can be used to create an allosteric ribozyme that senses bacterial second messenger cyclic-di-GMP (c-di-GMP). A hammerhead ribozyme was joined to a natural c-di-GMP class I riboswitch aptamer via communication modules. Both c-di-GMP-activating and -inhibiting ribozyme can be obtained by this approach. PMID:24549622

  5. Development of Therapeutic Splice-Switching Oligonucleotides

    PubMed Central

    Kryczka, Adrianna; Liu, Yuqi; Badi, Yusef E.; Wong, Jessie J.; Owen, James S.; Khoo, Bernard

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Synthetic splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) target nuclear pre-mRNA molecules to change exon splicing and generate an alternative protein isoform. Clinical trials with two competitive SSO drugs are underway to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Beyond DMD, many additional therapeutic applications are possible, with some in phase 1 clinical trials or advanced preclinical evaluation. Here, we present an overview of the central factors involved in developing therapeutic SSOs for the treatment of diseases. The selection of susceptible pre-mRNA target sequences, as well as the design and chemical modification of SSOs to increase SSO stability and effectiveness, are key initial considerations. Identification of effective SSO target sequences is still largely empirical and published guidelines are not a universal guarantee for success. Specifically, exon-targeted SSOs, which are successful in modifying dystrophin splicing, can be ineffective for splice-switching in other contexts. Chemical modifications, importantly, are associated with certain characteristic toxicities, which need to be addressed as target diseases require chronic treatment with SSOs. Moreover, SSO delivery in adequate quantities to the nucleus of target cells without toxicity can prove difficult. Last, the means by which these SSOs are administered needs to be acceptable to the patient. Engineering an efficient therapeutic SSO, therefore, necessarily entails a compromise between desirable qualities and effectiveness. Here, we describe how the application of optimal solutions may differ from case to case. PMID:24826963

  6. Differential gene expression and alternative splicing between diploid and tetraploid watermelon lines

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Synthetic tetraploid plants have been used for production of seedless triploid watermelon lines being pollinated with diploid plants. When compared to their diploid or triploid counterparts, the tetraploid exhibit wide phenotypic differences. Though many factors, including alternative splicing (AS),...

  7. Ribozyme Catalysis with a Twist: Active State of the Twister Ribozyme in Solution Predicted from Molecular Simulation.

    PubMed

    Gaines, Colin S; York, Darrin M

    2016-03-01

    We present results from molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations of the twister ribozyme at different stages along the reaction path to gain insight into its mechanism. The results, together with recent biochemical experiments, provide support for a mechanism involving general-acid catalysis by a conserved adenine residue in the active site. Although adenine has been previously implicated as a general acid acting through the N1 position in other ribozymes such as the hairpin and VS ribozymes, in the twister ribozyme there may be a twist. Biochemical experiments suggest that general acid catalysis may occur through the N3 position, which has never before been implicated in this role; however, currently, there is a lack of a detailed structural model for the active state of the twister ribozyme in solution that is consistent with these and other experiments. Simulations in a crystalline environment reported here are consistent with X-ray crystallographic data, and suggest that crystal packing contacts trap the RNA in an inactive conformation with U-1 in an extruded state that is incompatible with an in-line attack to the scissile phosphate. Simulations in solution, on the other hand, reveal this region to be dynamic and able to adopt a conformation where U-1 is stacked with G33. In this state, the nucleophile is in line with the scissile phosphate, and the N1 position of G33 and N3 position of A1 are poised to act as a general base and acid, respectively, as supported by mutational experiments. Free energy calculations further predict the electrostatic environment causes a shift of the microscopic pKa at the N3 position of A1 toward neutrality by approximately 5 pKa units. These results offer a unified interpretation of a broad range of currently available experimental data that points to a novel mode of general acid catalysis through the N3 position of an adenine nucleobase, thus expanding the repertoire of known mechanistic strategies employed by

  8. Freeze-thaw cycles as drivers of complex ribozyme assembly

    PubMed Central

    Mutschler, Hannes; Wochner, Aniela; Holliger, Philipp

    2015-01-01

    The emergence of an RNA catalyst capable of self-replication is considered a key transition in the origin of life. However, how such replicase ribozymes emerged from the pools of short RNA oligomers arising from prebiotic chemistry and non-enzymatic replication is unclear. Here we show that RNA polymerase ribozymes can assemble from simple catalytic networks of RNA oligomers no longer than 30 nucleotides. The entropically disfavoured assembly reaction is driven by iterative freeze-thaw cycles even in the absence of external activation chemistry. The steep temperature and concentration gradients of such cycles result in an RNA chaperone effect that enhances the otherwise only partially realized catalytic potential of the RNA oligomer pool by an order of magnitude. Our work outlines how cyclic physicochemical processes could have driven an expansion of RNA compositional and phenotypic complexity from simple oligomer pools. PMID:25991529

  9. Ribozymes, riboswitches and beyond: regulation of gene expression without proteins

    PubMed Central

    Serganov, Alexander; Patel, Dinshaw J.

    2015-01-01

    Although various functions of RNA are carried out in conjunction with proteins, some catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, which contribute to a range of cellular processes, require little or no assistance from proteins. Furthermore, the discovery of metabolite-sensing riboswitches and other types of RNA sensors has revealed RNA-based mechanisms that cells use to regulate gene expression in response to internal and external changes. Structural studies have shown how these RNAs can carry out a range of functions. In addition, the contribution of ribozymes and riboswitches to gene expression is being revealed as far more widespread than was previously appreciated. These findings have implications for understanding how cellular functions might have evolved from RNA-based origins. PMID:17846637

  10. Freeze-thaw cycles as drivers of complex ribozyme assembly

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mutschler, Hannes; Wochner, Aniela; Holliger, Philipp

    2015-06-01

    The emergence of an RNA catalyst capable of self-replication is considered a key transition in the origin of life. However, how such replicase ribozymes emerged from the pools of short RNA oligomers arising from prebiotic chemistry and non-enzymatic replication is unclear. Here we show that RNA polymerase ribozymes can assemble from simple catalytic networks of RNA oligomers no longer than 30 nucleotides. The entropically disfavoured assembly reaction is driven by iterative freeze-thaw cycles, even in the absence of external activation chemistry. The steep temperature and concentration gradients of such cycles result in an RNA chaperone effect that enhances the otherwise only partially realized catalytic potential of the RNA oligomer pool by an order of magnitude. Our work outlines how cyclic physicochemical processes could have driven an expansion of RNA compositional and phenotypic complexity from simple oligomer pools.

  11. Freeze-thaw cycles as drivers of complex ribozyme assembly.

    PubMed

    Mutschler, Hannes; Wochner, Aniela; Holliger, Philipp

    2015-06-01

    The emergence of an RNA catalyst capable of self-replication is considered a key transition in the origin of life. However, how such replicase ribozymes emerged from the pools of short RNA oligomers arising from prebiotic chemistry and non-enzymatic replication is unclear. Here we show that RNA polymerase ribozymes can assemble from simple catalytic networks of RNA oligomers no longer than 30 nucleotides. The entropically disfavoured assembly reaction is driven by iterative freeze-thaw cycles, even in the absence of external activation chemistry. The steep temperature and concentration gradients of such cycles result in an RNA chaperone effect that enhances the otherwise only partially realized catalytic potential of the RNA oligomer pool by an order of magnitude. Our work outlines how cyclic physicochemical processes could have driven an expansion of RNA compositional and phenotypic complexity from simple oligomer pools. PMID:25991529

  12. Investigating a new generation of ribozymes in order to target HCV.

    PubMed

    Lévesque, Michel V; Lévesque, Dominique; Brière, Francis P; Perreault, Jean-Pierre

    2010-01-01

    For a long time nucleic acid-based approaches directed towards controlling the propagation of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) have been considered to possess high potential. Towards this end, ribozymes (i.e. RNA enzymes) that specifically recognize and subsequently catalyze the cleavage of their RNA substrate present an attractive molecular tool. Here, the unique properties of a new generation of ribozymes are taken advantage of in order to develop an efficient and durable ribozyme-based technology with which to target HCV (+) RNA strands. These ribozymes resulted from the coupling of a specific on/off adaptor (SOFA) to the ribozyme domain derived from the Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV). The former switches cleavage activity "on" solely in the presence of the desired RNA substrate, while the latter was the first catalytic RNA reported to function naturally in human cells, specifically in hepatocytes. In order to maximize the chances for success, a step-by-step approach was used for both the design and the selection of the ribozymes. This approach included the use of both bioinformatics and biochemical methods for the identification of the sites possessing the greatest potential for targeting, and the subsequent in vitro testing of the cleavage activities of the corresponding SOFA-HDV ribozymes. These efforts led to a significant improvement in the ribozymes' designs. The ability of the resulting SOFA-HDV ribozymes to inhibit HCV replication was further examined using a luciferase-based replicon. Although some of the ribozymes exhibited high levels of cleavage activity in vitro, none appears to be a potential long term inhibitor in cellulo. Analysis of recent discoveries in the cellular biology of HCV might explain this failure, as well as provide some ideas on the potential limits of using nucleic acid-based drugs to control the propagation of HCV. Finally, the above conclusions received support from experiments performed using a collection of SOFA-HDV ribozymes directed

  13. Monitoring Retroviral RNA Dimerization In Vivo via Hammerhead Ribozyme Cleavage

    PubMed Central

    Pal, Bijay K.; Scherer, Lisa; Zelby, Laurie; Bertrand, Edouard; Rossi, John J.

    1998-01-01

    We have used a strategy for colocalization of Psi (Ψ)-tethered ribozymes and targets to demonstrate that Ψ sequences are capable of specific interaction in the cytoplasm of both packaging and nonpackaging cells. These results indicate that current in vitro dimerization models may have in vivo counterparts. The methodology used may be applied to further genetic analyses on Ψ domain interactions in vivo. PMID:9733882

  14. A Triplex Ribozyme Expression System Based on a Single Hairpin Ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Aquino-Jarquin, Guillermo; Benítez-Hess, María Luisa; DiPaolo, Joseph A.

    2008-01-01

    Triplex ribozyme (RZ) configurations allow for the individual activity of trans-acting RZs in multiple expression cassettes (multiplex), thereby increasing target cleavage relative to conventionally expressed RZs. Although hairpin RZs have been advantageously compared to hammerhead RZs, their longer size and structural features complicated triplex design. We present a triplex expression system based on a single hairpin RZ with trans-cleavage capability and simple engineering. The system was tested in vitro using cis- and trans-cleavage kinetic assays against a known target RNA from HPV-16 E6/E7 mRNA. Single and multiplex triplex RZ constructs were more efficient in cleaving the target than tandem-cloned hairpin RZs, suggesting that the release of individual RZs enhanced trans-cleavage kinetics. Multiplex systems constructed with two different hairpin RZs resulted in better trans-cleavage compared to standard double-RZ constructs. In addition, the triplex RZ performed cis- and trans-cleavage in cervical cancer cells. The use of triplex configurations with multiplex RZs permit differential targeting of the same or different RNA, thus improving potential use against unstable targets. This prototype will provide the basis for the development of future RZ-based therapies and technologies. PMID:18707243

  15. A triplex ribozyme expression system based on a single hairpin ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Aquino-Jarquin, Guillermo; Benítez-Hess, María Luisa; DiPaolo, Joseph A; Alvarez-Salas, Luis M

    2008-09-01

    Triplex ribozyme (RZ) configurations allow for the individual activity of trans-acting RZs in multiple expression cassettes (multiplex), thereby increasing target cleavage relative to conventionally expressed RZs. Although hairpin RZs have been advantageously compared to hammerhead RZs, their longer size and structural features complicated triplex design. We present a triplex expression system based on a single hairpin RZ with transcleavage capability and simple engineering. The system was tested in vitro using cis- and trans-cleavage kinetic assays against a known target RNA from HPV-16 E6/E7 mRNA. Single and multiplex triplex RZ constructs were more efficient in cleaving the target than tandem-cloned hairpin RZs, suggesting that the release of individual RZs enhanced trans-cleavage kinetics. Multiplex systems constructed with two different hairpin RZs resulted in better trans-cleavage compared to standard double-RZ constructs. In addition, the triplex RZ performed cis- and trans-cleavage in cervical cancer cells. The use of triplex configurations with multiplex RZs permit differential targeting of the same or different RNA, thus improving potential use against unstable targets. This prototype will provide the basis for the development of future RZ-based therapies and technologies. PMID:18707243

  16. Local Neutral Networks Help Maintain Inaccurately Replicating Ribozymes

    PubMed Central

    Szilágyi, András; Kun, Ádám; Szathmáry, Eörs

    2014-01-01

    The error threshold of replication limits the selectively maintainable genome size against recurrent deleterious mutations for most fitness landscapes. In the context of RNA replication a distinction between the genotypic and the phenotypic error threshold has been made; where the latter concerns the maintenance of secondary structure rather than sequence. RNA secondary structure is treated as a proxy for function. The phenotypic error threshold allows higher per digit mutation rates than its genotypic counterpart, and is known to increase with the frequency of neutral mutations in sequence space. Here we show that the degree of neutrality, i.e. the frequency of nearest-neighbour (one-step) neutral mutants is a remarkably accurate proxy for the overall frequency of such mutants in an experimentally verifiable formula for the phenotypic error threshold; this we achieve by the full numerical solution for the concentration of all sequences in mutation-selection balance up to length 16. We reinforce our previous result that currently known ribozymes could be selectively maintained by the accuracy known from the best available polymerase ribozymes. Furthermore, we show that in silico stabilizing selection can increase the mutational robustness of ribozymes due to the fact that they were produced by artificial directional selection in the first place. Our finding offers a better understanding of the error threshold and provides further insight into the plausibility of an ancient RNA world. PMID:25299454

  17. The Novel Chemical Mechanism of the Twister Ribozyme.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Timothy J; Liu, Yijin; Domnick, Christof; Kath-Schorr, Stephanie; Lilley, David M J

    2016-05-18

    We describe the multifactorial origins of catalysis by the twister ribozyme. We provide evidence that the adenine immediately 3' to the scissile phosphate (A1) acts as a general acid. Substitution of ring nitrogen atoms indicates that very unusually the N3 of A1 is the proton donor to the oxyanion leaving group. A1 is accommodated in a specific binding pocket that raises its pKa toward neutrality, juxtaposes its N3 with the O5' to be protonated, and helps create the in-line trajectory required for nucleophilic attack. A1 performs general acid catalysis while G33 acts as a general base. A 100-fold stereospecific phosphorothioate effect at the scissile phosphate is consistent with a significant stabilization of the transition state by the ribozyme, and functional group substitution at G33 indicates that its exocyclic N2 interacts directly with the scissile phosphate. A model of the ribozyme active site is proposed that accommodates these catalytic strategies. PMID:27153229

  18. The Hammerhead Ribozyme: Structure, Catalysis and Gene Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Scott, William G.; Horan, Lucas H.; Martick, Monika

    2014-01-01

    The hammerhead ribozyme has long been considered a prototype for understanding RNA catalysis, but discrepancies between the earlier crystal structures of a minimal hammerhead self-cleaving motif and various biochemical investigations frustrated attempt to understand hammerhead ribozyme catalysis in terms of structure. With the discovery that a tertiary contact distal from the ribozyme’s active site greatly enhances its catalytic prowess, and the emergence of new corresponding crystal structures of full-length hammerhead ribozymes, a unified understanding of catalysis in terms of the structure is now possible. A mechanism in which the invariant residue G12 functions as a general base, and the 2′-OH moiety of the invariant G8, itself forming a tertiary base pair with the invariant C3, is the general acid, appears consistent with both the crystal structure and biochemical experimental results. Originally discovered in the context of plant satellite RNA viruses, the hammerhead more recently has been found embedded in the 3′-untranslated region of mature mammalian mRNAs, suggesting additional biological roles in genetic regulation. PMID:24156940

  19. A small ribozyme with dual-site kinase activity

    PubMed Central

    Biondi, Elisa; Maxwell, Adam W.R.; Burke, Donald H.

    2012-01-01

    Phosphoryl transfer onto backbone hydroxyls is a recognized catalytic activity of nucleic acids. We find that kinase ribozyme K28 possesses an unusually complex active site that promotes (thio)phosphorylation of two residues widely separated in primary sequence. After allowing the ribozyme to radiolabel itself by phosphoryl transfer from [γ-32P]GTP, DNAzyme-mediated cleavage yielded two radiolabeled cleavage fragments, indicating phosphorylation sites within each of the two cleavage fragments. These sites were mapped by alkaline digestion and primer extension pausing. Enzymatic digestion and mutational analysis identified nucleotides important for activity and established the active structure as being a constrained pseudoknot with unusual connectivity that may juxtapose the two reactive sites. Nuclease sensitivities for nucleotides near the pseudoknot core were altered in the presence of GTPγS, indicating donor-induced folding. The 5′ target site was more strongly favored in full-length ribozyme K28 (128 nt) than in truncated RNAs (58 nt). Electrophoretic mobilities of self-thiophosphorylated products on organomercurial gels are distinct from the 5′ mono-thiophosphorylated product produced by reaction with polynucleotide kinase, potentially indicating simultaneous labeling of both sites within individual RNA strands. Our evidence supports a single, compact structure with local dynamics, rather than global rearrangement, as being responsible for dual-site phosphorylation. PMID:22618879

  20. Eukaryotic Penelope-Like Retroelements Encode Hammerhead Ribozyme Motifs

    PubMed Central

    Cervera, Amelia; De la Peña, Marcos

    2014-01-01

    Small self-cleaving RNAs, such as the paradigmatic Hammerhead ribozyme (HHR), have been recently found widespread in DNA genomes across all kingdoms of life. In this work, we found that new HHR variants are preserved in the ancient family of Penelope-like elements (PLEs), a group of eukaryotic retrotransposons regarded as exceptional for encoding telomerase-like retrotranscriptases and spliceosomal introns. Our bioinformatic analysis revealed not only the presence of minimalist HHRs in the two flanking repeats of PLEs but also their massive and widespread occurrence in metazoan genomes. The architecture of these ribozymes indicates that they may work as dimers, although their low self-cleavage activity in vitro suggests the requirement of other factors in vivo. In plants, however, PLEs show canonical HHRs, whereas fungi and protist PLEs encode ribozyme variants with a stable active conformation as monomers. Overall, our data confirm the connection of self-cleaving RNAs with eukaryotic retroelements and unveil these motifs as a significant fraction of the encoded information in eukaryotic genomes. PMID:25135949

  1. Reconciling Ligase Ribozyme Activity with Fatty Acid Vesicle Stability

    PubMed Central

    Anella, Fabrizio; Danelon, Christophe

    2014-01-01

    The “RNA world” and the “Lipid world” theories for the origin of cellular life are often considered incompatible due to the differences in the environmental conditions at which they can emerge. One obstacle resides in the conflicting requirements for divalent metal ions, in particular Mg2+, with respect to optimal ribozyme activity, fatty acid vesicle stability and protection against RNA strand cleavage. Here, we report on the activity of a short L1 ligase ribozyme in the presence of myristoleic acid (MA) vesicles at varying concentrations of Mg2+. The ligation rate is significantly lower at low-Mg2+ conditions. However, the loss of activity is overcompensated by the increased stability of RNA leading to a larger amount of intact ligated substrate after long reaction periods. Combining RNA ligation assays with fatty acid vesicles we found that MA vesicles made of 5 mM amphiphile are stable and do not impair ligase ribozyme activity in the presence of approximately 2 mM Mg2+. These results provide a scenario in which catalytic RNA and primordial membrane assembly can coexist in the same environment. PMID:25513761

