NAR Top Articles - Nucleic Acid Enzymes
A novel TALE nuclease scaffold enables high genome editing activity in combination with low toxicity
Mussolino, C; Morbitzer, R; Lutge, F; Dannemann, N; Lahaye, T; Cathomen, T
Nucleic Acids Res. (2011) 39 (21): 9283-9293
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Sequence-specific nucleases represent valuable tools for precision genome engineering. Traditionally, zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and meganucleases have been used to specifically edit complex genomes. Recently, the DNA binding domains of transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) from the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas have been harnessed to direct nuclease domains to desired genomic loci. In this study, we tested a panel of truncation variants based on the TALE protein AvrBs4 to identify TALE nucleases (TALENs) with high DNA cleavage activity. The most favorable parameters for efficient DNA cleavage were determined in vitro and in cellular reporter assays. TALENs were designed to disrupt an EGFP marker gene and the human loci CCR5 and IL2RG. Gene editing was achieved in up to 45% of transfected cells. A side-by-side comparison with ZFNs showed similar gene disruption activities by TALENs but significantly reduced nuclease-associated cytotoxicities. Moreover, the CCR5-specific TALEN revealed only minimal off-target activity at the CCR2 locus as compared to the corresponding ZFN...
Highly efficient generation of heritable zebrafish gene mutations using homo- and heterodimeric TALENs
Cade, L; Reyon, D; Hwang, WY; Tsai, SQ; Patel, S; Khayter, C; Joung, JK; Sander, JD; Peterson, RT; Yeh, JRJ
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (16): 8001-8010
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Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) are powerful new research tools that enable targeted gene disruption in a wide variety of model organisms. Recent work has shown that TALENs can induce mutations in endogenous zebrafish genes, but to date only four genes have been altered, and larger-scale tests of the success rate, mutation efficiencies and germline transmission rates have not been described. Here, we constructed homodimeric TALENs to 10 different targets in various endogenous zebrafish genes and found that 7 nuclease pairs induced targeted indel mutations with high efficiencies ranging from 2 to 76%. We also tested obligate heterodimeric TALENs and found that these nucleases induce mutations with comparable or higher frequencies and have better toxicity profiles than their homodimeric counterparts. Importantly, mutations induced by both homodimeric and heterodimeric TALENs are passed efficiently through the germline, in some cases reaching 100% transmission...
Pmt1, a Dnmt2 homolog in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, mediates tRNA methylation in response to nutrient signaling
Becker, M; Muller, S; Nellen, W; Jurkowski, TP; Jeltsch, A; Ehrenhofer-Murray, AE
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (22): 11648-11658
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The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe carries a cytosine 5-methyltransferase homolog of the Dnmt2 family (termed pombe methyltransferase 1, Pmt1), but contains no detectable DNA methylation. Here, we found that Pmt1, like other Dnmt2 homologs, has in vitro methylation activity on cytosine 38 of tRNA(Asp) and, to a lesser extent, of tRNA(Glu), despite the fact that it contains a non-consensus residue in catalytic motif IV as compared with its homologs. In vivo tRNA methylation also required Pmt1. Unexpectedly, however, its in vivo activity showed a strong dependence on the nutritional status of the cell because Pmt1-dependent tRNA methylation was induced in cells grown in the presence of peptone or with glutamate as a nitrogen source. Furthermore, this induction required the serine/threonine kinase Sck2, but not the kinases Sck1, Pka1 or Tor1 and was independent of glucose signaling. Taken together, this work reveals a novel connection between nutrient signaling and tRNA methylation that thus may link tRNA methylation to processes downstream of nutrient signaling like ribosome biogenesis and translation initiation.
Mechanism of strand displacement synthesis by DNA replicative polymerases
Manosas, M; Spiering, MM; Ding, FY; Bensimon, D; Allemand, JF; Benkovic, SJ; Croquette, V
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (13): 6174-6186
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Replicative holoenzymes exhibit rapid and processive primer extension DNA synthesis, but inefficient strand displacement DNA synthesis. We investigated the bacteriophage T4 and T7 holoenzymes primer extension activity and strand displacement activity on a DNA hairpin substrate manipulated by a magnetic trap. Holoenzyme primer extension activity is moderately hindered by the applied force. In contrast, the strand displacement activity is strongly stimulated by the applied force; DNA polymerization is favoured at high force, while a processive exonuclease activity is triggered at low force. We propose that the DNA fork upstream of the holoenzyme generates a regression pressure which inhibits the polymerization-driven forward motion of the holoenzyme. The inhibition is generated by the distortion of the template strand within the polymerization active site thereby shifting the equilibrium to a DNA-protein exonuclease conformation. We conclude that stalling of the holoenzyme induced by the fork regression pressure is the basis for the inefficient strand displacement synthesis characteristic of replicative polymerases...
A novel DNA nuclease is stimulated by association with the GINS complex
Li, Z; Pan, M; Santangelo, TJ; Chemnitz, W; Yuan, W; Edwards, JL; Hurwitz, J; Reeve, JN; Kelman, Z
Nucleic Acids Res. (2011) 39 (14): 6114-6123
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Chromosomal DNA replication requires the spatial and temporal coordination of the activities of several complexes that constitute the replisome. A previously uncharacterized protein, encoded by TK1252 in the archaeon Thermococcus kodakaraensis, was shown to stably interact with the archaeal GINS complex in vivo, a central component of the archaeal replisome. Here, we document that this protein (TK1252p) is a processive, single-strand DNA-specific exonuclease that degrades DNA in the 5' -> 3' direction. TK1252p binds specifically to the GINS15 subunit of T. kodakaraensis GINS complex and this interaction stimulates the exonuclease activity in vitro. This novel archaeal nuclease, designated GINS-associated nuclease (GAN), also forms a complex in vivo with the euryarchaeal-specific DNA polymerase D. Roles for GAN in replisome assembly and DNA replication are discussed.
