Nucleic Acids Research

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Frequent occurrence of large duplications at reciprocal genomic rearrangement breakpoints in multiple myeloma and other tumors

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Using a combination of array comparative genomic hybridization, mate pair and cloned sequences, and FISH analyses, we have identified in multiple myeloma cell lines and tumors a novel and recurrent type of genomic rearrangement, i.e. interchromosomal rearrangements (translocations or insertions) and intrachromosomal inversions that contain long (1–4000 kb; median ~100 kb) identical sequences adjacent to both reciprocal breakpoint junctions. These duplicated sequences were generated from sequences immediately adjacent to the breakpoint from at least one—but sometimes both—chromosomal donor site(s). Tandem duplications had a similar size distribution suggesting the possibility of a shared mechanism for generating duplicated sequences at breakpoints. Although about 25% of apparent secondary rearrangements contained these duplications, primary IGH translocations rarely, if ever, had large duplications at breakpoint junctions. Significantly, these duplications often contain super-enhancers and/or oncogenes (e.g. MYC) that are dysregulated by rearrangements during tumor progression. We also found that long identical sequences often were identified at both reciprocal breakpoint junctions in six of eight other tumor types. Finally, we have been unable to find reports of similar kinds of rearrangements in wild-type or mutant prokaryotes or lower eukaryotes such as yeast.

The Shu complex promotes error-free tolerance of alkylation-induced base excision repair products

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Here, we investigate the role of the budding yeast Shu complex in promoting homologous recombination (HR) upon replication fork damage. We recently found that the Shu complex stimulates Rad51 filament formation during HR through its physical interactions with Rad55-Rad57. Unlike other HR factors, Shu complex mutants are primarily sensitive to replicative stress caused by MMS and not to more direct DNA breaks. Here, we uncover a novel role for the Shu complex in the repair of specific MMS-induced DNA lesions and elucidate the interplay between HR and translesion DNA synthesis. We find that the Shu complex promotes high-fidelity bypass of MMS-induced alkylation damage, such as N3-methyladenine, as well as bypassing the abasic sites generated after Mag1 removes N3-methyladenine lesions. Furthermore, we find that the Shu complex responds to ssDNA breaks generated in cells lacking the abasic site endonucleases. At each lesion, the Shu complex promotes Rad51-dependent HR as the primary repair/tolerance mechanism over error-prone translesion DNA polymerases. Together, our work demonstrates that the Shu complex's promotion of Rad51 pre-synaptic filaments is critical for high-fidelity bypass of multiple replication-blocking lesion.

Unexpected DNA context-dependence identifies a new determinant of Chi recombination hotspots

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Homologous recombination occurs especially frequently near special chromosomal sites called hotspots. In Escherichia coli, Chi hotspots control RecBCD enzyme, a protein machine essential for the major pathway of DNA break-repair and recombination. RecBCD generates recombinogenic single-stranded DNA ends by unwinding DNA and cutting it a few nucleotides to the 3' side of 5' GCTGGTGG 3', the sequence historically equated with Chi. To test if sequence context affects Chi activity, we deep-sequenced the products of a DNA library containing 10 random base-pairs on each side of the Chi sequence and cut by purified RecBCD. We found strongly enhanced cutting at Chi with certain preferred sequences, such as A or G at nucleotides 4–7, on the 3' flank of the Chi octamer. These sequences also strongly increased Chi hotspot activity in E. coli cells. Our combined enzymatic and genetic results redefine the Chi hotspot sequence, implicate the nuclease domain in Chi recognition, indicate that nicking of one strand at Chi is RecBCD's biologically important reaction in living cells, and enable more precise analysis of Chi's role in recombination and genome evolution.