  2. Selection, design, and characterization of a new potentially therapeutic ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Zinnen, Shawn P; Domenico, Kristal; Wilson, Mike; Dickinson, Brent A; Beaudry, Amber; Mokler, Victor; Daniher, Andrew T; Burgin, Alex; Beigelman, Leonid

    2002-01-01

    An in vitro selection was designed to identify RNA-cleaving ribozymes predisposed for function as a drug. The selection scheme required the catalyst to be trans-acting with phosphodiesterase activity targeting a fragment of the Kras mRNA under simulated physiological conditions. To increase stabilization against nucleases and to offer the potential for improved functionality, modified sequence space was sampled by transcribing with the following NTPs: 2'-F-ATP, 2'-F-UTP, or 2'-F-5-[(N-imidazole-4-acetyl) propylamine]-UTP, 2'-NH2-CTP, and GTP. Active motifs were identified and assessed for their modified NMP and divalent metal dependence. The minimization of the ribozyme's size and the ability to substitute 2'-OMe for 2'-F and 2'-NH2 moieties yielded the motif from these selections most suited for both nuclease stability and therapeutic development. This motif requires only two 2'-NH2-Cs and functions as a 36-mer. Its substrate sequence requirements were determined to be 5'-Y-G-H-3'. Its half-life in human serum is >100 h. In physiologically relevant magnesium concentrations [approximately 1 mM] its kcat = 0.07 min(-1), Km = 70 nM. This report presents a novel nuclease stable ribozyme, designated Zinzyme, possessing optimal activity in simulated physiological conditions and ready for testing in a therapeutic setting. PMID:11911367

  3. Effective Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 Replication by Engineered RNase P Ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Trang, Phong; Vu, Gia-Phong; Lu, Sangwei; Wu, Jianguo; Liu, Fenyong

    2012-01-01

    Using an in vitro selection procedure, we have previously isolated RNase P ribozyme variants that efficiently cleave an mRNA sequence in vitro. In this study, a variant was used to target the HIV RNA sequence in the tat region. The variant cleaved the tat RNA sequence in vitro about 20 times more efficiently than the wild type ribozyme. Our results provide the first direct evidence that combined mutations at nucleotide 83 and 340 of RNase P catalytic RNA from Escherichia coli (G83 -> U83 and G340 -> A340) increase the overall efficiency of the ribozyme in cleaving an HIV RNA sequence. Moreover, the variant is more effective in reducing HIV-1 p24 expression and intracellular viral RNA level in cells than the wild type ribozyme. A reduction of about 90% in viral RNA level and a reduction of 150 fold in viral growth were observed in cells that expressed the variant, while a reduction of less than 10% was observed in cells that either did not express the ribozyme or produced a catalytically inactive ribozyme mutant. Thus, engineered ribozyme variants are effective in inhibiting HIV infection. These results also demonstrate the potential of engineering RNase P ribozymes for anti-HIV application. PMID:23300569

  4. Hairpin Ribozyme Genes Curtail Alcohol Drinking: from Rational Design to in vivo Effects in the Rat.

    PubMed

    Sapag, Amalia; Irrazábal, Thergiory; Lobos-González, Lorena; Muñoz-Brauning, Carlos R; Quintanilla, María Elena; Tampier, Lutske

    2016-01-01

    Ribozyme genes were designed to reduce voluntary alcohol drinking in a rat model of alcohol dependence. Acetaldehyde generated from alcohol in the liver is metabolized by the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) such that diminishing ALDH2 activity leads to the aversive effects of blood acetaldehyde upon alcohol intake. A stepwise approach was followed to design genes encoding ribozymes targeted to the rat ALDH2 mRNA. In vitro studies of accessibility to oligonucleotides identified suitable target sites in the mRNA, one of which fulfilled hammerhead and hairpin ribozyme requirements (CGGUC). Ribozyme genes delivered in plasmid constructs were tested in rat cells in culture. While the hairpin ribozyme reduced ALDH2 activity 56% by cleavage and blockade (P < 0.0001), the hammerhead ribozyme elicited minor effects by blockade. The hairpin ribozyme was tested in vivo by adenoviral gene delivery to UChB alcohol drinker rats. Ethanol intake was curtailed 47% for 34 days (P < 0.0001), while blood acetaldehyde more than doubled upon ethanol administration and ALDH2 activity dropped 25% in liver homogenates, not affecting other ALDH isoforms. Thus, hairpin ribozymes targeted to 16 nt in the ALDH2 mRNA provide durable and specific effects in vivo, representing an improvement on previous work and encouraging development of gene therapy for alcoholism. PMID:27404720

  5. Examination of the catalytic fitness of the hammerhead ribozyme by in vitro selection.

    PubMed Central

    Tang, J; Breaker, R R

    1997-01-01

    We have designed a self-cleaving ribozyme construct that is rendered inactive during preparative in vitro transcription by allosteric interactions with ATP. This allosteric ribozyme was constructed by joining a hammerhead domain to an ATP-binding RNA aptamer, thereby creating a ribozyme whose catalytic rate can be controlled by ATP. Upon purification by PAGE, the engineered ribozyme undergoes rapid self-cleavage when incubated in the absence of ATP. This strategy of "allosteric delay" was used to prepare intact hammerhead ribozymes that would otherwise self-destruct during transcription. Using a similar strategy, we have prepared a combinatorial pool of RNA in order to assess the catalytic fitness of ribozymes that carry the natural consensus sequence for the hammerhead. Using in vitro selection, this comprehensive RNA pool was screened for sequence variants of the hammerhead ribozyme that also display catalytic activity. We find that sequences that comprise the core of naturally occurring hammerhead dominate the population of selected RNAs, indicating that the natural consensus sequence of this ribozyme is optimal for catalytic function. PMID:9257650

  6. Spliced leader trans-splicing in the nematode Trichinella spiralis uses highly polymorphic, noncanonical spliced leaders.

    PubMed

    Pettitt, Jonathan; Müller, Berndt; Stansfield, Ian; Connolly, Bernadette

    2008-04-01

    The trans-splicing of short spliced leader (SL) RNAs onto the 5' ends of mRNAs occurs in a diverse range of taxa. In nematodes, all species so far characterized utilize a characteristic, conserved spliced leader, SL1, as well as variants that are employed in the resolution of operons. Here we report the identification of spliced leader trans-splicing in the basal nematode Trichinella spiralis, and show that this nematode does not possess a canonical SL1, but rather has at least 15 distinct spliced leaders, encoded by at least 19 SL RNA genes. The individual spliced leaders vary in both size and primary sequence, showing a much higher degree of diversity compared to other known trans-spliced leaders. In a survey of T. spiralis mRNAs, individual mRNAs were found to be trans-spliced to a number of different spliced leader sequences. These data provide the first indication that the last common ancestor of the phylum Nematoda utilized spliced leader trans-splicing and that the canonical spliced leader, SL1, found in Caenorhabditis elegans, evolved after the divergence of the major nematode clades. This discovery sheds important light on the nature and evolution of mRNA processing in the Nematoda. PMID:18256244

  7. Polypurine sequences within a downstream exon function as a splicing enhancer

    SciTech Connect

    Tanaka, Kenji; Watakabe, Akiya; Shimura, Yoshiro

    1994-02-01

    We have previously shown that a purine-rich sequence located within exon M2 of the mouse immunoglobulin {mu} gene functions as a splicing enhancer, as judged by its ability to stimulate splicing of a distant upstream intron. This sequence element has been designated ERS (exon recognition sequence). In this study, we investigated the stimulatory effects of various ERS-like sequences, using the in vitro splicing system with HeLa cell nuclear extracts. Here, we show that purine-rich sequences of several natural exons that have previously been shown to be required for splicing function as a splicing enhancer like the ERS of the immunoglobulin {mu} gene. Moreover, even synthetic polypurine sequences had stimulatory effects on the upstream splicing. Evaluation of the data obtained from the analyses of both natural and synthetic purine-rich sequences shows that (i) alternating purine sequences can stimulate splicing, while poly(A) or poly(G) sequences cannot, and (ii) the presence of U residues within the polypurine sequence greatly reduces the level of stimulation. Competition experiments strongly suggest that the stimulatory effects of various purine-rich sequences are mediated by the same trans-acting factor(s). We conclude from these results that the purine-rich sequences that we examined in this study also represent examples of ERS. Thus, ERS is considered a general splicing element that is present in various exons and plays an important role in splice site selection. 50 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs.

  8. A widespread self-cleaving ribozyme class is revealed by bioinformatics

    PubMed Central

    Roth, Adam; Weinberg, Zasha; Chen, Andy G. Y.; Kim, Peter B.; Ames, Tyler D.; Breaker, Ronald R.

    2013-01-01

    Ribozymes are noncoding RNAs that promote chemical transformations with rate enhancements approaching those of protein enzymes. Although ribozymes are likely to have been abundant during the RNA world era, only ten classes are known to exist among contemporary organisms. We report the discovery and analysis of an additional self-cleaving ribozyme class, called twister, which is present in many species of bacteria and eukarya. Nearly 2700 twister ribozymes were identified that conform to a secondary structure consensus that is small yet complex, with three stems conjoined by internal and terminal loops. Two pseudoknots provide tertiary structure contacts that are critical for catalytic activity. The twister ribozyme motif provides another example of a natural RNA catalyst and calls attention to the potentially varied biological roles of this and other classes of widely distributed self-cleaving RNAs. PMID:24240507

  9. Transition State Features in the Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) Ribozyme Reaction Revealed by Atomic Perturbations

    PubMed Central

    Koo, Selene C.; Lu, Jun; Li, Nan-Sheng; Leung, Edward; Das, Subha R.; Harris, Michael E.; Piccirilli, Joseph A.

    2016-01-01

    Endonucleolytic ribozymes constitute a class of non-coding RNAs that catalyze single strand RNA scission. With crystal structures available for all of the known ribozymes, a major challenge involves relating functional data to the physically observed RNA architecture. In the case of the HDV ribozyme, there are three high-resolution crystal structures, the product state of the reaction and two precursor variants, with distinct mechanistic implications. Here, we develop new strategies to probe the structure and catalytic mechanism of a ribozyme. First, we use double mutant cycles to distinguish differences in functional group proximity implicated by the crystal structures. Second, we use a corrected form of the Brønsted equation to assess the functional significance of general acid catalysis in the system. Our results delineate the functional relevance of atomic interactions inferred from structure, and suggest that the HDV ribozyme transition state resembles the cleavage product in the degree of proton transfer to the leaving group. PMID:26125657

  10. New classes of self-cleaving ribozymes revealed by comparative genomics analysis

    PubMed Central

    Weinberg, Zasha; Kim, Peter B.; Chen, Tony H.; Li, Sanshu; Harris, Kimberly A.; Lünse, Christina E.; Breaker, Ronald R.

    2015-01-01

    Enzymes made of RNA catalyze reactions that are essential for protein synthesis and RNA processing. However, such natural ribozymes are exceedingly rare, as evident by the fact that the discovery rate for new classes has dropped to one per decade from about one per year during the 1980s. Indeed, only 11 distinct ribozyme classes have been experimentally validated to date. Recently, we recognized that self-cleaving ribozymes frequently associate with certain types of genes from bacteria. Herein this synteny was exploited to identify divergent architectures for two previously known ribozyme classes and to discover additional noncoding RNA motifs that are self-cleaving RNA candidates. Three new self-cleaving classes, named twister sister, pistol and hatchet, have been identified from this collection, suggesting that even more ribozymes remain hidden in modern cells. PMID:26167874

  11. New classes of self-cleaving ribozymes revealed by comparative genomics analysis.

    PubMed

    Weinberg, Zasha; Kim, Peter B; Chen, Tony H; Li, Sanshu; Harris, Kimberly A; Lünse, Christina E; Breaker, Ronald R

    2015-08-01

    Enzymes made of RNA catalyze reactions that are essential for protein synthesis and RNA processing. However, such natural ribozymes are exceedingly rare, as evidenced by the fact that the discovery rate for new classes has dropped to one per decade from about one per year during the 1980s. Indeed, only 11 distinct ribozyme classes have been experimentally validated to date. Recently, we recognized that self-cleaving ribozymes frequently associate with certain types of genes from bacteria. Herein we exploited this association to identify divergent architectures for two previously known ribozyme classes and to discover additional noncoding RNA motifs that are self-cleaving RNA candidates. We identified three new self-cleaving classes, which we named twister sister, pistol and hatchet, from this collection, suggesting that even more ribozymes remain hidden in modern cells. PMID:26167874

  12. Splice assembly tool and method of splicing

    DOEpatents

    Silva, Frank A.

    1980-01-01

    A splice assembly tool for assembling component parts of an electrical conductor while producing a splice connection between electrical cables therewith, comprises a first structural member adaptable for supporting force applying means thereon, said force applying means enabling a rotary force applied manually thereto to be converted to a longitudinal force for subsequent application against a first component part of said electrical connection, a second structural member adaptable for engaging a second component part in a manner to assist said first structural member in assembling the component parts relative to one another and transmission means for conveying said longitudinal force between said first and said second structural members, said first and said second structural members being coupled to one another by said transmission means, wherein at least one of said component parts comprises a tubular elastomeric sleeve and said force applying means provides a relatively high mechanical advantage when said rotary force is applied thereto so as to facilitate assembly of said at least one tubular elastomeric sleeve about said other component part in an interference fit manner.

  13. Intracellular ribozyme-catalyzed trans-cleavage of RNA monitored by fluorescence resonance energy transfer.

    PubMed

    Vitiello, D; Pecchia, D B; Burke, J M

    2000-04-01

    Small catalytic RNAs like the hairpin ribozyme are proving to be useful intracellular tools; however, most attempts to demonstrate trans-cleavage of RNA by ribozymes in cells have been frustrated by rapid cellular degradation of the cleavage products. Here, we describe a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay that directly monitors cleavage of target RNA in tissue-culture cells. An oligoribonucleotide substrate was modified to inhibit cellular ribonuclease degradation without interfering with ribozyme cleavage, and donor (fluorescein) and acceptor (tetramethylrhodamine) fluorophores were introduced at positions flanking the cleavage site. In simple buffers, the intact substrate produces a strong FRET signal that is lost upon cleavage, resulting in a red-to-green shift in dominant fluorescence emission. Hairpin ribozyme and fluorescent substrate were microinjected into murine fibroblasts under conditions in which substrate cleavage can occur only inside the cell. A strong FRET signal was observed by fluorescence microscopy when substrate was injected, but rapid decay of the FRET signal occurred when an active, cognate ribozyme was introduced with the substrate. No acceleration in cleavage rates was observed in control experiments utilizing a noncleavable substrate, inactive ribozyme, or an active ribozyme with altered substrate specificity. Subsequently, the fluorescent substrates were injected into clonal cell lines that expressed cognate or noncognate ribozymes. A decrease in FRET signal was observed only when substrate was microinjected into cells expressing its cognate ribozyme. These results demonstrate trans-cleavage of RNA within mammalian cells, and provide an experimental basis for quantitative analysis of ribozyme activity and specificity within the cell. PMID:10786853

  14. Intracellular ribozyme-catalyzed trans-cleavage of RNA monitored by fluorescence resonance energy transfer.

    PubMed Central

    Vitiello, D; Pecchia, D B; Burke, J M

    2000-01-01

    Small catalytic RNAs like the hairpin ribozyme are proving to be useful intracellular tools; however, most attempts to demonstrate trans-cleavage of RNA by ribozymes in cells have been frustrated by rapid cellular degradation of the cleavage products. Here, we describe a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay that directly monitors cleavage of target RNA in tissue-culture cells. An oligoribonucleotide substrate was modified to inhibit cellular ribonuclease degradation without interfering with ribozyme cleavage, and donor (fluorescein) and acceptor (tetramethylrhodamine) fluorophores were introduced at positions flanking the cleavage site. In simple buffers, the intact substrate produces a strong FRET signal that is lost upon cleavage, resulting in a red-to-green shift in dominant fluorescence emission. Hairpin ribozyme and fluorescent substrate were microinjected into murine fibroblasts under conditions in which substrate cleavage can occur only inside the cell. A strong FRET signal was observed by fluorescence microscopy when substrate was injected, but rapid decay of the FRET signal occurred when an active, cognate ribozyme was introduced with the substrate. No acceleration in cleavage rates was observed in control experiments utilizing a noncleavable substrate, inactive ribozyme, or an active ribozyme with altered substrate specificity. Subsequently, the fluorescent substrates were injected into clonal cell lines that expressed cognate or noncognate ribozymes. A decrease in FRET signal was observed only when substrate was microinjected into cells expressing its cognate ribozyme. These results demonstrate trans-cleavage of RNA within mammalian cells, and provide an experimental basis for quantitative analysis of ribozyme activity and specificity within the cell. PMID:10786853

  15. A novel minimum ribozyme with oxidoreduction activity

    SciTech Connect

    Yanagawa, Hiroshi; Ogawa, Yoko ); Ueno, Masako; Sasaki, Kazuo; Sato, Toshio )

    1990-11-01

    A nucleoside catalyzing the oxidoreduction of NADH and K{sub 3}Fe(CN){sub 6} was isolated from Torula yeast RNA and also obtained in 0.05{percent} yield by a series of steps: SDS-phenol extraction, nuclease P{sub 1} digestion, alkaline phosphatase digestion, anion exchange chromatography, and HPLC on an ODS column. Its chemical structure was clearly determined at 5-hydroxycytidine, from the results of FAB-MS and {sup 1}H and {sup 13}C NMR spectroscopies. The mass spectra, chromatographic behavior, UV spectra, and NMR spectra of this nucleoside from natural and synthetic sources were identical. This is the first report of an RNA catalyst having catalytic activity except for the cleavage and ligation of phosphodiester bonds of RNA. That an RNA has oxidoreduction activity indicates new possibilities for RNAs as living molecules. 5-hydroxycytidine may be a vestige of RNAs that formerly possessed metabolizing ability.

  16. Cobalt(III)Hexaammine-Dependent Photocrosslinks in the Hairpin Ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Kraemer-Chant, Christina M.; Heckman, Joyce E.; Lambert, Dominic; Burke, John M.