Identification and classification of bacterial Type III toxin-antitoxin systems encoded in chromosomal and plasmid genomes
Blower, TR; Short, FL; Rao, F; Mizuguchi, K; Pei, XY; Fineran, PC; Luisi, BF; Salmond, GPC
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (13): 6158-6173
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Toxin-antitoxin systems are widespread in bacteria and archaea. They perform diverse functional roles, including the generation of persistence, maintenance of genetic loci and resistance to bacteriophages through abortive infection. Toxin-antitoxin systems have been divided into three types, depending on the nature of the interacting macromolecules. The recently discovered Type III toxin-antitoxin systems encode protein toxins that are inhibited by pseudoknots of antitoxic RNA, encoded by short tandem repeats upstream of the toxin gene. Recent studies have identified the range of Type I and Type II systems within current sequence databases. Here, structure-based homology searches were combined with iterative protein sequence comparisons to obtain a current picture of the prevalence of Type III systems. Three independent Type III families were identified, according to toxin sequence similarity. The three families were found to be far more abundant and widespread than previously known, with examples throughout the Firmicutes, Fusobacteria and Proteobacteria...
Single-molecule microscopy reveals new insights into nucleotide selection by DNA polymerase I
Markiewicz, RP; Vrtis, KB; Rueda, D; Romano, LJ
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (16): 7975-7984
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The mechanism by which DNA polymerases achieve their extraordinary accuracy has been intensely studied because of the linkage between this process and mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Here, we have used single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to study the process of nucleotide selection and exonuclease action. Our results show that the binding of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment) to a primer-template is stabilized by the presence of the next correct dNTP, even in the presence of a large excess of the other dNTPs and rNTPs. These results are consistent with a model where nucleotide selection occurs in the open complex prior to the formation of a closed ternary complex. Our assay can also distinguish between primer binding to the polymerase or exonuclease domain and, contrary to ensemble-averaged studies, we find that stable exonuclease binding only occurs with a mismatched primer terminus.
RHON1 is a novel ribonucleic acid-binding protein that supports RNase E function in the Arabidopsis chloroplast
Stoppel, R; Manavski, N; Schein, A; Schuster, G; Teubner, M; Schmitz-Linneweber, C; Meurer, J
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (17): 8593-8606
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The Arabidopsis endonuclease RNase E (RNE) is localized in the chloroplast and is involved in processing of plastid ribonucleic acids (RNAs). By expression of a tandem affinity purification-tagged version of the plastid RNE in the Arabidopsis rne mutant background in combination with mass spectrometry, we identified the novel vascular plant-specific and co-regulated interaction partner of RNE, designated RHON1. RHON1 is essential for photoautotrophic growth and together with RNE forms a distinct similar to 800 kDa complex. Additionally, RHON1 is part of various smaller RNA-containing complexes. RIP-chip and other association studies revealed that a helix-extended-helix-structured Rho-N motif at the C-terminus of RHON1 binds to and supports processing of specific plastid RNAs. In all respects, such as plastid RNA precursor accumulation, protein pattern, increased number and decreased size of chloroplasts and defective chloroplast development, the phenotype of rhon1 knockout mutants resembles that of rne lines. This strongly suggests that RHON1 supports RNE functions presumably by conferring sequence specificity...
Nucleoside analog studies indicate mechanistic differences between RNA-editing adenosine deaminases
Mizrahi, RA; Phelps, KJ; Ching, AY; Beal, PA
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (19): 9825-9835
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Adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADAR1 and ADAR2) are human RNA-editing adenosine deaminases responsible for the conversion of adenosine to inosine at specific locations in cellular RNAs. Since inosine is recognized during translation as guanosine, this often results in the expression of protein sequences different from those encoded in the genome. While our knowledge of the ADAR2 structure and catalytic mechanism has grown over the years, our knowledge of ADAR1 has lagged. This is due, at least in part, to the lack of well defined, small RNA substrates useful for mechanistic studies of ADAR1. Here, we describe an ADAR1 substrate RNA that can be prepared by a combination of chemical synthesis and enzymatic ligation. Incorporation of adenosine analogs into this RNA and analysis of the rate of ADAR1 catalyzed deamination revealed similarities and differences in the way the ADARs recognize the edited nucleotide. Importantly, ADAR1 is more dependent than ADAR2 on the presence of N7 in the edited base. This difference between ADAR1 and ADAR2 appears to be dependent on the identity of a single amino acid residue near the active site...
Bacterial topoisomerase I and topoisomerase III relax supercoiled DNA via distinct pathways
Terekhova, K; Gunn, KH; Marko, JF; Mondragon, A
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (20): 10432-10440
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Escherichia coli topoisomerases I and III (Topo I and Topo III) relax negatively supercoiled DNA and also catenate/decatenate DNA molecules containing single-stranded DNA regions. Although these enzymes share the same mechanism of action and have similar structures, they participate in different cellular processes. In bulk experiments Topo I is more efficient at DNA relaxation, whereas Topo III is more efficient at catenation/decatenation, probably reflecting their differing cellular roles. To examine the differences in the mechanism of these two related type IA topoisomerases, single-molecule relaxation studies were conducted on several DNA substrates: negatively supercoiled DNA, positively supercoiled DNA with a mismatch and positively supercoiled DNA with a bulge. The experiments show differences in the way the two proteins work at the single-molecule level, while also recovering observations from the bulk experiments. Overall, Topo III relaxes DNA efficiently in fast processive runs, but with long pauses before relaxation runs, whereas Topo I relaxes DNA in slow processive runs but with short pauses before runs...
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