Strand displacement synthesis by yeast DNA polymerase {varepsilon}

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

DNA polymerase (Pol ) is a replicative DNA polymerase with an associated 3'–5' exonuclease activity. Here, we explored the capacity of Pol to perform strand displacement synthesis, a process that influences many DNA transactions in vivo. We found that Pol is unable to carry out extended strand displacement synthesis unless its 3'–5' exonuclease activity is removed. However, the wild-type Pol holoenzyme efficiently displaced one nucleotide when encountering double-stranded DNA after filling a gap or nicked DNA. A flap, mimicking a D-loop or a hairpin structure, on the 5' end of the blocking primer inhibited Pol from synthesizing DNA up to the fork junction. This inhibition was observed for Pol but not with Pol , RB69 gp43 or Pol . Neither was Pol able to extend a D-loop in reconstitution experiments. Finally, we show that the observed strand displacement synthesis by exonuclease-deficient Pol is distributive. Our results suggest that Pol is unable to extend the invading strand in D-loops during homologous recombination or to add more than two nucleotides during long-patch base excision repair. Our results support the hypothesis that Pol participates in short-patch base excision repair and ribonucleotide excision repair.

Ctp1-dependent clipping and resection of DNA double-strand breaks by Mre11 endonuclease complex are not genetically separable

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Homologous recombination (HR) repair of programmed meiotic double-strand breaks (DSBs) requires endonucleolytic clipping of Rec12Spo11-oligonucleotides from 5' DNA ends followed by resection to generate invasive 3' single-stranded DNA tails. The Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) endonuclease and Ctp1 (CtIP and Sae2 ortholog) are required for both activities in fission yeast but whether they are genetically separable is controversial. Here, we investigate the mitotic DSB repair properties of Ctp1 C-terminal domain (ctp1-CD) mutants that were reported to be specifically clipping deficient. These mutants are sensitive to many clastogens, including those that create DSBs devoid of covalently bound proteins. These sensitivities are suppressed by genetically eliminating Ku nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) protein, indicating that Ctp1-dependent clipping by MRN is required for Ku removal from DNA ends. However, this rescue requires Exo1 resection activity, implying that Ctp1-dependent resection by MRN is defective in ctp1-CD mutants. The ctp1-CD mutants tolerate one but not multiple broken replication forks, and they are highly reliant on the Chk1-mediated cell cycle checkpoint arrest, indicating that HR repair is inefficient. We conclude that the C-terminal domain of Ctp1 is required for both efficient clipping and resection of DSBs by MRN and these activities are mechanistically similar.

PCNA tool belts and polymerase bridges form during translesion synthesis

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Large multi-protein complexes play important roles in many biological processes, including DNA replication and repair, transcription, and signal transduction. One of the challenges in studying such complexes is to understand their mechanisms of assembly and disassembly and their architectures. Using single-molecule total internal reflection (TIRF) microscopy, we have examined the assembly and disassembly of the multi-protein complex that carries out translesion synthesis, the error-prone replication of damaged DNA. We show that the ternary complexes containing proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and two non-classical DNA polymerases, Rev1 and DNA polymerase , have two architectures: PCNA tool belts and Rev1 bridges. Moreover, these complexes are dynamic and their architectures can interconvert without dissociation. The formation of PCNA tool belts and Rev1 bridges and the ability of these complexes to change architectures are likely means of facilitating selection of the appropriate non-classical polymerase and polymerase-switching events.

Homology directed repair is unaffected by the absence of siRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) defend the organism against harmful transcripts from exogenous (e.g. viral) or endogenous (e.g. transposons) sources. Recent publications describe the production of siRNAs induced by DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) in Neurospora crassa, Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster and human cells, which suggests a conserved function. A current hypothesis is that break-induced small RNAs ensure efficient homologous recombination (HR). However, biogenesis of siRNAs is often intertwined with other small RNA species, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), which complicates interpretation of experimental results. In Drosophila, siRNAs are produced by Dcr-2 while miRNAs are processed by Dcr-1. Thus, it is possible to probe siRNA function without miRNA deregulation. We therefore examined DNA double-strand break repair after perturbation of siRNA biogenesis in cultured Drosophila cells as well as mutant flies. Our assays comprised reporters for the single-strand annealing pathway, homologous recombination and sensitivity to the DSB-inducing drug camptothecin. We could not detect any repair defects caused by the lack of siRNAs derived from the broken DNA locus. Since production of these siRNAs depends on local transcription, they may thus participate in RNA metabolism—an established function of siRNAs—rather than DNA repair.