    2014-01-01

    We have utilized the hairpin ribozyme, an RNA enzyme whose structure has been solved by high-resolution methods, to develop a new tool for mapping nucleobase-stacking interactions and potential metal-binding sites in RNA molecules. This tool involves the photoactivation of a specifically bound cobalt(III)hexaammine molecule at wavelengths corresponding to excitation of the metal ion complex only; no base excitation is involved. The photoexcitation initiates a process which strongly promotes the formation of a novel covalent bond or crosslink between one base (termed the “first base”), which is close in space to the excited cobalt(III)hexaammine complex, and another base upon which the first base is closely stacked. These crosslinked species can be isolated and sequenced; their activities can be analyzed to ensure that the crosslinked structures represent an active conformation of the molecule. We have shown that, as in electron transfer in DNA, several criteria must be met to result in the successful formation of these crosslinks. These include the appropriate oxidation potential of the first donor base, the stacking and close interaction of the two donor bases involved in the crosslink, and the binding of a specific cobalt(III)hexaammine molecule to the first donor base. Additionally, we have determined that this crosslinking is pH-sensitive, although the cause of this sensitivity remains unknown. This tool has proven useful in the past for the analysis of the hairpin ribozyme folded structure, and has been applied to identifying potential metal-binding sites on the hairpin and extended hammerhead ribozymes. PMID:24295878

  17. A trans acting ribozyme that phosphorylates exogenous RNA.

    PubMed

    Saran, Dayal; Nickens, David G; Burke, Donald H

    2005-11-15

    The structural complexity required for substrate recognition within an active site constrains the evolution of novel catalytic functions. To evaluate those constraints within populations of incipient ribozymes, we performed a selection for kinase ribozymes under conditions that allowed competition for phosphorylation at nine candidate sites. Two candidate sites are the hydroxyl groups on a "quasi-diffusible" chloramphenicol (Cam) moiety tethered to the evolving library through an inert, flexible linker. A subtractive step was included to allow only seven ribose 2' hydroxyls to compete with the two Cam hydroxyls for phosphorylation. After the library was incubated with gamma-thio-ATP (ATPgammaS), active species were recovered from a polyacrylamide gel containing [(N-acryloylamino)phenyl] mercury (APM) and amplified for further cycles of selection. Activity assays on selected isolates and truncated derivatives identified the essential secondary structure of the dominant RNA motif. Phosphorylation was independent of the Cam moiety, indicating ribose 2' phosphorylation. The dominant motif was separated into catalytic "ribozyme" and "substrate" strands. Partial alkaline digestion of the substrate strand before and after phosphorylation identified the precise modification site as the first purine (R) within the required sequence 5'-RAAAANCG-3'. The reaction shows approximately 10-fold preference for ATPgammaS over ATP and is independent of pH over a wide range (5.5-8.9), consistent with a dissociative reaction mechanism that is rate-limited by formation of a metaphosphate transition state. Divalent metal ions are required, with a slight preference of Mn(2+) > Mg(2+) > Ca(2+). Lack of reactivity in [Co(NH(3))(6)](3+) indicates a requirement for inner sphere contact with the metal ion, either for structural stabilization, catalysis, or both. PMID:16274247

  18. Applicability of PM3 to transphosphorylation reaction path: Toward designing a minimal ribozyme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manchester, John I.; Shibata, Masayuki; Setlik, Robert F.; Ornstein, Rick L.; Rein, Robert

    1993-01-01

    A growing body of evidence shows that RNA can catalyze many of the reactions necessary both for replication of genetic material and the possible transition into the modern protein-based world. However, contemporary ribozymes are too large to have self-assembled from a prebiotic oligonucleotide pool. Still, it is likely that the major features of the earliest ribozymes have been preserved as molecular fossils in the catalytic RNA of today. Therefore, the search for a minimal ribozyme has been aimed at finding the necessary structural features of a modern ribozyme (Beaudry and Joyce, 1990). Both a three-dimensional model and quantum chemical calculations are required to quantitatively determine the effects of structural features of the ribozyme on the reaction it catalyzes. Using this model, quantum chemical calculations must be performed to determine quantitatively the effects of structural features on catalysis. Previous studies of the reaction path have been conducted at the ab initio level, but these methods are limited to small models due to enormous computational requirements. Semiempirical methods have been applied to large systems in the past; however, the accuracy of these methods depends largely on a simple model of the ribozyme-catalyzed reaction, or hydrolysis of phosphoric acid. We find that the results are qualitatively similar to ab initio results using large basis sets. Therefore, PM3 is suitable for studying the reaction path of the ribozyme-catalyzed reaction.

  19. Speciation of a group I intron into a lariat capping ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Mélanie; Nielsen, Henrik; Oliéric, Vincent; Roblin, Pierre; Johansen, Steinar D.; Westhof, Eric; Masquida, Benoît

    2014-01-01

    The lariat-capping (LC) ribozyme is a natural ribozyme isolated from eukaryotic microorganisms. Despite apparent structural similarity to group I introns, the LC ribozyme catalyzes cleavage by a 2′,5′ branching reaction, leaving the 3′ product with a 3-nt lariat cap that functionally substitutes for a conventional mRNA cap in the downstream pre-mRNA encoding a homing endonuclease. We describe the crystal structures of the precleavage and postcleavage LC ribozymes, which suggest that structural features inherited from group I ribozymes have undergone speciation due to profound changes in molecular selection pressure, ultimately giving rise to an original branching ribozyme family. The structures elucidate the role of key elements that regulate the activity of the LC ribozyme by conformational switching and suggest a mechanism by which the signal for branching is transmitted to the catalytic core. The structures also show how conserved interactions twist residues, forming the lariat to join chemical groups involved in branching. PMID:24821772

  20. In vitro evolution of coenzyme-independent variants from the glmS ribozyme structural scaffold.

    PubMed

    Lau, Matthew W L; Ferré-D'Amaré, Adrian R

    2016-08-15

    Uniquely among known natural ribozymes that cleave RNA sequence-specifically, the glmS ribozyme-riboswitch employs a small molecule, glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) as a catalytic cofactor. In vitro selection was employed to search for coenzyme-independent variants of this ribozyme. In addition to shedding light on the catalytic mechanism of the ribozyme, such variants could resemble the evolutionary ancestors of the modern, GlcN6P-regulated ribozyme-riboswitch. A mutant pool was constructed such that the secondary structure elements, which define the triply-pseudoknotted global fold of the ribozyme, was preserved. A stringent selection scheme that relies on thiol-mercury affinity chromatography for separating active and inactive sequences ultimately yielded a triple mutant with a cleavage rate exceeding 3min(-1) that only requires divalent cations for activity. Mutational analysis demonstrated that a point reversion of the variant toward the wild-type sequence was sufficient to partially restore GlcN6P-dependence, suggesting that coenzyme dependence can be readily be acquired by RNAs that adopt the glmS ribozyme fold. The methods employed to perform this selection experiment are described in detail in this review. PMID:27130889

  1. In vitro evolution of new ribozymes with polynucleotide kinase activity.

    PubMed

    Lorsch, J R; Szostak, J W

    1994-09-01

    We have isolated a large number of polynucleotide kinase ribozymes from a pool of RNA molecules consisting of an ATP-binding domain flanked by regions of random sequence. Different classes of kinases catalyse the transfer of the gamma-thiophosphate of ATP-gamma S to the 5'-hydroxyl or to internal 2'-hydroxyls. An engineered version of one class is able to catalyse the transfer of thiophosphate from ATP-gamma S to the 5'-hydroxyl of an exogenous oligoribonucleotide substrate with multiple turnover, thus acting as a true enzyme. PMID:7521014

  2. Sequence specificity of the hammerhead ribozyme revisited; the NHH rule.

    PubMed Central

    Kore, A R; Vaish, N K; Kutzke, U; Eckstein, F

    1998-01-01

    The sequence specificity of hammerhead ribozyme cleavage has been re-evaluated with respect to the NUH rule. Contrary to previous reports it was found that substrates with GAC triplets were also cleaved. This was established in three different sequence contexts. The rate of cleavage under single turnover conditions was between 3 and 7% that of cleavage 3' of GUC. Specificity of cleavage of substrates containing a central A in the cleavable triplet can be described as NAH, where N can be any nucleotide and H any nucleotide but G. As cleavage 3' of NCH triplets has recently been described, the NUH rule can be reformulated to NHH. PMID:9722629

  3. Isolation of novel ribozymes that ligate AMP-activated RNA substrates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hager, A. J.; Szostak, J. W.

    1997-01-01

    BACKGROUND: The protein enzymes RNA ligase and DNA ligase catalyze the ligation of nucleic acids via an adenosine-5'-5'-pyrophosphate 'capped' RNA or DNA intermediate. The activation of nucleic acid substrates by adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP) may be a vestige of 'RNA world' catalysis. AMP-activated ligation seems ideally suited for catalysis by ribozymes (RNA enzymes), because an RNA motif capable of tightly and specifically binding AMP has previously been isolated. RESULTS: We used in vitro selection and directed evolution to explore the ability of ribozymes to catalyze the template-directed ligation of AMP-activated RNAs. We subjected a pool of 10(15) RNA molecules, each consisting of long random sequences flanking a mutagenized adenosine triphosphate (ATP) aptamer, to ten rounds of in vitro selection, including three rounds involving mutagenic polymerase chain reaction. Selection was for the ligation of an oligonucleotide to the 5'-capped active pool RNA species. Many different ligase ribozymes were isolated; these ribozymes had rates of reaction up to 0.4 ligations per hour, corresponding to rate accelerations of approximately 5 x10(5) over the templated, but otherwise uncatalyzed, background reaction rate. Three characterized ribozymes catalyzed the formation of 3'-5'-phosphodiester bonds and were highly specific for activation by AMP at the ligation site. CONCLUSIONS: The existence of a new class of ligase ribozymes is consistent with the hypothesis that the unusual mechanism of the biological ligases resulted from a conservation of mechanism during an evolutionary replacement of a primordial ribozyme ligase by a more modern protein enzyme. The newly isolated ligase ribozymes may also provide a starting point for the isolation of ribozymes that catalyze the polymerization of AMP-activated oligonucleotides or mononucleotides, which might have been the prebiotic analogs of nucleoside triphosphates.

  4. Rapid generation of splicing reporters with pSpliceExpress

    PubMed Central

    Kishore, Shivendra; Khanna, Amit; Stamm, Stefan

    2008-01-01

    Almost all human protein-coding transcripts undergo pre-mRNA splicing and a majority of them is alternatively spliced. The most common technique used to analyze the regulation of an alternative exon is through reporter minigene constructs. However, their construction is time-consuming and is often complicated by the limited availability of appropriate restriction sites. Here, we report a fast and simple recombination-based method to generate splicing reporter genes, using a new vector, pSpliceExpress. The system allows generation of minigenes within one week. Minigenes generated with pSpliceExpress show the same regulation as displayed by conventionally cloned reporter constructs and provide an alternate avenue to study splice site selection in vivo. PMID:18930792

  5. Inventing and improving ribozyme function: rational design versus iterative selection methods

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Breaker, R. R.; Joyce, G. F.

    1994-01-01

    Two major strategies for generating novel biological catalysts exist. One relies on our knowledge of biopolymer structure and function to aid in the 'rational design' of new enzymes. The other, often called 'irrational design', aims to generate new catalysts, in the absence of detailed physicochemical knowledge, by using selection methods to search a library of molecules for functional variants. Both strategies have been applied, with considerable success, to the remodeling of existing ribozymes and the development of ribozymes with novel catalytic function. The two strategies are by no means mutually exclusive, and are best applied in a complementary fashion to obtain ribozymes with the desired catalytic properties.

  6. BUILDING ROBUST TRANSCRIPTOMES WITH MASTER SPLICING FACTORS

    PubMed Central

    Jangi, Mohini; Sharp, Phillip A.

    2014-01-01

    Coherent splicing networks arise from many discrete splicing decisions regulated in unison. Here, we examine the properties of robust, context-specific splicing networks. We propose that a subset of key splicing regulators, or “master splicing factors,” respond to environmental cues to establish and maintain tissue transcriptomes during development. PMID:25417102

  7. Probing RNA tertiary structure: interhelical crosslinking of the hammerhead ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Sigurdsson, S T; Tuschl, T; Eckstein, F

    1995-01-01

    Distinct structural models for the hammerhead ribozyme derived from single-crystal X-ray diffraction and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements have been compared. Both models predict the same overall geometry, a wishbone shape with helices II and III nearly colinear and helix I positioned close to helix II. However, the relative orientations of helices I and II are different. To establish whether one of the models represents a kinetically active structure, a new crosslinking procedure was developed in which helices I and II of hammerhead ribozymes were disulfide-crosslinked via the 2' positions of specific sugar residues. Crosslinking residues on helices I and II that are close according to the X-ray structure did not appreciably reduce the catalytic efficiency. In contrast, crosslinking residues closely situated according to the FRET model dramatically reduced the cleavage rate by at least three orders of magnitude. These correlations between catalytic efficiencies and spatial proximities are consistent with the X-ray structure. PMID:7489517

  8. Splicing Wires Permanently With Explosives

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bement, Laurence J.; Kushnick, Anne C.

    1990-01-01

    Explosive joining process developed to splice wires by enclosing and metallurgically bonding wires within copper sheets. Joints exhibit many desirable characteristics, 100-percent conductivity and strength, no heat-induced annealing, no susceptibility to corrosion in contacts between dissimilar metals, and stability at high temperature. Used to join wires to terminals, as well as to splice wires. Applicable to telecommunications industry, in which millions of small wires spliced annually.

  9. Alternative RNA splicing and cancer

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Sali; Cheng, Chonghui

    2015-01-01

    Alternative splicing of pre-messenger RNA (mRNA) is a fundamental mechanism by which a gene can give rise to multiple distinct mRNA transcripts, yielding protein isoforms with different, even opposing, functions. With the recognition that alternative splicing occurs in nearly all human genes, its relationship with cancer-associated pathways has emerged as a rapidly growing field. In this review, we summarize recent findings that have implicated the critical role of alternative splicing in cancer and discuss current understandings of the mechanisms underlying dysregulated alternative splicing in cancer cells. PMID:23765697

  10. Characterization of Ribozymes Targeting a Congenital Night Blindness Mutation in Rhodopsin Mutation.

    PubMed

    Conley, Shannon M; Whalen, Patrick; Lewin, Alfred S; Naash, Muna I

    2016-01-01

    The G90D mutation in the rhodopsin gene leads to autosomal dominant congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB) in patients. This occurs because the G90D mutant protein cannot efficiently bind chromophore and is constitutively active. To combat this mutation, we designed and characterized two different hammerhead ribozymes to cleave G90D transcript. In vitro testing showed that the G90D1 ribozyme efficiently and specifically cleaved the mutant transcript while G90D2 cleaved both WT and mutant transcript. AAV-mediated delivery of G90D1 under the control of the mouse opsin promoter (MOP500) to G90D transgenic eyes showed that the ribozyme partially retarded the functional degeneration (as measured by electroretinography [ERG]) associated with this mutation. These results suggest that with additional optimization, ribozymes may be a useful part of the gene therapy knockdown strategy for dominant retinal disease. PMID:26427453

  11. Continuous In Vitro Evolution of a Ribozyme that Catalyzes Three Successive Nucleotidyl Addition Reactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McGinness, Kathleen E.; Wright, Martin C.; Joyce, Gerald F.

    2002-01-01

    Variants of the class I ligase ribozyme, which catalyzes joining of the 3' end of a template bound oligonucleotide to its own 5' end, have been made to evolve in a continuous manner by a simple serial transfer procedure that can be carried out indefinitely. This process was expanded to allow the evolution of ribozymes that catalyze three successive nucleotidyl addition reactions, two template-directed mononucleotide additions followed by RNA ligation. During the development of this behavior, a population of ribozymes was maintained against an overall dilution of more than 10(exp 406). The resulting ribozymes were capable of catalyzing the three-step reaction pathway, with nucleotide addition occurring in either a 5' yieldig 3' or a 3' yielding 5' direction. This purely chemical system provides a functional model of a multi-step reaction pathway that is undergoing Darwinian evolution.

  12. Rescue of abasic hammerhead ribozymes by exogenous addition of specific bases.

    PubMed

    Peracchi, A; Beigelman, L; Usman, N; Herschlag, D

    1996-10-15

    We have synthesized 13 hammerhead ribozyme variants, each containing an abasic residue at a specific position of the catalytic core. The activity of each of the variants is significantly reduced. In four cases, however, activity can be rescued by exogenous addition of the missing base. For one variant, the rescue is 300-fold; for another, the rescue is to the wild-type level. This latter abasic variant (G10.1X) has been characterized in detail. Activation is specific for guanine, the base initially removed. In addition, the specificity for guanine versus adenine is substantially altered by replacing C with U in the opposite strand of the ribozyme. These results show that a binding site for a small, noncharged ligand can be created in a preexisting ribozyme structure. This has implications for structure-function analysis of RNA, and leads to speculations about evolution in an "RNA world" and about the potential therapeutic use of ribozymes. PMID:8876168

  13. Folding of the natural hammerhead ribozyme is enhanced by interaction of auxiliary elements

    PubMed Central

    PENEDO, J. CARLOS; WILSON, TIMOTHY J.; JAYASENA, SUMEDHA D.; KHVOROVA, ANASTASIA; LILLEY, DAVID M.J.

    2004-01-01

    It has been shown that the activity of the hammerhead ribozyme at μM magnesium ion concentrations is markedly increased by the inclusion of loops in helices I and II. We have studied the effect of such loops on the magnesium ion-induced folding of the ribozyme, using fluorescence resonance energy transfer. We find that with the loops in place, folding into the active conformation occurs in a single step, in the μM range of magnesium ion concentration. Disruption of the loop–loop interaction leads to a reversion to two-step folding, with the second stage requiring mM concentrations of magnesium ion. Sodium ions also promote the folding of the natural form of the ribozyme at high concentrations, but the folding occurs as a two-stage process. The loops clearly act as important auxiliary elements in the function of the ribozyme, permitting folding to occur efficiently under physiological conditions. PMID:15100442

  14. A hammerhead ribozyme substrate and reporter for in vitro kinetoplastid RNA editing.

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Bingbing; Salavati, Reza; Heidmann, Stefan; Stuart, Kenneth

    2002-01-01

    Current in vitro assays for RNA editing in kinetoplastids directly examine the products generated by incubation of pre-mRNA substrate with guide RNA (gRNA) and mitochondrial (mt) extract. RNA editing substrates that are modeled on hammerhead ribozymes were designed with catalytic cores that contained or lacked additional uridylates (Us). They proved to be sensitive reporters of editing activity when used for in vitro assays. A deletion editing substrate that is based on A6 pre-mRNA had no ribozyme activity, but its incubation with gRNA and mt extract resulted in its deletion editing and production of a catalytically active ribozyme. Hammerhead ribozymes are thus sensitive tools to assay in vitro RNA editing. PMID:11991648

  15. Chemical synthesis of oligoribonucleotides containing 2-aminopurine: substrates for the investigation of ribozyme function

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doudna, J. A.; Szostak, J. W.; Rich, A.; Usman, N.

    1990-01-01

    The chemical synthesis of a fully protected ribonucleoside phosphoramidite, containing 2-aminopurine as the base component, and its incorporation into short oligoribonucleotides as substrates for an engineered ribozyme from Tetrahymena is described.

  16. Rapid kinetic characterization of hammerhead ribozymes by real-time monitoring of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET).

    PubMed Central

    Singh, K K; Parwaresch, R; Krupp, G

    1999-01-01

    In established methods for analyzing ribozyme kinetics, radiolabeled RNA substrates are primarily used. Each data point requires the cumbersome sampling, gel electrophoretic separation, and quantitation of reaction products, apart from the continuous loss of substrate by radioactive decay. We have used stable, double fluorescent end-labeled RNA substrates. Fluorescence of one fluorophore is quenched by intramolecular energy transfer (FRET). Upon substrate cleavage, both dyes become separated in two RNA products and fluorescence is restored. This can be followed in real time and ribozyme reactions can be analyzed under multiple (substrate excess) and under single (ribozyme excess) turnover conditions. A detailed comparison of unlabeled, single, and double fluorescent-labeled RNAs revealed moderate kinetic differences. Results with two systems, hammerhead ribozymes in I/II (small ribozyme, large substrate) and in I/III format (large ribozyme, small substrate), are reported. PMID:10573125

  17. ERISdb: a database of plant splice sites and splicing signals.

    PubMed

    Szcześniak, Michał Wojciech; Kabza, Michał; Pokrzywa, Rafał; Gudyś, Adam; Makałowska, Izabela

    2013-02-01

    Splicing is one of the major contributors to observed spatiotemporal diversification of transcripts and proteins in metazoans. There are numerous factors that affect the process, but splice sites themselves along with the adjacent splicing signals are critical here. Unfortunately, there is still little known about splicing in plants and, consequently, further research in some fields of plant molecular biology will encounter difficulties. Keeping this in mind, we performed a large-scale analysis of splice sites in eight plant species, using novel algorithms and tools developed by us. The analyses included identification of orthologous splice sites, polypyrimidine tracts and branch sites. Additionally we identified putative intronic and exonic cis-regulatory motifs, U12 introns as well as splice sites in 45 microRNA genes in five plant species. We also provide experimental evidence for plant splice sites in the form of expressed sequence tag and RNA-Seq data. All the data are stored in a novel database called ERISdb and are freely available at http://lemur.amu.edu.pl/share/ERISdb/. PMID:23299413

  18. An improved version of the hairpin ribozyme functions as a ribonucleoprotein complex.

    PubMed

    Sargueil, B; Pecchia, D B; Burke, J M

    1995-06-13

    Most RNA molecules that are endowed with catalytic activity function in the form of ribonucleoproteins within cells. These complexes are frequently large, poorly defined, and difficult to study. As a model system to study biological catalysis by ribonucleoproteins, we have modified the hairpin ribozyme by inserting an RNA structure that serves as a binding site for bacteriophage R17 coat protein in the form of an extension to ribozyme helix 4, which lies at the periphery of the catalytic domain. In the absence of protein, we find that incorporation of the protein-binding domain increases the catalytic efficiency of the hairpin ribozyme by 2-fold for the cleavage reaction and 16-fold for the ligation reaction. This increase in activity correlates with an increase in the proportion of molecules which fold into the active tertiary structure, as measured by a UV cross-linking assay. Mobility-shift and filter-binding assays of complex formation show that R17 coat protein binds to the chimeric ribozyme with a dissociation constant essentially identical to that of the isolated protein-binding domain; no binding of the protein to the unmodified ribozyme could be detected. The kinetics of cleavage and ligation reactions are not altered by the presence of saturating concentrations of coat protein, and competition studies demonstrate that the protein remains bound to the ribozyme throughout the catalytic cycle. These studies establish that the hairpin ribozyme can be engineered to function efficiently in the form of a ribonucleoprotein in vitro and will serve as the basis for future experimentation to understand mechanisms of protein modulation of catalytic RNA activity, and to introduce other protein-binding domains, for example, HIV-1 rev-binding and tar elements, which may be useful for influencing subcellular localization, regulating intracellular activity, or generating ribozymes that also function as "decoys" in antiviral applications. PMID:7779820

  19. Stabilization of ribozyme-like cis-noncoding rRNAs induces apoptotic and nonapoptotic death in lung cells

    PubMed Central

    Gee, M; Gu, Y; Fields, J R; Shiao, Y-H

    2012-01-01

    Bidirectional non-protein-coding RNAs are ubiquitously transcribed from the genome. Convergent sense and antisense transcripts may regulate each other. Here, we examined the convergent cis-noncoding rRNAs (nc-rRNAs) in A5 and E9 lung cancer models. Sense nc-rRNAs extending from rDNA intergenic region to internal transcribed spacer of around 10 kb in length were identified. nc-rRNAs in sense direction exhibited in vitro characteristics of ribozymes, namely, degradation upon incubation with MgCl2 and stabilization by complementary oligonucleotides. Detection of endogenous cleavage-ligation products carrying internal deletion of hundreds to thousands nucleotides by massively parallel sequencing confirmed the catalytic properties. Transfection of oligonucleotides pairing with antisense nc-rRNAs stabilized both target and complementary transcripts, perturbed rRNA biogenesis, and induced massive cell death via apoptotic and/or nonapoptotic mechanisms depending on cell type and treatment. Oligonucleotides targeting cellular sense transcripts are less responsive. Spontaneously detached cells, though rare, also showed accumulation of nc-rRNAs and perturbation of rRNA biogenesis. Direct participation of nc-rRNAs in apoptotic and nonapoptotic death was demonstrated by transfection of synthetic nc-rRNAs encompassing the rDNA promoter. In sum, convergent cis-nc-rRNAs follow a feed-forward mechanism to regulate each other and rRNA biogenesis. This opens an opportunity to disrupt rRNA biogenesis, commonly upregulated in cancers, via inhibition of ribozyme-like activities in nc-rRNAs. PMID:22419110

  20. RNase P Ribozymes Inhibit the Replication of Human Cytomegalovirus by Targeting Essential Viral Capsid Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Zhu; Reeves, Michael; Ye, Jun; Trang, Phong; Zhu, Li; Sheng, Jingxue; Wang, Yu; Zen, Ke; Wu, Jianguo; Liu, Fenyong

    2015-01-01

    An engineered RNase P-based ribozyme variant, which was generated using the in vitro selection procedure, was used to target the overlapping mRNA region of two proteins essential for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replication: capsid assembly protein (AP) and protease (PR). In vitro studies showed that the generated variant, V718-A, cleaved the target AP mRNA sequence efficiently and its activity was about 60-fold higher than that of wild type ribozyme M1-A. Furthermore, we observed a reduction of 98%–99% in AP/PR expression and an inhibition of 50,000 fold in viral growth in cells with V718-A, while a 75% reduction in AP/PR expression and a 500-fold inhibition in viral growth was found in cells with M1-A. Examination of the antiviral effects of the generated ribozyme on the HCMV replication cycle suggested that viral DNA encapsidation was inhibited and as a consequence, viral capsid assembly was blocked when the expression of AP and PR was inhibited by the ribozyme. Thus, our study indicates that the generated ribozyme variant is highly effective in inhibiting HCMV gene expression and blocking viral replication, and suggests that engineered RNase P ribozyme can be potentially developed as a promising gene-targeting agent for anti-HCMV therapy. PMID:26114473

  1. Ribozyme recognition of RNA by tertiary interactions with specific ribose 2'-OH groups.

    PubMed

    Pyle, A M; Cech, T R

    1991-04-18

    Shortened forms of the group I intron from Tetrahymena catalyse sequence-specific cleavage of exogenous oligonucleotide substrates. The association between RNA enzyme (ribozyme) and substrate is mediated by pairing between an internal guide sequence on the ribozyme and a complementary sequence on the substrate. RNA substrates and cleavage products associate with a binding energy greater than that of base-pairing by approximately 4 kcal-mol-1 (at 42 degrees C), whereas DNA associates with an energy around that expected for base-pairing. It has been proposed that the difference in binding affinity is due to specific 2'-OH groups on an RNA substrate forming stabilizing tertiary interactions with the core of the ribozyme, or that the RNA.RNA helix formed upon association of an RNA substrate and the ribozyme might be more stable than an RNA.DNA helix of the same sequence. To differentiate between these two models, chimaeric oligonucleotides containing deoxynucleotide residues at successive positions along the chain were synthesized, and their equilibrium binding constants for association with the ribozyme were measured directly by a new gel electrophoresis technique. We report here that most of the extra binding energy can be accounted for by discrete RNA-ribozyme interactions, the 2'-OH group on the sugar residue three nucleotides from the cleavage site contributing the most interaction energy. Thus, in addition to the well documented binding of RNA to RNA by base-pairing, 2'-OH groups within a duplex can also mediate association between RNA molecules. PMID:1708111

  2. Polymerase ribozyme efficiency increased by G/T-rich DNA oligonucleotides

    PubMed Central

    Yao, Chengguo; Müller, Ulrich F.

    2011-01-01

    The RNA world hypothesis states that the early evolution of life went through a stage where RNA served as genome and as catalyst. The replication of RNA world organisms would have been facilitated by ribozymes that catalyze RNA polymerization. To recapitulate an RNA world in the laboratory, a series of RNA polymerase ribozymes was developed previously. However, these ribozymes have a polymerization efficiency that is too low for self-replication, and the most efficient ribozymes prefer one specific template sequence. The limiting factor for polymerization efficiency is the weak sequence-independent binding to its primer/template substrate. Most of the known polymerase ribozymes bind an RNA heptanucleotide to form the P2 duplex on the ribozyme. By modifying this heptanucleotide, we were able to significantly increase polymerization efficiency. Truncations at the 3′-terminus of this heptanucleotide increased full-length primer extension by 10-fold, on a specific template sequence. In contrast, polymerization on several different template sequences was improved dramatically by replacing the RNA heptanucleotide with DNA oligomers containing randomized sequences of 15 nt. The presence of G and T in the random sequences was sufficient for this effect, with an optimal composition of 60% G and 40% T. Our results indicate that these DNA sequences function by establishing many weak and nonspecific base-pairing interactions to the single-stranded portion of the template. Such low-specificity interactions could have had important functions in an RNA world. PMID:21622900

  3. An in vitro evolved glmS ribozyme has the wildtype fold but loses coenzyme dependence

    PubMed Central

    Lau, Matthew W. L.; Ferré-D’Amaré, Adrian R.

    2014-01-01

    Uniquely among known ribozymes, the glmS ribozyme-riboswitch requires a small-molecule coenzyme, glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P). Although consistent with its gene-regulatory function, use of GlcN6P is unexpected because all other characterized self-cleaving ribozymes employ RNA functional groups or divalent cations for catalysis. To determine what active site features make this ribozyme reliant on GlcN6P, and to evaluate whether it might have evolved from a coenzyme-independent ancestor, we isolated a GlcN6P-independent variant through in vitro selection. Three active site mutations suffice to generate a highly reactive RNA that adopts the wildtype fold but employs divalent cations for catalysis and is insensitive to GlcN6P. Biochemical and crystallographic comparisons of wildtype and mutant ribozymes show that a handful of functional groups fine-tune the RNA to be either coenzyme- or cation-dependent. These results indicate that a few mutations can confer novel biochemical activities on structured RNAs. Thus, families of structurally related ribozymes with divergent function may exist. PMID:24096303

  4. Molecular crowding overcomes the destabilizing effects of mutations in a bacterial ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Hui-Ting; Kilburn, Duncan; Behrouzi, Reza; Briber, Robert M.; Woodson, Sarah A.

    2015-01-01

    The native structure of the Azoarcus group I ribozyme is stabilized by the cooperative formation of tertiary interactions between double helical domains. Thus, even single mutations that break this network of tertiary interactions reduce ribozyme activity in physiological Mg2+ concentrations. Here, we report that molecular crowding comparable to that in the cell compensates for destabilizing mutations in the Azoarcus ribozyme. Small angle X-ray scattering, native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and activity assays were used to compare folding free energies in dilute and crowded solutions containing 18% PEG1000. Crowder molecules allowed the wild-type and mutant ribozymes to fold at similarly low Mg2+ concentrations and stabilized the active structure of the mutant ribozymes under physiological conditions. This compensation helps explains why ribozyme mutations are often less deleterious in the cell than in the test tube. Nevertheless, crowding did not rescue the high fraction of folded but less active structures formed by double and triple mutants. We conclude that crowding broadens the fitness landscape by stabilizing compact RNA structures without improving the specificity of self-assembly. PMID:25541198

  5. Robust Suppression of HIV Replication by Intracellularly Expressed Reverse Transcriptase Aptamers Is Independent of Ribozyme Processing

    PubMed Central

    Lange, Margaret J; Sharma, Tarun K; Whatley, Angela S; Landon, Linda A; Tempesta, Michael A; Johnson, Marc C; Burke, Donald H

    2012-01-01

    RNA aptamers that bind human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) also inhibit viral replication, making them attractive as therapeutic candidates and potential tools for dissecting viral pathogenesis. However, it is not well understood how aptamer-expression context and cellular RNA pathways govern aptamer accumulation and net antiviral bioactivity. Using a previously-described expression cassette in which aptamers were flanked by two “minimal core” hammerhead ribozymes, we observed only weak suppression of pseudotyped HIV. To evaluate the importance of the minimal ribozymes, we replaced them with extended, tertiary-stabilized hammerhead ribozymes with enhanced self-cleavage activity, in addition to noncleaving ribozymes with active site mutations. Both the active and inactive versions of the extended hammerhead ribozymes increased inhibition of pseudotyped virus, indicating that processing is not necessary for bioactivity. Clonal stable cell lines expressing aptamers from these modified constructs strongly suppressed infectious virus, and were more effective than minimal ribozymes at high viral multiplicity of infection (MOI). Tertiary stabilization greatly increased aptamer accumulation in viral and subcellular compartments, again regardless of self-cleavage capability. We therefore propose that the increased accumulation is responsible for increased suppression, that the bioactive form of the aptamer is one of the uncleaved or partially cleaved transcripts, and that tertiary stabilization increases transcript stability by reducing exonuclease degradation. PMID:22948672

  6. Molecular crowding overcomes the destabilizing effects of mutations in a bacterial ribozyme

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, Hui-Ting; Kilburn, D.; Behrouzi, R.; Briber, R. M.; Woodson, S. A.

    2014-12-05

    The native structure of the Azoarcus group I ribozyme is stabilized by the cooperative formation of tertiary interactions between double helical domains. Thus, even single mutations that break this network of tertiary interactions reduce ribozyme activity in physiological Mg2+ concentrations. Here, we report that molecular crowding comparable to that in the cell compensates for destabilizing mutations in the Azoarcus ribozyme. Small angle X-ray scattering, native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and activity assays were used to compare folding free energies in dilute and crowded solutions containing 18% PEG1000. Crowder molecules allowed the wild-type and mutant ribozymes to fold at similarly low Mg2+ concentrations and stabilized the active structure of the mutant ribozymes under physiological conditions. This compensation helps explains why ribozyme mutations are often less deleterious in the cell than in the test tube. Nevertheless, crowding did not rescue the high fraction of folded but less active structures formed by double and triple mutants. We conclude that crowding broadens the fitness landscape by stabilizing compact RNA structures without improving the specificity of self-assembly.

  7. Metal ion specificities for folding and cleavage activity in the Schistosoma hammerhead ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Boots, Jennifer L.; Canny, Marella D.; Azimi, Ehsan; Pardi, Arthur

    2008-01-01

    The effects of various metal ions on cleavage activity and global folding have been studied in the extended Schistosoma hammerhead ribozyme. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer was used to probe global folding as a function of various monovalent and divalent metal ions in this ribozyme. The divalent metals ions Ca2+, Mg2+, Mn2+, and Sr2+ have a relatively small variation (less than sixfold) in their ability to globally fold the hammerhead ribozyme, which contrasts with the very large difference (>10,000-fold) in apparent rate constants for cleavage for these divalent metal ions in single-turnover kinetic experiments. There is still a very large range (>4600-fold) in the apparent rate constants for cleavage for these divalent metal ions measured in high salt (2 M NaCl) conditions where the ribozyme is globally folded. These results demonstrate that the identity of the divalent metal ion has little effect on global folding of the Schistosoma hammerhead ribozyme, whereas it has a very large effect on the cleavage kinetics. Mechanisms by which the identity of the divalent metal ion can have such a large effect on cleavage activity in the Schistosoma hammerhead ribozyme are discussed. PMID:18755844

  8. Importance in catalysis of a magnesium ion with very low affinity for a hammerhead ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Inoue, Atsushi; Takagi, Yasuomi; Taira, Kazunari

    2004-01-01

    Available evidence suggests that Mg2+ ions are involved in reactions catalyzed by hammerhead ribozymes. However, the activity in the presence of exclusively monovalent ions led us to question whether divalent metal ions really function as catalysts when they are present. We investigated ribozyme activity in the presence of high levels of Mg2+ ions and the effects of Li+ ions in promoting ribozyme activity. We found that catalytic activity increased linearly with increasing concentrations of Mg2+ ions and did not reach a plateau value even at 1 M Mg2+ ions. Furthermore, this dependence on Mg2+ ions was observed in the presence of a high concentration of Li+ ions. These results indicate that the Mg2+ ion is a very effective cofactor but that the affinity of the ribozyme for a specific Mg2+ ion is very low. Moreover, cleavage by the ribozyme in the presence of both Li+ and Mg2+ ions was more effective than expected, suggesting the existence of a new reaction pathway—a cooperative pathway—in the presence of these multiple ions, and the possibility that a Mg2+ ion with weak affinity for the ribozyme is likely to function in structural support and/or act as a catalyst. PMID:15302920

  9. Prediction of hammerhead ribozyme intracellular activity with the catalytic core fingerprint.

    PubMed

    Gabryelska, Marta Magdalena; Wyszko, Eliza; Szymański, Maciej; Popenda, Mariusz; Barciszewski, Jan

    2013-05-01

    Hammerhead ribozyme is a versatile tool for down-regulation of gene expression in vivo. Owing to its small size and high activity, it is used as a model for RNA structure-function relationship studies. In the present paper we describe a new extended hammerhead ribozyme HH-2 with a tertiary stabilizing motif constructed on the basis of the tetraloop receptor sequence. This ribozyme is very active in living cells, but shows low activity in vitro. To understand it, we analysed tertiary structure models of substrate-ribozyme complexes. We calculated six unique catalytic core geometry parameters as distances and angles between particular atoms that we call the ribozyme fingerprint. A flanking sequence and tertiary motif change the geometry of the general base, general acid, nucleophile and leaving group. We found almost complete correlation between these parameters and the decrease of target gene expression in the cells. The tertiary structure model calculations allow us to predict ribozyme intracellular activity. Our approach could be widely adapted to characterize catalytic properties of other RNAs. PMID:23418809

  10. Molecular crowding overcomes the destabilizing effects of mutations in a bacterial ribozyme

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Lee, Hui-Ting; Kilburn, D.; Behrouzi, R.; Briber, R. M.; Woodson, S. A.