Chromosome territory relocation during DNA repair requires nuclear myosin 1 recruitment to chromatin mediated by {Upsilon}-H2AX signaling

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

During DNA damage response (DDR), certain gene rich chromosome territories (CTs) relocate to newer positions within interphase nuclei and revert to their native locations following repair. Such dynamic relocation of CTs has been observed under various cellular conditions, however, the underlying mechanistic basis of the same has remained largely elusive. In this study, we aim to understand the temporal and molecular details of such crosstalk between DDR signaling and CT relocation dynamics. We demonstrate that signaling at DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) by the phosphorylated histone variant (-H2AX) is a pre-requisite for damage induced CT relocation, as cells deficient in -H2AX signaling fail to exhibit such a response. Inhibition of Rad51 or DNA Ligase IV mediated late steps of double strand break repair does not seem to abrogate CT relocation completely. Upon DNA damage, an increase in the levels of chromatin bound motor protein nuclear myosin 1 (NM1) ensues, which appears to be functionally linked to -H2AX signaling. Importantly, the motor function of NM1 is essential for its recruitment to chromatin and CT relocation following damage. Taking these observations together, we propose that early DDR sensing and signaling result in NM1 recruitment to chromosomes which in turn guides DNA damage induced CT relocation.

Selective single cell isolation for genomics using microraft arrays

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Genomic methods are used increasingly to interrogate the individual cells that compose specific tissues. However, current methods for single cell isolation struggle to phenotypically differentiate specific cells in a heterogeneous population and rely primarily on the use of fluorescent markers. Many cellular phenotypes of interest are too complex to be measured by this approach, making it difficult to connect genotype and phenotype at the level of individual cells. Here we demonstrate that microraft arrays, which are arrays containing thousands of individual cell culture sites, can be used to select single cells based on a variety of phenotypes, such as cell surface markers, cell proliferation and drug response. We then show that a common genomic procedure, RNA-seq, can be readily adapted to the single cells isolated from these rafts. We show that data generated using microrafts and our modified RNA-seq protocol compared favorably with the Fluidigm C1. We then used microraft arrays to select pancreatic cancer cells that proliferate in spite of cytotoxic drug treatment. Our single cell RNA-seq data identified several expected and novel gene expression changes associated with early drug resistance.

Replication-dependent and independent mechanisms for the chromosome-coupled persistence of a selfish genome

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

The yeast 2-micron plasmid epitomizes the evolutionary optimization of selfish extra-chromosomal genomes for stable persistence without jeopardizing their hosts’ fitness. Analyses of fluorescence-tagged single-copy reporter plasmids and/or the plasmid partitioning proteins in native and non-native hosts reveal chromosome-hitchhiking as the likely means for plasmid segregation. The contribution of the partitioning system to equal segregation is bipartite- replication-independent and replication-dependent. The former nearly eliminates ‘mother bias’ (preferential plasmid retention in the mother cell) according to binomial distribution, thus limiting equal segregation of a plasmid pair to 50%. The latter enhances equal segregation of plasmid sisters beyond this level, elevating the plasmid close to chromosome status. Host factors involved in plasmid partitioning can be functionally separated by their participation in the replication-independent and/or replication-dependent steps. In the hitchhiking model, random tethering of a pair of plasmids to chromosomes signifies the replication-independent component of segregation; the symmetric tethering of plasmid sisters to sister chromatids embodies the replication-dependent component. The 2-micron circle broadly resembles the episomes of certain mammalian viruses in its chromosome-associated propagation. This unifying feature among otherwise widely differing selfish genomes suggests their evolutionary convergence to the common logic of exploiting, albeit via distinct molecular mechanisms, host chromosome segregation machineries for self-preservation.