    2014-12-05

    The native structure of the Azoarcus group I ribozyme is stabilized by the cooperative formation of tertiary interactions between double helical domains. Thus, even single mutations that break this network of tertiary interactions reduce ribozyme activity in physiological Mg2+ concentrations. Here, we report that molecular crowding comparable to that in the cell compensates for destabilizing mutations in the Azoarcus ribozyme. Small angle X-ray scattering, native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and activity assays were used to compare folding free energies in dilute and crowded solutions containing 18% PEG1000. Crowder molecules allowed the wild-type and mutant ribozymes to fold at similarly low Mg2+more » concentrations and stabilized the active structure of the mutant ribozymes under physiological conditions. This compensation helps explains why ribozyme mutations are often less deleterious in the cell than in the test tube. Nevertheless, crowding did not rescue the high fraction of folded but less active structures formed by double and triple mutants. We conclude that crowding broadens the fitness landscape by stabilizing compact RNA structures without improving the specificity of self-assembly.« less

  11. Selection of the Most Potent Specific On/Off Adaptor-Hepatitis Delta Virus Ribozymes for Use in Gene Targeting

    PubMed Central

    Lévesque, Michel V.; Rouleau, Samuel G.; Perreault, Jean-Pierre

    2016-01-01

    The Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) ribozyme, which is well adapted to the environment of the human cell, is an excellent candidate for the future development of gene-inactivation systems. On top of this, a new generation of HDV ribozymes now exists that benefits from the addition of a specific on/off adaptor (specifically the SOFA-HDV ribozymes) which greatly increases both the ribozyme’s specificity and its cleavage activity. Unlike RNAi and hammerhead ribozymes, the designing of SOFA-HDV ribozymes to cleave, in trans, given RNA species has never been the object of a systematic optimization study, even with their recent use for the gene knockdown of various targets. This report aims at both improving and clarifying the design process of SOFA-HDV ribozymes. Both the ribozyme and the targeted RNA substrate were analyzed in order to provide new criteria that are useful in the selection of the most potent SOFA-HDV ribozymes. The crucial features present in both the ribozyme’s biosensor and blocker, as well as at the target site, were identified and characterized. Simple rules were derived and tested using hepatitis C virus NS5B RNA as a model target. Overall, this method should promote the use of the SOFA-HDV ribozymes in a plethora of applications in both functional genomics and gene therapy. PMID:21793786

  12. NMR structure of the A730 loop of the Neurospora VS ribozyme: insights into the formation of the active site

    PubMed Central

    Bonneau, Eric; Girard, Nicolas; Boisbouvier, Jérôme; Legault, Pascale

    2011-01-01

    The Neurospora VS ribozyme is a small nucleolytic ribozyme with unique primary, secondary and global tertiary structures, which displays mechanistic similarities to the hairpin ribozyme. Here, we determined the high-resolution NMR structure of a stem–loop VI fragment containing the A730 internal loop, which forms part of the active site. In the presence of magnesium ions, the A730 loop adopts a structure that is consistent with existing biochemical data and most likely reflects its conformation in the VS ribozyme prior to docking with the cleavage site internal loop. Interestingly, the A730 loop adopts an S-turn motif that is also present in loop B within the hairpin ribozyme active site. The S-turn appears necessary to expose the Watson–Crick edge of a catalytically important residue (A756) so that it can fulfill its role in catalysis. The A730 loop and the cleavage site loop of the VS ribozyme display structural similarities to internal loops found in the active site of the hairpin ribozyme. These similarities provided a rationale to build a model of the VS ribozyme active site based on the crystal structure of the hairpin ribozyme. PMID:21266483

  13. Alternative splicing and muscular dystrophy

    PubMed Central

    Pistoni, Mariaelena; Ghigna, Claudia; Gabellini, Davide

    2013-01-01

    Alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs is a major contributor to proteomic diversity and to the control of gene expression in higher eukaryotic cells. For this reasons, alternative splicing is tightly regulated in different tissues and developmental stages and its disruption can lead to a wide range of human disorders. The aim of this review is to focus on the relevance of alternative splicing for muscle function and muscle disease. We begin by giving a brief overview of alternative splicing, muscle-specific gene expression and muscular dystrophy. Next, to illustrate these concepts we focus on two muscular dystrophy, myotonic muscular dystrophy and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, both associated to disruption of splicing regulation in muscle. PMID:20603608

  14. Therapeutic targeting of splicing in cancer.

    PubMed

    Lee, Stanley Chun-Wei; Abdel-Wahab, Omar

    2016-09-01

    Recent studies have highlighted that splicing patterns are frequently altered in cancer and that mutations in genes encoding spliceosomal proteins, as well as mutations affecting the splicing of key cancer-associated genes, are enriched in cancer. In parallel, there is also accumulating evidence that several molecular subtypes of cancer are highly dependent on splicing function for cell survival. These findings have resulted in a growing interest in targeting splicing catalysis, splicing regulatory proteins, and/or specific key altered splicing events in the treatment of cancer. Here we present strategies that exist and that are in development to target altered dependency on the spliceosome, as well as aberrant splicing, in cancer. These include drugs to target global splicing in cancer subtypes that are preferentially dependent on wild-type splicing for survival, methods to alter post-translational modifications of splicing-regulating proteins, and strategies to modulate pathologic splicing events and protein-RNA interactions in cancer. PMID:27603132

  15. Synthetic biology with RNA motifs.

    PubMed

    Saito, Hirohide; Inoue, Tan

    2009-02-01

    Structural motifs in naturally occurring RNAs and RNPs can be employed as new molecular parts for synthetic biology to facilitate the development of novel devices and systems that modulate cellular functions. In this review, we focus on the following: (i) experimental evolution techniques of RNA molecules in vitro and (ii) their applications for regulating gene expression systems in vivo. For experimental evolution, new artificial RNA aptamers and RNA enzymes (ribozymes) have been selected in vitro. These functional RNA molecules are likely to be applicable in the reprogramming of existing gene regulatory systems. Furthermore, they may be used for designing hypothetical RNA-based living systems in the so-called RNA world. For the regulation of gene expressions in living cells, the development of new riboswitches allows us to modulate the target gene expression in a tailor-made manner. Moreover, recently RNA-based synthetic genetic circuits have been reported by employing functional RNA molecules, expanding the repertory of synthetic biology with RNA motifs. PMID:18775792

  16. Metal ion cooperativity in ribozyme cleavage of RNA

    PubMed Central

    Brännvall, Mathias; Kirsebom, Leif A.

    2001-01-01

    Combinations of chemical and genetic approaches were used to study the function of divalent metal ions in cleavage of RNA by the ribozyme RNase P RNA. We show that different divalent metal ions have differential effects on cleavage site recognition and rescue of cleavage activity by mixing divalent metal ions that do not promote cleavage by themselves. We conclude that efficient and correct cleavage is the result of cooperativity between divalent metal ions bound at different sites in the RNase P RNA-substrate complex. Complementation of a mutant RNase P RNA phenotype as a result of divalent metal ion replacement is demonstrated also. This finding together with other data indicate that one of the metal ions involved in this cooperativity is positioned near the cleavage site. The possibility that the Mg2+/Ca2+ ratio might regulate the activity of biocatalysts that depend on RNA for activity is discussed. PMID:11606743

  17. Cleavage of an amide bond by a ribozyme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dai, X.; De Mesmaeker, A.; Joyce, G. F.; Miller, S. L. (Principal Investigator)

    1995-01-01

    A variant form of a group I ribozyme, optimized by in vitro evolution for its ability to catalyze magnesium-dependent phosphoester transfer reactions involving DNA substrates, also catalyzes the cleavage of an unactivated alkyl amide when that linkage is presented in the context of an oligodeoxynucleotide analog. Substrates containing an amide bond that joins either two DNA oligos, or a DNA oligo and a short peptide, are cleaved in a magnesium-dependent fashion to generate the expected products. The first-order rate constant, kcat, is 0.1 x 10(-5) min-1 to 1 x 10(-5) min-1 for the DNA-flanked substrates, which corresponds to a rate acceleration of more than 10(3) as compared with the uncatalyzed reaction.

  18. Template-directed primer extension catalyzed by the Tetrahymena ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Bartel, D P; Doudna, J A; Usman, N; Szostak, J W

    1991-01-01

    The Tetrahymena ribozyme has been shown to catalyze an RNA polymerase-like reaction in which an RNA primer is extended by the sequential addition of pN nucleotides derived from GpN dinucleotides, where N = A, C, or U. Here, we show that this reaction is influenced by the presence of a template; bases that can form Watson-Crick base pairs with a template add as much as 25-fold more efficiently than mismatched bases. A mutant enzyme with an altered guanosine binding site can catalyze template-directed primer extension with all four bases when supplied with dinucleotides of the form 2-aminopurine-pN. Images PMID:2038341

  19. Minimum Factorization Agreement of Spliced ESTs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonizzoni, Paola; Della Vedova, Gianluca; Dondi, Riccardo; Pirola, Yuri; Rizzi, Raffaella

    Producing spliced EST sequences is a fundamental task in the computational problem of reconstructing splice and transcript variants, a crucial step in the alternative splicing investigation. Now, given an EST sequence, there can be several spliced EST sequences associated to it, since the original EST sequences may have different alignments against wide genomic regions.

  20. Disparate HDV ribozyme crystal structures represent intermediates on a rugged free-energy landscape

    PubMed Central

    Sripathi, Kamali N.; Tay, Wendy W.; Banáš, Pavel; Otyepka, Michal; Šponer, Jiří; Walter, Nils G.

    2014-01-01

    The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme is a member of the class of small, self-cleaving catalytic RNAs found in a wide range of genomes from HDV to human. Both pre- and post-catalysis (precursor and product) crystal structures of the cis-acting genomic HDV ribozyme have been determined. These structures, together with extensive solution probing, have suggested that a significant conformational change accompanies catalysis. A recent crystal structure of a trans-acting precursor, obtained at low pH and by molecular replacement from the previous product conformation, conforms to the product, raising the possibility that it represents an activated conformer past the conformational change. Here, using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), we discovered that cleavage of this ribozyme at physiological pH is accompanied by a structural lengthening in magnitude comparable to previous trans-acting HDV ribozymes. Conformational heterogeneity observed by FRET in solution appears to have been removed upon crystallization. Analysis of a total of 1.8 µsec of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations showed that the crystallographically unresolved cleavage site conformation is likely correctly modeled after the hammerhead ribozyme, but that crystal contacts and the removal of several 2′-oxygens near the scissile phosphate compromise catalytic in-line fitness. A cis-acting version of the ribozyme exhibits a more dynamic active site, while a G-1 residue upstream of the scissile phosphate favors poor fitness, allowing us to rationalize corresponding changes in catalytic activity. Based on these data, we propose that the available crystal structures of the HDV ribozyme represent intermediates on an overall rugged RNA folding free-energy landscape. PMID:24854621

  1. Measurements of weak interactions between truncated substrates and a hammerhead ribozyme by competitive kinetic analyses: implications for the design of new and efficient ribozymes with high sequence specificity

    PubMed Central

    Kasai, Yasuhiro; Shizuku, Hideki; Takagi, Yasuomi; Warashina, Masaki; Taira, Kazunari

    2002-01-01

    Exploitation of ribozymes in a practical setting requires high catalytic activity and strong specificity. The hammerhead ribozyme R32 has considerable potential in this regard since it has very high catalytic activity. In this study, we have examined how R32 recognizes and cleaves a specific substrate, focusing on the mechanism behind the specificity. Comparing rates of cleavage of a substrate in a mixture that included the correct substrate and various substrates with point mutations, we found that R32 cleaved the correct substrate specifically and at a high rate. To clarify the source of this strong specificity, we quantified the weak interactions between R32 and various truncated substrates, using truncated substrates as competitive inhibitors since they were not readily cleaved during kinetic measurements of cleavage of the correct substrate, S11. We found that the strong specificity of the cleavage reaction was due to a closed form of R32 with a hairpin structure. The self-complementary structure within R32 enabled the ribozyme to discriminate between the correct substrate and a mismatched substrate. Since this hairpin motif did not increase the Km (it did not inhibit the binding interaction) or decrease the kcat (it did not decrease the cleavage rate), this kind of hairpin structure might be useful for the design of new ribozymes with strong specificity and high activity. PMID:12034825

  2. Effects of variations in length of hammerhead ribozyme antisense arms upon the cleavage of longer RNA substrates.

    PubMed Central

    Sioud, M

    1997-01-01

    The efficacy of intracellular binding of hammerhead ribozyme to its cleavage site in target RNA is a major requirement for its use as a therapeutic agent. Such efficacy can be influenced by several factors, such as the length of the ribozyme antisense arms and mRNA secondary structures. Analysis of various IL-2 hammerhead ribozymes having different antisense arms but directed to the same site predicts that the hammerhead ribozyme target site is present within a double-stranded region that is flanked by single-stranded loops. Extension of the low cleaving hammerhead ribozyme antisense arms by nucleotides that base pair with the single-stranded regions facilitated the hammerhead ribozyme binding to longer RNA substrates (e.g. mRNA). In addition, a correlation between the in vitro and intracellular results was also found. Thus, the present study would facilitate the design of hammerhead ribozymes directed against higher order structured sites. Further, it emphasises the importance of detailed structural investigations of hammerhead ribozyme full-length target RNAs. PMID:9016562

  3. Modulation of c-fms proto-oncogene in an ovarian carcinoma cell line by a hammerhead ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Yokoyama, Y.; Morishita, S.; Takahashi, Y.; Hashimoto, M.; Tamaya, T.

    1997-01-01

    Co-expression of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and its receptor (c-fms) is often found in ovarian epithelial carcinoma, suggesting the existence of autocrine regulation of cell growth by M-CSF. To block this autocrine loop, we have developed hammerhead ribozymes against c-fms mRNA. As target sites of the ribozyme, we chose the GUC sequence in codon 18 and codon 27 of c-fms mRNA. Two kinds of ribozymes were able to cleave an artificial c-fms RNA substrate in a cell-free system, although the ribozyme against codon 18 was much more efficient than that against codon 27. We next constructed an expression vector carrying a ribozyme sequence that targeted the GUC sequence in codon 18 of c-fms mRNA. It was introduced into TYK-nu cells that expressed M-CSF and its receptor. Its transfectant showed a reduced growth potential. The expression levels of c-fms protein and mRNA in the transfectant were clearly decreased with the expression of ribozyme RNA compared with that of an untransfected control or a transfectant with the vector without the ribozyme sequence. These results suggest that the ribozyme against GUC in codon 18 of c-fms mRNA is a promising tool for blocking the autocrine loop of M-CSF in ovarian epithelial carcinoma. Images Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 5 Figure 6 PMID:9376277

  4. Splicing Efficiently Couples Optical Fibers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutes, G. F.

    1985-01-01

    Method of splicing single-mode optical fibers results in very low transmission losses through joined fiber ends. Coupling losses between joined optical-fiber ends only 0.1 dB. Method needs no special operator training.

  5. Assembly of core helices and rapid tertiary folding of a small bacterial group I ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Rangan, Prashanth; Masquida, Benoît; Westhof, Eric; Woodson, Sarah A.

    2003-01-01

    Compact but non-native intermediates have been implicated in the hierarchical folding of several large RNAs, but there is little information on their structure. In this article, ribonuclease and hydroxyl radical cleavage protection assays showed that base pairing of core helices stabilize a compact state of a small group I ribozyme from Azoarcus pre-tRNAile. Base pairing of the ribozyme core requires 10-fold less Mg2+ than stable tertiary interactions, indicating that assembly of helices in the catalytic core represents a distinct phase that precedes the formation of native tertiary structure. Tertiary folding occurs in <100 ms at 37°C. Such rapid folding is unprecedented among group I ribozymes and illustrates the association between structural complexity and folding time. A 3D model of the Azoarcus ribozyme was constructed by identifying homologous sequence motifs in rRNA. The model reveals distinct structural features, such as a large interface between the P4–P6 and P3–P9 domains, that may explain the unusual stability of the Azoarcus ribozyme and the cooperativity of folding. PMID:12574513

  6. Conformational heterogeneity and the determinants of tertiary stabilization in the hammerhead ribozyme from Dolichopoda cave crickets.

    PubMed

    Roychowdhury-Saha, Manami; Roychowdhury, Sugata; Burke, Donald H

    2011-01-01

    Repetitive DNA elements in Dolichopoda cave cricket genomes contain extended hammerhead ribozymes that are functional in adult crickets, but that exhibit very low self-cleavage activity in vitro relative to other extended hammerhead ribozymes. We find that the parental ribozyme tends to misfold into alternate secondary structures in vitro, complicating analysis of contributions by specific nucleotides to activity under biologically relevant magnesium concentrations. However, minor sequence alterations that stabilize the active secondary structure, without altering candidate tertiary interacting nucleotides, boosted observed rates more than 50-fold (4.4 ± 1.7 min(-1)) and doubled the cleavage extent (>60%) in submillimolar magnesium. Productive alterations included flipping two base pairs in stem I, lengthening stem I and opening stem III to generate a trans-cleaving ribozyme. Specific peripheral nucleotides involved in tertiary stabilization were then identified through kinetic analysis for a series of sequence variants and by correlating plateau cleavage values with band intensity in native gel electrophoresis. These results demonstrate that conformational heterogeneity governs self-cleavage by the wild-type Dolichopoda hammerhead ribozyme in vitro, and they suggest a strategy for improving activity and enhancing the suitability of HHRz for intracellular and biotechnology applications. PMID:21712651

  7. Adenine, a hairpin ribozyme cofactor--high-pressure and competition studies.

    PubMed

    Ztouti, Myriam; Kaddour, Hussein; Miralles, Francisco; Simian, Christophe; Vergne, Jacques; Hervé, Guy; Maurel, Marie-Christine

    2009-05-01

    The RNA world hypothesis assumes that life arose from ancestral RNA molecules, which stored genetic information and catalyzed chemical reactions. Although RNA catalysis was believed to be restricted to phosphate chemistry, it is now established that the RNA has much wider catalytic capacities. In this respect, we devised, in a previous study, two hairpin ribozymes (adenine-dependent hairpin ribozyme 1 and adenine-dependent hairpin ribozyme 2) that require adenine as cofactor for their reversible self-cleavage. We have now used high hydrostatic pressure to investigate the role of adenine in the catalytic activity of adenine-dependent hairpin ribozyme 1. High-pressure studies are of interest because they make it possible to determine the volume changes associated with the reactions, which in turn reflect the conformational modifications and changes in hydration involved in the catalytic mechanism. They are also relevant in the context of piezophilic organisms, as well as in relation to the extreme conditions that prevailed at the origin of life. Our results indicate that the catalytic process involves a transition state whose formation is accompanied by a positive activation volume and release of water molecules. In addition, competition experiments with adenine analogs strongly suggest that exogenous adenine replaces the adenine present at the catalytic site of the wild-type hairpin ribozyme. PMID:19476496

  8. Inducible Knockdown of Plasmodium Gene Expression Using the glmS Ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Prommana, Parichat; Uthaipibull, Chairat; Wongsombat, Chayaphat; Kamchonwongpaisan, Sumalee; Yuthavong, Yongyuth; Knuepfer, Ellen; Holder, Anthony A.; Shaw, Philip J.

    2013-01-01

    Conventional reverse genetic approaches for study of Plasmodium malaria parasite gene function are limited, or not applicable. Hence, new inducible systems are needed. Here we describe a method to control P. falciparum gene expression in which target genes bearing a glmS ribozyme in the 3′ untranslated region are efficiently knocked down in transgenic P. falciparum parasites in response to glucosamine inducer. Using reporter genes, we show that the glmS ribozyme cleaves reporter mRNA in vivo leading to reduction in mRNA expression following glucosamine treatment. Glucosamine-induced ribozyme activation led to efficient reduction of reporter protein, which could be rapidly reversed by removing the inducer. The glmS ribozyme was validated as a reverse-genetic tool by integration into the essential gene and antifolate drug target dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (PfDHFR-TS). Glucosamine treatment of transgenic parasites led to rapid and efficient knockdown of PfDHFR-TS mRNA and protein. PfDHFR-TS knockdown led to a growth/arrest mutant phenotype and hypersensitivity to pyrimethamine. The glmS ribozyme may thus be a tool for study of essential genes in P. falciparum and other parasite species amenable to transfection. PMID:24023691

  9. Activation of PKR by RNA misfolding: HDV ribozyme dimers activate PKR

    PubMed Central

    Heinicke, Laurie A.; Bevilacqua, Philip C.

    2012-01-01

    Protein Kinase R (PKR), the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase, plays important roles in innate immunity. Previous studies have shown that PKR is activated by long stretches of dsRNA, RNA pseudoknots, and certain single-stranded RNAs; however, regulation of PKR by RNAs with globular tertiary structure has not been reported. In this study, the HDV ribozyme is used as a model of a mostly globular RNA. In addition to a catalytic core, the ribozyme contains a peripheral 13-bp pairing region (P4), which, upon shortening, affects neither the catalytic activity of the ribozyme nor its ability to crystallize. We report that the HDV ribozyme sequence alone can activate PKR. To elucidate the RNA structural basis for this, we prepared a number of HDV variants, including those with shortened or lengthened P4 pairing regions, with the anticipation that lengthening the P4 extension would yield a more potent activator since it would offer more base pairs of dsRNA. Surprisingly, the variant with a shortened P4 was the most potent activator. Through native gel mobility and enzymatic structure mapping experiments we implicate misfolded HDV ribozyme dimers as the PKR-activating species, and show that the shortened P4 leads to enhanced occupancy of the RNA dimer. These observations have implications for how RNA misfolding relates to innate immune response and human disease. PMID:23105000

  10. New tools provide a second look at HDV ribozyme structure, dynamics and cleavage

    PubMed Central

    Kapral, Gary J.; Jain, Swati; Noeske, Jonas; Doudna, Jennifer A.; Richardson, David C.; Richardson, Jane S.

    2014-01-01

    The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme is a self-cleaving RNA enzyme essential for processing viral transcripts during rolling circle viral replication. The first crystal structure of the cleaved ribozyme was solved in 1998, followed by structures of uncleaved, mutant-inhibited and ion-complexed forms. Recently, methods have been developed that make the task of modeling RNA structure and dynamics significantly easier and more reliable. We have used ERRASER and PHENIX to rebuild and re-refine the cleaved and cis-acting C75U-inhibited structures of the HDV ribozyme. The results correct local conformations and identify alternates for RNA residues, many in functionally important regions, leading to improved R values and model validation statistics for both structures. We compare the rebuilt structures to a higher resolution, trans-acting deoxy-inhibited structure of the ribozyme, and conclude that although both inhibited structures are consistent with the currently accepted hammerhead-like mechanism of cleavage, they do not add direct structural evidence to the biochemical and modeling data. However, the rebuilt structures (PDBs: 4PR6, 4PRF) provide a more robust starting point for research on the dynamics and catalytic mechanism of the HDV ribozyme and demonstrate the power of new techniques to make significant improvements in RNA structures that impact biologically relevant conclusions. PMID:25326328

  11. An RNA chaperone activity of non-specific RNA binding proteins in hammerhead ribozyme catalysis.

    PubMed Central

    Herschlag, D; Khosla, M; Tsuchihashi, Z; Karpel, R L

    1994-01-01

    We have previously shown that a protein derived from the p7 nucleocapsid (NC) protein of HIV type-1 increases kcat/Km and kcat for cleavage of a cognate substrate by a hammerhead ribozyme. Here we show directly that the increase in kcat/Km arises from catalysis of the annealing of the RNA substrate to the ribozyme and the increase in kcat arises from catalysis of dissociation of the RNA products from the ribozyme. A peptide polymer derived from the consensus sequence of the C-terminal domain of the hnRNP A1 protein (A1 CTD) provides similar enhancements. Although these effects apparently arise from non-specific interactions, not all non-specific binding interactions led to these enhancements. NC and A1 CTD exert their effects by accelerating attainment of the thermodynamically most stable species throughout the ribozyme catalytic cycle. In addition, NC protein is shown to resolve a misfolded ribozyme-RNA complex that is otherwise long lived. These in vitro results suggest that non-specific RNA binding proteins such as NC and hnRNP proteins may have a biological role as RNA chaperones that prevent misfolding of RNAs and resolve RNAs that have misfolded, thereby ensuring that RNA is accessible for its biological functions. Images PMID:8026476

  12. Ion-induced folding of the hammerhead ribozyme: a fluorescence resonance energy transfer study.

    PubMed Central

    Bassi, G S; Murchie, A I; Walter, F; Clegg, R M; Lilley, D M

    1997-01-01

    The ion-induced folding transitions of the hammerhead ribozyme have been analysed by fluorescence resonance energy transfer. The hammerhead ribozyme may be regarded as a special example of a three-way RNA junction, the global structure of which has been studied by comparing the distances (as energy transfer efficiencies) between the ends of pairs of labelled arms for the three possible end-to-end vectors as a function of magnesium ion concentration. The data support two sequential ion-dependent transitions, which can be interpreted in the light of the crystal structures of the hammerhead ribozyme. The first transition corresponds to the formation of a coaxial stacking between helices II and III; the data can be fully explained by a model in which the transition is induced by a single magnesium ion which binds with an apparent association constant of 8000-10 000 M-1. The second structural transition corresponds to the formation of the catalytic domain of the ribozyme, induced by a single magnesium ion with an apparent association constant of approximately 1100 M-1. The hammerhead ribozyme provides a well-defined example of ion-dependent folding in RNA. PMID:9405376

  13. An ultraviolet crosslink in the hammerhead ribozyme dependent on 2-thiocytidine or 4-thiouridine substitution.

    PubMed Central

    Wang, L; Ruffner, D E

    1997-01-01

    The hammerhead domain is one of the smallest known ribozymes. Like other ribozymes it catalyzes site-specific cleavage of a phosphodiester bond. The hammerhead ribozyme has been the subject of a vast number of biochemical and structural studies aimed at determining the structure and mechanism of cleavage. Recently crystallographic analysis has produced a structure for the hammerhead. As the hammerhead is capable of undergoing cleavage within the crystal, it would appear that the crystal structure is representative of the catalytically active solution structure. However, the crystal structure conflicts with much of the biochemical data and reveals a catalytic metal ion binding site expected to be of very low affinity. Clearly, additional studies are needed to reconcile the discrepancies and provide a clear understanding of the structure and mechanism of the hammerhead ribozyme. Here we demonstrate that a unique crosslink can be induced in the hammerhead with 2-thiocytidine or 4-thiouridine substitution at different locations within the conserved core. Generation of the same crosslink with different modifications at different positions suggests that the structure trapped by the crosslink may be relevant to the catalytically active solution structure of the hammerhead ribozyme. As this crosslink appears to be incompatible with the crystal structure, this provides yet another indication that the active solution and crystal structures may differ significantly. PMID:9336468

  14. Conformational heterogeneity and the determinants of tertiary stabilization in the hammerhead ribozyme from Dolichopoda cave crickets

    PubMed Central

    Roychowdhury-Saha, Manami; Roychowdhury, Sugata

    2011-01-01

    Repetitive DNA elements in Dolichopoda cave cricket genomes contain extended hammerhead ribozymes that are functional in adult crickets, but that exhibit very low self-cleavage activity in vitro relative to other extended hammerhead ribozymes. We find that the parental ribozyme tends to misfold into alternate secondary structures in vitro, complicating analysis of contributions by specific nucleotides to activity under biologically relevant magnesium concentrations. However, minor sequence alterations that stabilize the active secondary structure, without altering candidate tertiary interacting nucleotides, boosted observed rates more than 50-fold (4.4 ± 1.7 min−1) and doubled the cleavage extent (>60%) in submillimolar magnesium. Productive alterations included flipping two base pairs in stem I, lengthening stem I and opening stem III to generate a trans-cleaving ribozyme. Specific peripheral nucleotides involved in tertiary stabilization were then identified through kinetic analysis for a series of sequence variants and by correlating plateau cleavage values with band intensity in native gel electrophoresis. These results demonstrate that conformational heterogeneity governs self-cleavage by the wild-type Dolichopoda hammerhead ribozyme in vitro, and they suggest a strategy for improving activity and enhancing the suitability of HHRz for intracellular and biotechnology applications. PMID:21712651

  15. Identification and characterization of a novel high affinity metal-binding site in the hammerhead ribozyme.

    PubMed Central

    Hansen, M R; Simorre, J P; Hanson, P; Mokler, V; Bellon, L; Beigelman, L; Pardi, A

    1999-01-01

    A novel metal-binding site has been identified in the hammerhead ribozyme by 31P NMR. The metal-binding site is associated with the A13 phosphate in the catalytic core of the hammerhead ribozyme and is distinct from any previously identified metal-binding sites. 31P NMR spectroscopy was used to measure the metal-binding affinity for this site and leads to an apparent dissociation constant of 250-570 microM at 25 degrees C for binding of a single Mg2+ ion. The NMR data also show evidence of a structural change at this site upon metal binding and these results are compared with previous data on metal-induced structural changes in the core of the hammerhead ribozyme. These NMR data were combined with the X-ray structure of the hammerhead ribozyme (Pley HW, Flaherty KM, McKay DB. 1994. Nature 372:68-74) to model RNA ligands involved in binding the metal at this A13 site. In this model, the A13 metal-binding site is structurally similar to the previously identified A(g) metal-binding site and illustrates the symmetrical nature of the tandem G x A base pairs in domain 2 of the hammerhead ribozyme. These results demonstrate that 31P NMR represents an important method for both identification and characterization of metal-binding sites in nucleic acids. PMID:10445883

  16. The Effect of Cytidine on the Structure and Function of an RNA Ligase Ribozyme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rogers, Jeff; Joyce, Gerald F.

    2001-01-01

    A cytidine-free ribozyme with RNA ligase activity was obtained by in vitro evolution, starting from a pool of random- sequence RNAs that contained only guanosine, adenosine, and uridine. This ribozyme contains 74 nt and catalyzes formation of a 3',5' -phosphodiester linkage with a catalytic rate of 0.016/min. The RNA adopts a simple secondary structure based on a three-way junction motif, with ligation occurring at the end of a stem region located several nucleotides away from the junction. Cytidine was introduced to the cytidine-free ribozyme in a combinatorial fashion and additional rounds of in vitro evolution were carried out to allow the molecule to adapt to this added component. The resulting cytidine-containing ribozyme formed a 3',5' linkage with a catalytic rate of 0.32/min. The improved rate of the cytidine-containing ribozyme was the result of 12 mutations, including seven added cytidines, that remodeled the internal bulge loops located adjacent to the three-way junction and stabilized the peripheral stem regions.

  17. Facilitation of hammerhead ribozyme catalysis by the nucleocapsid protein of HIV-1 and the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1.

    PubMed Central

    Bertrand, E L; Rossi, J J

    1994-01-01

    In order to improve the activity of hammerhead ribozymes in vivo, we have analyzed the effect of several prototypical RNA binding proteins on the ribozyme cleavage reaction: bacteriophage T4 gene 32 protein (gp32), hnRNP A1 (A1) and the nucleocapsid protein of HIV-1 (NCp7). We show that, while gp32 has no effect on the cleavage reaction, A1 and NCp7 affect different steps of the reaction. Moreover, some of these effects depend upon the ribozyme-substrate hybrid length. A1 and NCp7 inhibit the reaction of the least stable ribozyme-substrate complexes, which have 12 bp of duplex. NCp7, but not A1, inhibits the cleavage of substrates that have long ribozyme-substrate duplexes (17 or 20 bp), while cleavage of complexes having shorter duplexes (13 or 14 bp) is not affected. NCp7 and A1 enhance the turnover of ribozymes by increasing the rate of product dissociation, but only when both cleavage products are bound with < or = 7 bp. A1 and NCp7 enhance ribozyme binding to long substrates, such as mRNAs, the structure of which otherwise limits ribozyme binding. Therefore, the effects of A1 or NCp7 on the different steps of the cleavage reaction define a length of the ribozyme-substrate duplex which allows enhancement of the rate of binding and product release without inhibiting the cleavage step. Interestingly, this duplex length (14 bases, or 7 on each side of the cleavage site) is identical for A1 and NCp7. Since A1 is thought to interact with most, if not all mRNAs in vivo, it may enhance the intracellular activity of ribozymes targeted against any mRNA.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) Images PMID:8026475

  18. The Mitochondrial Genome of the Prasinophyte Prasinoderma coloniale Reveals Two Trans-Spliced Group I Introns in the Large Subunit rRNA Gene

    PubMed Central

    Pombert, Jean-François; Otis, Christian; Turmel, Monique; Lemieux, Claude

    2013-01-01

    Organelle genes are often interrupted by group I and or group II introns. Splicing of these mobile genetic occurs at the RNA level via serial transesterification steps catalyzed by the introns'own tertiary structures and, sometimes, with the help of external factors. These catalytic ribozymes can be found in cis or trans configuration, and although trans-arrayed group II introns have been known for decades, trans-spliced group I introns have been reported only recently. In the course of sequencing the complete mitochondrial genome of the prasinophyte picoplanktonic green alga Prasinoderma coloniale CCMP 1220 (Prasinococcales, clade VI), we uncovered two additional cases of trans-spliced group I introns. Here, we describe these introns and compare the 54,546 bp-long mitochondrial genome of Prasinoderma with those of four other prasinophytes (clades II, III and V). This comparison underscores the highly variable mitochondrial genome architecture in these ancient chlorophyte lineages. Both Prasinoderma trans-spliced introns reside within the large subunit rRNA gene (rnl) at positions where cis-spliced relatives, often containing homing endonuclease genes, have been found in other organelles. In contrast, all previously reported trans-spliced group I introns occur in different mitochondrial genes (rns or coxI). Each Prasinoderma intron is fragmented into two pieces, forming at the RNA level a secondary structure that resembles those of its cis-spliced counterparts. As observed for other trans-spliced group I introns, the breakpoint of the first intron maps to the variable loop L8, whereas that of the second is uniquely located downstream of P9.1. The breakpoint In each Prasinoderma intron corresponds to the same region where the open reading frame (ORF) occurs when present in cis-spliced orthologs. This correlation between the intron breakpoint and the ORF location in cis-spliced orthologs also holds for other trans-spliced introns; we discuss the possible implications

  19. ERRβ splice variants differentially regulate cell cycle progression

    PubMed Central

    Heckler, Mary Mazzotta; Riggins, Rebecca B

    2015-01-01

    Orphan receptors comprise nearly half of all members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Despite having broad structural similarities to the classical estrogen receptors, estrogen-related receptors (ERRs) have their own unique DNA response elements and functions. In this study, we focus on 2 ERRβ splice variants, short form ERRβ (ERRβsf) and ERRβ2, and identify their differing roles in cell cycle regulation. Using DY131 (a synthetic agonist of ERRβ), splice-variant selective shRNA, and exogenous ERRβsf and ERRβ2 cDNAs, we demonstrate the role of ERRβsf in mediating the G1 checkpoint through p21. We also show ERRβsf is required for DY131-induced cellular senescence. A key novel finding of this study is that ERRβ2 can mediate a G2/M arrest in response to DY131. In the absence of ERRβ2, the DY131-induced G2/M arrest is reversed, and this is accompanied by p21 induction and a G1 arrest. This study illustrates novel functions for ERRβ splice variants and provides evidence for splice variant interaction. PMID:25496115

  20. Slow formation of a pseudoknot structure is rate limiting in the productive co-transcriptional folding of the self-splicing Candida intron

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Libin; Bao, Penghui; Leibowitz, Michael J.; Zhang, Yi

    2009-01-01

    Pseudoknots play critical roles in packing the active structure of various functional RNAs. The importance of the P3–P7 pseudoknot in refolding of group I intron ribozymes has been recently appreciated, while little is known about the pseudoknot function in co-transcriptional folding. Here we used the Candida group I intron as a model to address the question. We show that co-transcriptional folding of the active self-splicing intron is twice as fast as refolding. The P3–P7 pseudoknot folds slowly during co-transcriptional folding at a rate constant similar to the folding of the active ribozyme, and folding of both P3–P7 and P1–P10 pseudoknots are inhibited by antisense oligonucleotides. We conclude that when RNA folding is coupled with transcription, formation of pseudoknot structures dominates the productive folding pathway and serves as a rate-limiting step in producing the self-splicing competent Candida intron. PMID:19710184

  1. Secondary structure prediction and in vitro accessibility of mRNA as tools in the selection of target sites for ribozymes

    PubMed Central

    Amarzguioui, Mohammed; Brede, Gaute; Babaie, Eshrat; Grøtli, Morten; Sproat, Brian; Prydz, Hans

    2000-01-01

    We have investigated the relative merits of two commonly used methods for target site selection for ribozymes: secondary structure prediction (MFold program) and in vitro accessibility assays. A total of eight methylated ribozymes with DNA arms were synthesized and analyzed in a transient co-transfection assay in HeLa cells. Residual expression levels ranging from 23 to 72% were obtained with anti-PSKH1 ribozymes compared to cells transfected with an irrelevant control ribozyme. Ribozyme efficacy depended on both ribozyme concentration and the steady state expression levels of the target mRNA. Allylated ribozymes against a subset of the target sites generally displayed poorer efficacy than their methylated counterparts. This effect appeared to be influenced by in vivo accessibility of the target site. Ribozymes designed on the basis of either selection method displayed a wide range of efficacies with no significant differences in the average activities of the two groups of ribozymes. While in vitro accessibility assays had limited predictive power, there was a significant correlation between certain features of the predicted secondary structure of the target sequence and the efficacy of the corresponding ribozyme. Specifically, ribozyme efficacy appeared to be positively correlated with the presence of short stem regions and helices of low stability within their target sequences. There were no correlations with predicted free energy or loop length. PMID:11058107

  2. SpliceVista, a Tool for Splice Variant Identification and Visualization in Shotgun Proteomics Data*

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Yafeng; Hultin-Rosenberg, Lina; Forshed, Jenny; Branca, Rui M. M.; Orre, Lukas M.; Lehtiö, Janne

    2014-01-01

    Alternative splicing is a pervasive process in eukaryotic organisms. More than 90% of human genes have alternatively spliced products, and aberrant splicing has been shown to be associated with many diseases. Current methods employed in the detection of splice variants include prediction by clustering of expressed sequence tags, exon microarray, and mRNA sequencing, all methods focusing on RNA-level information. There is a lack of tools for analyzing splice variants at the protein level. Here, we present SpliceVista, a tool for splice variant identification and visualization based on mass spectrometry proteomics data. SpliceVista retrieves gene structure and translated sequences from alternative splicing databases and maps MS-identified peptides to splice variants. The visualization module plots the exon composition of each splice variant and aligns identified peptides with transcript positions. If quantitative mass spectrometry data are used, SpliceVista plots the quantitative patterns for each peptide and provides users with the option to cluster peptides based on their quantitative patterns. SpliceVista can identify splice-variant-specific peptides, providing the possibility for variant-specific analysis. The tool was tested on two experimental datasets (PXD000065 and PXD000134). In A431 cells treated with gefitinib, 2983 splice-variant-specific peptides corresponding to 939 splice variants were identified. Through comparison of splice-variant-centric, protein-centric, and gene-centric quantification, several genes (e.g. EIF4H) were found to have differentially regulated splice variants after gefitinib treatment. The same discrepancy between protein-centric and splice-centric quantification was detected in the other dataset, in which induced pluripotent stem cells were compared with parental fibroblast and human embryotic stem cells. In addition, SpliceVista can be used to visualize novel splice variants inferred from peptide-level evidence. In summary, Splice

  3. SpliceVista, a tool for splice variant identification and visualization in shotgun proteomics data.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Yafeng; Hultin-Rosenberg, Lina; Forshed, Jenny; Branca, Rui M M; Orre, Lukas M; Lehtiö, Janne

    2014-06-01

    Alternative splicing is a pervasive process in eukaryotic organisms. More than 90% of human genes have alternatively spliced products, and aberrant splicing has been shown to be associated with many diseases. Current methods employed in the detection of splice variants include prediction by clustering of expressed sequence tags, exon microarray, and mRNA sequencing, all methods focusing on RNA-level information. There is a lack of tools for analyzing splice variants at the protein level. Here, we present SpliceVista, a tool for splice variant identification and visualization based on mass spectrometry proteomics data. SpliceVista retrieves gene structure and translated sequences from alternative splicing databases and maps MS-identified peptides to splice variants. The visualization module plots the exon composition of each splice variant and aligns identified peptides with transcript positions. If quantitative mass spectrometry data are used, SpliceVista plots the quantitative patterns for each peptide and provides users with the option to cluster peptides based on their quantitative patterns. SpliceVista can identify splice-variant-specific peptides, providing the possibility for variant-specific analysis. The tool was tested on two experimental datasets (PXD000065 and PXD000134). In A431 cells treated with gefitinib, 2983 splice-variant-specific peptides corresponding to 939 splice variants were identified. Through comparison of splice-variant-centric, protein-centric, and gene-centric quantification, several genes (e.g. EIF4H) were found to have differentially regulated splice variants after gefitinib treatment. The same discrepancy between protein-centric and splice-centric quantification was detected in the other dataset, in which induced pluripotent stem cells were compared with parental fibroblast and human embryotic stem cells. In addition, SpliceVista can be used to visualize novel splice variants inferred from peptide-level evidence. In summary, Splice

  4. Tertiary Contacts Distant from the Active Site Prime a Ribozyme for Catalysis

    PubMed Central

    Martick, Monika; Scott, William G.

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY Minimal hammerhead ribozymes have been characterized extensively by static and time-resolved crystallography as well as numerous biochemical analyses, leading to mutually contradictory mechanistic explanations for catalysis. We present the 2.2 Å resolution crystal structure of a full-length Schistosoma mansoni hammerhead ribozyme that permits us to explain the structural basis for its 1000-fold catalytic enhancement. The full-length hammerhead structure reveals how tertiary interactions occurring remotely from the active site prime this ribozyme for catalysis. G-12 and G-8 are positioned consistent with their previously suggested roles in acid-base catalysis, the nucleophile is aligned with a scissile phosphate positioned proximal to the A-9 phosphate, and previously unexplained roles of other conserved nucleotides become apparent within the context of a distinctly new fold that nonetheless accommodates the previous structural studies. These interactions permit us to explain the previously irreconcilable sets of experimental results in a unified, consistent, and unambiguous manner. PMID:16859740

  5. RNA Synthesis by in Vitro Selected Ribozymes for Recreating an RNA World

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Lyssa L.; Unrau, Peter J.; Müller, Ulrich F.

    2015-01-01

    The RNA world hypothesis states that during an early stage of life, RNA molecules functioned as genome and as the only genome-encoded catalyst. This hypothesis is supported by several lines of evidence, one of which is the in vitro selection of catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) in the laboratory for a wide range of reactions that might have been used by RNA world organisms. This review focuses on three types of ribozymes that could have been involved in the synthesis of RNA, the core activity in the self-replication of RNA world organisms. These ribozyme classes catalyze nucleoside synthesis, triphosphorylation, and the polymerization of nucleoside triphosphates. The strengths and weaknesses regarding each ribozyme’s possible function in a self-replicating RNA network are described, together with the obstacles that need to be overcome before an RNA world organism can be generated in the laboratory. PMID:25610978

  6. Capturing Hammerhead Ribozyme Structures in Action by Modulating General Base Catalysis

    PubMed Central

    Chi, Young-In; Martick, Monika; Lares, Monica; Kim, Rosalind; Scott, William G; Kim, Sung-Hou

    2008-01-01

    We have obtained precatalytic (enzyme–substrate complex) and postcatalytic (enzyme–product complex) crystal structures of an active full-length hammerhead RNA that cleaves in the crystal. Using the natural satellite tobacco ringspot virus hammerhead RNA sequence, the self-cleavage reaction was modulated by substituting the general base of the ribozyme, G12, with A12, a purine variant with a much lower pKa that does not significantly perturb the ribozyme's atomic structure. The active, but slowly cleaving, ribozyme thus permitted isolation of enzyme–substrate and enzyme–product complexes without modifying the nucleophile or leaving group of the cleavage reaction, nor any other aspect of the substrate. The predissociation enzyme-product complex structure reveals RNA and metal ion interactions potentially relevant to transition-state stabilization that are absent in precatalytic structures. PMID:18834200

  7. Spliced-leader trans-splicing in freshwater planarians.

    PubMed

    Zayas, Ricardo M; Bold, Tyler D; Newmark, Phillip A

    2005-10-01

    trans-Splicing, in which a spliced-leader (SL) RNA is appended to the most 5' exon of independently transcribed pre-mRNAs, has been described in a wide range of eukaryotes, from protozoans to chordates. Here we describe trans-splicing in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, a free-living member of the phylum Platyhelminthes. Analysis of an expressed sequence tag (EST) collection from this organism showed that over 300 transcripts shared one of two approximately 35-base sequences (Smed SL-1 and SL-2) at their 5' ends. Examination of genomic sequences encoding representatives of these transcripts revealed that these shared sequences were transcribed elsewhere in the genome. RNA blot analysis, 5' and 3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends, as well as genomic sequence data showed that 42-nt SL sequences were derived from small RNAs of approximately 110 nt. Similar sequences were also found at the 5' ends of ESTs from the planarian Dugesia japonica. trans-Splicing has already been described in numerous representatives of the phylum Platyhelminthes (trematodes, cestodes, and polyclads); its presence in two representatives of the triclads supports the hypothesis that this mode of RNA processing is ancestral within this group. The upcoming complete genome sequence of S. mediterranea, combined with this animal's experimental accessibility and susceptibility to RNAi, provide another model organism in which to study the function of the still-enigmatic trans-splicing. PMID:15972844

  8. Molecular Crowding Favors Reactivity of a Human Ribozyme Under Physiological Ionic Conditions

    PubMed Central

    Strulson, Christopher A.; Yennawar, Neela H.; Rambo, Robert P.; Bevilacqua, Philip C.

    2013-01-01

    In an effort to relate RNA folding to function under cellular-like conditions, we monitored the self-cleavage reaction of the human hepatitis delta virus (HDV)-like CPEB3 ribozyme in the background of physiological ionic concentrations and various crowding and cosolute agents. We found that under physiological free Mg2+ concentrations (~0.1 to 0.5 mM Mg2+), both crowders and cosolutes stimulate the rate of self-cleavage, up to ~6-fold, but that in 10 mM Mg2+—conditions widely used for in vitro ribozyme studies—these same additives have virtually no effect on self-cleavage rate. We further observe a dependence of self-cleavage rate on crowder size, wherein rate stimulation is diminished for crowders larger than the size of the unfolded RNA. Monitoring effects of crowding and cosolute agents on rates in biological amounts of urea revealed additive-promoted increases in both low and high Mg2+ concentrations, with a maximal stimulation of more than 10-fold and a rescue of the rate to its urea-free values. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments reveal a structural basis for this stimulation in that higher molecular weight crowding agents favor a more compact form of the ribozyme in 0.5 mM Mg2+ that is essentially equivalent to the form under standard ribozyme conditions of 10 mM Mg2+ and no crowder. This finding suggests that at least a portion of the rate enhancement arises from favoring the native RNA tertiary structure. We conclude that cellular-like crowding supports ribozyme reactivity by favoring a compact form of the ribozyme, but only under physiological ionic and cosolute conditions. PMID:24187989

  9. Two Divalent Metal Ions and Conformational Changes Play Roles in the Hammerhead Ribozyme Cleavage Reaction.

    PubMed

    Mir, Aamir; Chen, Ji; Robinson, Kyle; Lendy, Emma; Goodman, Jaclyn; Neau, David; Golden, Barbara L

    2015-10-20

    The hammerhead ribozyme is a self-cleaving RNA broadly dispersed across all kingdoms of life. Although it was the first of the small, nucleolytic ribozymes discovered, the mechanism by which it catalyzes its reaction remains elusive. The nucleobase of G12 is well positioned to be a general base, but it is unclear if or how this guanine base becomes activated for proton transfer. Metal ions have been implicated in the chemical mechanism, but no interactions between divalent metal ions and the cleavage site have been observed crystallographically. To better understand how this ribozyme functions, we have solved crystal structures of wild-type and G12A mutant ribozymes. We observe a pH-dependent conformational change centered around G12, consistent with this nucleotide becoming deprotonated. Crystallographic and kinetic analysis of the G12A mutant reveals a Zn(2+) specificity switch suggesting a direct interaction between a divalent metal ion and the purine at position 12. The metal ion specificity switch and the pH-rate profile of the G12A mutant suggest that the minor imino tautomer of A12 serves as the general base in the mutant ribozyme. We propose a model in which the hammerhead ribozyme rearranges prior to the cleavage reaction, positioning two divalent metal ions in the process. The first metal ion, positioned near G12, becomes directly coordinated to the O6 keto oxygen, to lower the pKa of the general base and organize the active site. The second metal ion, positioned near G10.1, bridges the N7 of G10.1 and the scissile phosphate and may participate directly in the cleavage reaction. PMID:26398724

  10. A small modified hammerhead ribozyme and its conformational characteristics determined by mutagenesis and lattice calculation.

    PubMed Central

    Lustig, B; Lin, N H; Smith, S M; Jernigan, R L; Jeang, K T

    1995-01-01

    A prototypic hammerhead ribozyme has three helices that surround an asymmetrical central core loop. We have mutagenized a hammerhead type ribozyme. In agreement with previous studies, progressive removal of stem-loop II from a three stemmed ribozyme showed that this region is not absolutely critical for catalysis. However, complete elimination of stem II and its loop did reduce, but did not eliminate, function. In a stem-loop II-deleted ribozyme, activity was best preserved when a purine, preferably a G, was present at position 10.1. This G contributed to catalysis irregardless of its role as either one part of a canonical pair with a C residue at 11.1 or a lone nucleotide with C (11.1) deleted. Computational methods using lattices generated 87 million three-dimensional chain forms for a stem-loop II-deleted RNA complex that preserved one potential G.C base pair at positions 10.1 and 11.1. This exhaustive set of chain forms included one major class of structures with G(10.1) being spatially proximal to the GUCX cleavage site of the substrate strand. Strong correlations were observed between colinear arrangement of stems I and III, constraints of base-pairing in the central core loop, and one particular placement of G(10.1) relative to the cleavage site. Our calculations of a stem-loop II-deleted ribozyme indicate that without needing to invoke any other constraints, the inherent asymmetry in the lengths of the two loop strands (3 nt in one and 7 nt in the other) that compose the core and flank G10.1-C11.1 stipulated strongly this particular G placement. This suggests that the hammerhead ribozyme maintains an asymmetry in its internal loop for a necessary structure/function reason. Images PMID:7567466

  11. A role for U2/U6 helix Ib in 5' splice site selection.

    PubMed Central

    Luukkonen, B G; Séraphin, B

    1998-01-01

    Selection of pre-mRNA splice sites is a highly accurate process involving many trans-acting factors. Recently, we described a role for U6 snRNA position G52 in selection of the first intron nucleotide (+1G). Because some U2 alleles suppress U6-G52 mutations, we investigated whether the corresponding U2 snRNA region also influenced 5' splice site selection. Our results demonstrate that U2 snRNAs mutated at position U23, but not adjacent nucleotides, specifically affect 5' splice site cleavage. Furthermore, all U2 position U23 mutations are synthetic lethal with the thermosensitive U6-G52U allele. Interestingly, the U2-U23C substitution has an unprecedented hyperaccurate splicing phenotype in which cleavage of introns with a +1G substitution is reduced, whereas the strain grows with wild-type kinetics. U2 position U23 forms the first base pair with U6 position A59 in U2/U6 helix Ib. Restoration of the helical structure suppresses 5' splice site cleavage defects, showing an important role for the helix Ib structure in 5' splice site selection. U2/U6 helix Ib and helix II have recently been described as being functionally redundant. This report demonstrates a unique role for helix Ib in 5' splice site selection that is not shared with helix II. PMID:9701283

  12. Methods for Characterization of Alternative RNA Splicing

    PubMed Central

    Harvey, Samuel E.; Cheng, Chonghui

    2016-01-01

    Quantification of alternative splicing to detect the abundance of differentially spliced isoforms of a gene in total RNA can be accomplished via RT-PCR using both quantitative real-time and semi-quantitative PCR methods. These methods require careful PCR primer design to ensure specific detection of particular splice isoforms. We also describe analysis of alternative splicing using a splicing “minigene” in mammalian cell tissue culture to facilitate investigation of the regulation of alternative splicing of a particular exon of interest. PMID:26721495

  13. An Engineered Split Intein for Photoactivated Protein Trans-Splicing.

    PubMed

    Wong, Stanley; Mosabbir, Abdullah A; Truong, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    Protein splicing is mediated by inteins that auto-catalytically join two separated protein fragments with a peptide bond. Here we engineered a genetically encoded synthetic photoactivatable intein (named LOVInC), by using the light-sensitive LOV2 domain from Avena sativa as a switch to modulate the splicing activity of the split DnaE intein from Nostoc punctiforme. Periodic blue light illumination of LOVInC induced protein splicing activity in mammalian cells. To demonstrate the broad applicability of LOVInC, synthetic protein systems were engineered for the light-induced reassembly of several target proteins such as fluorescent protein markers, a dominant positive mutant of RhoA, caspase-7, and the genetically encoded Ca2+ indicator GCaMP2. Spatial precision of LOVInC was demonstrated by targeting activity to specific mammalian cells. Thus, LOVInC can serve as a general platform for engineering light-based control for modulating the activity of many different proteins. PMID:26317656

  14. Characterization of a native hammerhead ribozyme derived from schistosomes

    PubMed Central

    OSBORNE, EDITH M.; SCHAAK, JANELL E.; DEROSE, VICTORIA J.

    2005-01-01

    A recent re-examination of the role of the helices surrounding the conserved core of the hammerhead ribozyme has identified putative loop–loop interactions between stems I and II in native hammerhead sequences. These extended hammerhead sequences are more active at low concentrations of divalent cations than are minimal hammerheads. The loop–loop interactions are proposed to stabilize a more active conformation of the conserved core. Here, a kinetic and thermodynamic characterization of an extended hammerhead sequence derived from Schistosoma mansoni is performed. Biphasic kinetics are observed, suggesting the presence of at least two conformers, one cleaving with a fast rate and the other with a slow rate. Replacing loop II with a poly(U) sequence designed to eliminate the interaction between the two loops results in greatly diminished activity, suggesting that the loop–loop interactions do aid in forming a more active conformation. Previous studies with minimal hammerheads have shown deleterious effects of Rp-phosphorothioate substitutions at the cleavage site and 5′ to A9, both of which could be rescued with Cd2+. Here, phosphorothioate modifications at the cleavage site and 5′ to A9 were made in the schistosome-derived sequence. In Mg2+, both phosphorothioate substitutions decreased the overall fraction cleaved without significantly affecting the observed rate of cleavage. The addition of Cd2+ rescued cleavage in both cases, suggesting that these are still putative metal binding sites in this native sequence. PMID:15659358

  15. MapSplice: Accurate mapping of RNA-seq reads for splice junction discovery

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Kai; Singh, Darshan; Zeng, Zheng; Coleman, Stephen J.; Huang, Yan; Savich, Gleb L.; He, Xiaping; Mieczkowski, Piotr; Grimm, Sara A.; Perou, Charles M.; MacLeod, James N.; Chiang, Derek Y.; Prins, Jan F.; Liu, Jinze

    2010-01-01

    The accurate mapping of reads that span splice junctions is a critical component of all analytic techniques that work with RNA-seq data. We introduce a second generation splice detection algorithm, MapSplice, whose focus is high sensitivity and specificity in the detection of splices as well as CPU and memory efficiency. MapSplice can be applied to both short (<75 bp) and long reads (≥75 bp). MapSplice is not dependent on splice site features or intron length, consequently it can detect novel canonical as well as non-canonical splices. MapSplice leverages the quality and diversity of read alignments of a given splice to increase accuracy. We demonstrate that MapSplice achieves higher sensitivity and specificity than TopHat and SpliceMap on a set of simulated RNA-seq data. Experimental studies also support the accuracy of the algorithm. Splice junctions derived from eight breast cancer RNA-seq datasets recapitulated the extensiveness of alternative splicing on a global level as well as the differences between molecular subtypes of breast cancer. These combined results indicate that MapSplice is a highly accurate algorithm for the alignment of RNA-seq reads to splice junctions. Software download URL: http://www.netlab.uky.edu/p/bioinfo/MapSplice. PMID:20802226

  16. MapSplice: accurate mapping of RNA-seq reads for splice junction discovery.

    PubMed

    Wang, Kai; Singh, Darshan; Zeng, Zheng; Coleman, Stephen J; Huang, Yan; Savich, Gleb L; He, Xiaping; Mieczkowski, Piotr; Grimm, Sara A; Perou, Charles M; MacLeod, James N; Chiang, Derek Y; Prins, Jan F; Liu, Jinze

    2010-10-01

    The accurate mapping of reads that span splice junctions is a critical component of all analytic techniques that work with RNA-seq data. We introduce a second generation splice detection algorithm, MapSplice, whose focus is high sensitivity and specificity in the detection of splices as well as CPU and memory efficiency. MapSplice can be applied to both short (<75 bp) and long reads (≥ 75 bp). MapSplice is not dependent on splice site features or intron length, consequently it can detect novel canonical as well as non-canonical splices. MapSplice leverages the quality and diversity of read alignments of a given splice to increase accuracy. We demonstrate that MapSplice achieves higher sensitivity and specificity than TopHat and SpliceMap on a set of simulated RNA-seq data. Experimental studies also support the accuracy of the algorithm. Splice junctions derived from eight breast cancer RNA-seq datasets recapitulated the extensiveness of alternative splicing on a global level as well as the differences between molecular subtypes of breast cancer. These combined results indicate that MapSplice is a highly accurate algorithm for the alignment of RNA-seq reads to splice junctions. Software download URL: http://www.netlab.uky.edu/p/bioinfo/MapSplice. PMID:20802226

  17. Design and Analysis of Hammerhead Ribozyme Activity Against an Artificial Gene Target

    PubMed Central

    Carter, James; Nawtaisong, Pruksa; Balaraman, Velmurugan; Fraser, Malcolm J.

    2014-01-01

    In vitro cleavage assays are routinely conducted to properly assess the catalytic activity of hammerhead ribozymes (HHR) against target RNA molecules like the dengue virus RNA genomes. These experiments are performed for initial assessment of HHR catalysis in a cell-free system and have been simplified by the substitution of agarose gel electrophoresis for SDS-PAGE. Substituting mobility assays enables the analysis of ribozymes in a more rapid fashion without radioisotopes. Here we describe the in vitro transcription of an HHR and corresponding target from T7-promoted plasmids into RNA molecules leading to the analysis of HHR activity against the RNA target by in vitro cleavage assays. PMID:24318886

  18. A horizontally acquired group II intron in the chloroplast psbA gene of a psychrophilic Chlamydomonas: In vitro self-splicing and genetic evidence for maturase activity

    PubMed Central

    ODOM, OBED W.; SHENKENBERG, DAVID L.; GARCIA, JOSHUA A.; HERRIN, DAVID L.

    2004-01-01

    The majority of known group II introns are from chloroplast genomes, yet the first self-splicing group II intron from a chloroplast gene was reported only recently, from the psbA gene of the euglenoid, Euglena myxocylindracea. Herein, we describe a large (2.6-kb) group II intron from the psbA gene (psbA1) of a psychrophilic Chlamydomonas sp. from Antarctica that self-splices accurately in vitro. Remarkably, this intron, which also encodes an ORF with putative reverse transcriptase, maturase, and endonuclease domains, is in the same location, and is related to the E. myxocylindracea intron, as well as to group IIB2 introns from cyanobacteria. In vitro self-splicing of Chs.psbA1 occurred via a lariat, and required Mg2+ (>12 mM) and NH4+. Self-splicing was improved by deleting most of the ORF and by using pre-RNAs directly from transcription reactions, suggestive of a role for folding during transcription. Self-splicing of Chs.psbA1 pre-RNAs showed temperature optima of ~44°C, but with a broad shoulder on the low side of the peak; splicing was nearly absent at 50°C, indicative of thermolability. Splicing of wild-type Chs.psbA1 also occurred in Escherichia coli, but not when the ORF was disrupted by mutations, providing genetic evidence that it has maturase activity. This work provides the first description of a ribozyme from a psychrophilic organism. It also appears to provide a second instance of interkingdom horizontal transfer of this group IIB2 intron (or a close relative) from cyanobacteria to chloroplasts. PMID:15208445

  19. Alternatively Spliced Androgen Receptor Variants

    PubMed Central

    Dehm, Scott M.; Tindall, Donald J.

    2011-01-01

    Alternative splicing is an important mechanism for increasing functional diversity from a limited set of genes. De-regulation of this process is common in diverse pathologic conditions. The androgen receptor (AR) is a steroid receptor transcription factor with functions critical for normal male development as well as the growth and survival of normal and cancerous prostate tissue. Studies of AR function in androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and prostate cancer (PCa) have demonstrated loss-of-function AR alterations in AIS, and gain-of-function AR alterations in PCa. Over the past two decades, AR gene alterations have been identified in various individuals with AIS, which disrupt normal AR splicing patterns and yield dysfunctional AR protein variants. More recently, altered AR splicing patterns have been identified as a mechanism of PCa progression and resistance to androgen-depletion therapy. Several studies have described the synthesis of alternatively spliced transcripts encoding truncated AR isoforms that lack the ligand-binding domain, which is the ultimate target of androgen depletion. Many of these truncated AR isoforms function as constitutively active, ligand-independent transcription factors that can support androgen-independent expression of AR target genes, as well as the androgen-independent growth of PCa cells. In this review, we will summarize the various alternatively spliced AR variants that have been discovered, with a focus on their role and origin in the pathologic conditions of AIS and PCa. PMID:21778211

  20. Chimeric DNA-RNA hammerhead ribozymes have enhanced in vitro catalytic efficiency and increased stability in vivo.

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, N R; Kaplan, B E; Swiderski, P; Li, H; Rossi, J J

    1992-01-01

    Subsequent to the discovery that RNA can have site specific cleavage activity, there has been a great deal of interest in the design and testing of trans-acting catalytic RNAs as both surrogate genetic tools and as therapeutic agents. We have been developing catalytic RNAs or ribozymes with target specificity for HIV-1 RNA and have been exploring chemical synthesis as one method for their production. To this end, we have chemically synthesized and experimentally analyzed chimeric catalysts consisting of DNA in the non-enzymatic portions, and RNA in the enzymatic core of hammerhead type ribozymes. Substitutions of DNA for RNA in the various stems of a hammerhead ribozyme have been analyzed in vitro for kinetic efficiency. One of the chimeric ribozymes used in this study, which harbors 24 bases of DNA capable of base-pairing interactions with an HIV-1 gag target, but maintains RNA in the catalytic center and in stem-loop II, has a sixfold greater kcat value than the all RNA counterpart. This increased activity appears to be the direct result of enhanced product dissociation. Interestingly, a chimeric ribozyme in which stem-loop II (which divides the catalytic core) is comprised of DNA, exhibited a marked reduction in cleavage activity, suggesting that DNA in this region of the ribozyme can impart a negative effect on the catalytic function of the ribozyme. DNA-RNA chimeric ribozymes transfected by cationic liposomes into human T-lymphocytes are more stable than their all-RNA counterparts. Enhanced catalytic turnover and stability in the absence of a significant effect on Km make chimeric ribozymes favorable candidates for therapeutic agents. Images PMID:1408757

  1. Protein Trans-Splicing of Multiple Atypical Split Inteins Engineered from Natural Inteins

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Ying; Li, Mengmeng; Song, Huiling; Xu, Lingling; Meng, Qing; Liu, Xiang-Qin

    2013-01-01

    Protein trans-splicing by split inteins has many uses in protein production and research. Splicing proteins with synthetic peptides, which employs atypical split inteins, is particularly useful for site-specific protein modifications and labeling, because the synthetic peptide can be made to contain a variety of unnatural amino acids and chemical modifications. For this purpose, atypical split inteins need to be engineered to have a small N-intein or C-intein fragment that can be more easily included in a synthetic peptide that also contains a small extein to be trans-spliced onto target proteins. Here we have successfully engineered multiple atypical split inteins capable of protein trans-splicing, by modifying and testing more than a dozen natural inteins. These included both S1 split inteins having a very small (11–12 aa) N-intein fragment and S11 split inteins having a very small (6 aa) C-intein fragment. Four of the new S1 and S11 split inteins showed high efficiencies (85–100%) of protein trans-splicing both in E. coli cells and in vitro. Under in vitro conditions, they exhibited reaction rate constants ranging from ∼1.7×10−4 s−1 to ∼3.8×10−4 s−1, which are comparable to or higher than those of previously reported atypical split inteins. These findings should facilitate a more general use of trans-splicing between proteins and synthetic peptides, by expanding the availability of different atypical split inteins. They also have implications on understanding the structure-function relationship of atypical split inteins, particularly in terms of intein fragment complementation. PMID:23593141

  2. Intracellular Immunization of Human Fetal Cord Blood Stem/Progenitor Cells with a Ribozyme Against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Mang; Leavitt, Mark C.; Maruyama, Midori; Yamada, Osamu; Young, Dennis; Ho, Anthony D.; Wong-Staal, Flossie

    1995-01-01

    Successful treatment of human immunodeficiency virus infection may ultimately require targeting of hematopoietic stem cells. Here we used retroviral vectors carrying the ribozyme gene to transduce CD34^+ cells from human fetal cord blood. Transduction and ribozyme expression had no apparent adverse effect on cell differentiation and/or proliferation. The macrophage-like cells, differentiated from the stem/progenitor cells in vitro, expressed the ribozyme gene and resisted infection by a macrophage tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1. These results suggest the feasibility of stem cell gene therapy for human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients.

  3. The tolerance to exchanges of the Watson–Crick base pair in the hammerhead ribozyme core is determined by surrounding elements

    PubMed Central

    Przybilski, Rita; Hammann, Christian

    2007-01-01

    Tertiary interacting elements are important features of functional RNA molecules, for example, in all small nucleolytic ribozymes. The recent crystal structure of a tertiary stabilized type I hammerhead ribozyme revealed a conventional Watson–Crick base pair in the catalytic core, formed between nucleotides C3 and G8. We show that any Watson–Crick base pair between these positions retains cleavage competence in two type III ribozymes. In the Arabidopsis thaliana sequence, only moderate differences in cleavage rates are observed for the different base pairs, while the peach latent mosaic viroid (PLMVd) ribozyme exhibits a preference for a pyrimidine at position 3 and a purine at position 8. To understand these differences, we created a series of chimeric ribozymes in which we swapped sequence elements that surround the catalytic core. The kinetic characterization of the resulting ribozymes revealed that the tertiary interacting loop sequences of the PLMVd ribozyme are sufficient to induce the preference for Y3–R8 base pairs in the A. thaliana hammerhead ribozyme. In contrast to this, only when the entire stem–loops I and II of the A. thaliana sequences are grafted on the PLMVd ribozyme is any Watson–Crick base pair similarly tolerated. The data provide evidence for a complex interplay of secondary and tertiary structure elements that lead, mediated by long-range effects, to an individual modulation of the local structure in the catalytic core of different hammerhead ribozymes. PMID:17666711

  4. Diverse alternative back-splicing and alternative splicing landscape of circular RNAs.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiao-Ou; Dong, Rui; Zhang, Yang; Zhang, Jia-Lin; Luo, Zheng; Zhang, Jun; Chen, Ling-Ling; Yang, Li

    2016-09-01

    Circular RNAs (circRNAs) derived from back-spliced exons have been widely identified as being co-expressed with their linear counterparts. A single gene locus can produce multiple circRNAs through alternative back-splice site selection and/or alternative splice site selection; however, a detailed map of alternative back-splicing/splicing in circRNAs is lacking. Here, with the upgraded CIRCexplorer2 pipeline, we systematically annotated different types of alternative back-splicing and alternative splicing events in circRNAs from various cell lines. Compared with their linear cognate RNAs, circRNAs exhibited distinct patterns of alternative back-splicing and alternative splicing. Alternative back-splice site selection was correlated with the competition of putative RNA pairs across introns that bracket alternative back-splice sites. In addition, all four basic types of alternative splicing that have been identified in the (linear) mRNA process were found within circRNAs, and many exons were predominantly spliced in circRNAs. Unexpectedly, thousands of previously unannotated exons were detected in circRNAs from the examined cell lines. Although these novel exons had similar splice site strength, they were much less conserved than known exons in sequences. Finally, both alternative back-splicing and circRNA-predominant alternative splicing were highly diverse among the examined cell lines. All of the identified alternative back-splicing and alternative splicing in circRNAs are available in the CIRCpedia database (http://www.picb.ac.cn/rnomics/circpedia). Collectively, the annotation of alternative back-splicing and alternative splicing in circRNAs provides a valuable resource for depicting the complexity of circRNA biogenesis and for studying the potential functions of circRNAs in different cells. PMID:27365365

  5. The glmS ribozyme cofactor is a general acid-base catalyst.

    PubMed

    Viladoms, Júlia; Fedor, Martha J

    2012-11-21

    The glmS ribozyme is the first natural self-cleaving ribozyme known to require a cofactor. The d-glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) cofactor has been proposed to serve as a general acid, but its role in the catalytic mechanism has not been established conclusively. We surveyed GlcN6P-like molecules for their ability to support self-cleavage of the glmS ribozyme and found a strong correlation between the pH dependence of the cleavage reaction and the intrinsic acidity of the cofactors. For cofactors with low binding affinities, the contribution to rate enhancement was proportional to their intrinsic acidity. This linear free-energy relationship between cofactor efficiency and acid dissociation constants is consistent with a mechanism in which the cofactors participate directly in the reaction as general acid-base catalysts. A high value for the Brønsted coefficient (β ~ 0.7) indicates that a significant amount of proton transfer has already occurred in the transition state. The glmS ribozyme is the first self-cleaving RNA to use an exogenous acid-base catalyst. PMID:23113700

  6. Specialization of the DNA-Cleaving Activity of a Group I Ribozyme Through In Vitro Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsang, Joyce; Joyce, Gerald F.

    1996-01-01

    In an earlier study, an in vitro evolution procedure was applied to a large population of variants of the Tetrahymena group 1 ribozyme to obtain individuals with a 10(exp 5)-fold improved ability to cleave a target single-stranded DNA substrate under simulated physiological conditions. The evolved ribozymes also showed a twofold improvement, compared to the wild-type, in their ability to cleave a single-stranded RNA substrate. Here, we report continuation of the in vitro evolution process using a new selection strategy to achieve both enhanced DNA and diminished RNA-cleavage activity. Our strategy combines a positive selection for DNA cleavage with a negative selection against RNA binding. After 36 "generations" of in vitro evolution, the evolved population showed an approx. 100-fold increase in the ratio of DNA to RNA-cleavage activity. Site-directed mutagenesis experiment confirmed the selective advantage of two covarying mutations within the catalytic core of ribozyme that are largely responsible for this modified behavior. The population of ribozymes has now undergone a total of 63 successive generations of evolution, resulting in an average 28 mutations relative to the wild-type that are responsible for the altered phenotype.

  7. The emergence of ribozymes synthesizing membrane components in RNA-based protocells.

    PubMed

    Ma, Wentao; Yu, Chunwu; Zhang, Wentao; Zhou, Ping; Hu, Jiming

    2010-03-01

    A significant problem of the origin of life is the emergence of cellular self-replication. In the context of the "RNA world", a crucial concern is how the RNA-based protocells could achieve the ability to produce their own membrane. Here we show, with the aid of a computer simulation, that for these protocells, there would be "immediately" a selection pressure for the emergence of a ribozyme synthesizing membrane components. The ribozyme would promote the enlargement of cellular space and favor the incoming (by permeation) of RNA's precursors, thus benefit the replication of inner RNA, including itself. Via growth and division, protocells containing the ribozyme would achieve superiority and spread in the system, and meanwhile the ribozyme would spread in the system. The present work is inspiring because it suggests that the transition from molecular self-replication to cellular self-replication might have occurred naturally (and necessarily) in the origin of life, leading to the emergence of Darwinian evolution at the cellular level. PMID:19961895

  8. Pistol ribozyme adopts a pseudoknot fold facilitating site-specific in-line cleavage.

    PubMed

    Ren, Aiming; Vušurović, Nikola; Gebetsberger, Jennifer; Gao, Pu; Juen, Michael; Kreutz, Christoph; Micura, Ronald; Patel, Dinshaw J

    2016-09-01

    The field of small self-cleaving nucleolytic ribozymes has been invigorated by the recent discovery of the twister, twister-sister, pistol and hatchet ribozymes. We report the crystal structure of a pistol ribozyme termed env25, which adopts a compact tertiary architecture stabilized by an embedded pseudoknot fold. The G-U cleavage site adopts a splayed-apart conformation with in-line alignment of the modeled 2'-O of G for attack on the adjacent to-be-cleaved P-O5' bond. Highly conserved residues G40 (N1 position) and A32 (N3 and 2'-OH positions) are aligned to act as a general base and a general acid, respectively, to accelerate cleavage chemistry, with their roles confirmed by cleavage assays on variants, and an increased pKa of 4.7 for A32. Our structure of the pistol ribozyme defined how the overall and local topologies dictate the in-line alignment at the G-U cleavage site, with cleavage assays on variants revealing key residues that participate in acid-base-catalyzed cleavage chemistry. PMID:27398999

  9. General acid-base catalysis mediated by nucleobases in the hairpin ribozyme

    PubMed Central

    Kath-Schorr, Stephanie; Wilson, Timothy J.; Li, Nan-Sheng; Lu, Jun; Piccirilli, Joseph A.; Lilley, David M. J.

    2012-01-01

    The catalytic mechanism by which the hairpin ribozyme accelerates cleavage or ligation of the phosphodiester backbone of RNA has been incompletely understood. There is experimental evidence for an important role for an adenine (A38) and a guanine (G8), and it has been proposed that these act in general acid-base catalysis. In this work we show that a large reduction in cleavage rate on substitution of A38 by purine (A38P) can be reversed by replacement of the 5′-oxygen atom at the scissile phosphate by sulfur (5′-PS), which is a much better leaving group. This is consistent with A38 acting as the general acid in the unmodified ribozyme. The rate of cleavage of the 5′-PS substrate by the A38P ribozyme increases with pH log-linearly, indicative of a requirement for a deprotonated base with a relatively high pKa. On substitution of G8 by diaminopurine, the 5′-PS substrate cleavage rate at first increases with pH and then remains at a plateau, exhibiting an apparent pKa consistent with this nucleotide acting in general base catalysis. Alternative explanations for the pH dependence of hairpin ribozyme reactivity are discussed, from which we conclude that general acid-base catalysis by A38 and G8 is the simplest and most probable explanation consistent with all the experimental data. PMID:22958171

  10. The glmS Ribozyme Cofactor is a General Acid-Base Catalyst

    PubMed Central

    Viladoms, Julia; Fedor, Martha J.

    2012-01-01

    The glmS ribozyme is the first natural self-cleaving ribozyme known to require a cofactor. The D-glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) cofactor has been proposed to serve as a general acid, but its role in the catalytic mechanism has not been established conclusively. We surveyed GlcN6P-like molecules for their ability to support self-cleavage of the glmS ribozyme and found a strong correlation between the pH dependence of the cleavage reaction and the intrinsic acidity of the cofactors. For cofactors with low binding affinities the contribution to rate enhancement was proportional to their intrinsic acidity. This linear free-energy relationship between cofactor efficiency and acid dissociation constants is consistent with a mechanism in which the cofactors participate directly in the reaction as general acid-base catalysts. A high value for the Brønsted coefficient (β ~ 0.7) indicates that a significant amount of proton transfer has already occurred in the transition state. The glmS ribozyme is the first self-cleaving RNA to use an exogenous acid-base catalyst. PMID:23113700