Discharging tRNAs: a tug of war between translation and detoxification in Escherichia coli

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Translation is a central cellular process and is optimized for speed and fidelity. The speed of translation of a single codon depends on the concentration of aminoacyl-tRNAs. Here, we used microarray-based approaches to analyze the charging levels of tRNAs in Escherichia coli growing at different growth rates. Strikingly, we observed a non-uniform aminoacylation of tRNAs in complex media. In contrast, in minimal medium, the level of aminoacyl-tRNAs is more uniform and rises to approximately 60%. Particularly, the charging level of tRNASer, tRNACys, tRNAThr and tRNAHis is below 50% in complex medium and their aminoacylation levels mirror the degree that amino acids inhibit growth when individually added to minimal medium. Serine is among the most toxic amino acids for bacteria and tRNAsSer exhibit the lowest charging levels, below 10%, at high growth rate although intracellular serine concentration is plentiful. As a result some serine codons are among the most slowly translated codons. A large fraction of the serine is most likely degraded by L-serine-deaminase, which competes with the seryl-tRNA-synthetase that charges the tRNAsSer. These results indicate that the level of aminoacylation in complex media might be a competition between charging for translation and degradation of amino acids that inhibit growth.

The RNA-binding protein Gemin5 binds directly to the ribosome and regulates global translation

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play crucial roles in all organisms. The protein Gemin5 harbors two functional domains. The N-terminal domain binds to snRNAs targeting them for snRNPs assembly, while the C-terminal domain binds to IRES elements through a non-canonical RNA-binding site. Here we report a comprehensive view of the Gemin5 interactome; most partners copurified with the N-terminal domain via RNA bridges. Notably, Gemin5 sediments with the subcellular ribosome fraction, and His-Gemin5 binds to ribosome particles via its N-terminal domain. The interaction with the ribosome was lost in F381A and Y474A Gemin5 mutants, but not in W14A and Y15A. Moreover, the ribosomal proteins L3 and L4 bind directly with Gemin5, and conversely, Gemin5 mutants impairing the binding to the ribosome are defective in the interaction with L3 and L4. The overall polysome profile was affected by Gemin5 depletion or overexpression, concomitant to an increase or a decrease, respectively, of global protein synthesis. Gemin5, and G5-Nter as well, were detected on the polysome fractions. These results reveal the ribosome-binding capacity of the N-ter moiety, enabling Gemin5 to control global protein synthesis. Our study uncovers a crosstalk between this protein and the ribosome, and provides support for the view that Gemin5 may control translation elongation.

Conservation of context-dependent splicing activity in distant Muscleblind homologs

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

The Muscleblind (MBL) protein family is a deeply conserved family of RNA binding proteins that regulate alternative splicing, alternative polyadenylation, RNA stability and RNA localization. Their inactivation due to sequestration by expanded CUG repeats causes symptoms in the neuromuscular disease myotonic dystrophy. MBL zinc fingers are the most highly conserved portion of these proteins, and directly interact with RNA. We identified putative MBL homologs in Ciona intestinalis and Trichoplax adhaerens, and investigated their ability, as well as that of MBL homologs from human/mouse, fly and worm, to regulate alternative splicing. We found that all homologs can regulate alternative splicing in mouse cells, with some regulating over 100 events. The cis-elements through which each homolog exerts its splicing activities are likely to be highly similar to mammalian Muscleblind-like proteins (MBNLs), as suggested by motif analyses and the ability of expanded CUG repeats to inactivate homolog-mediated splicing. While regulation of specific target exons by MBL/MBNL has not been broadly conserved across these species, genes enriched for MBL/MBNL binding sites in their introns may play roles in cell adhesion, ion transport and axon guidance, among other biological pathways, suggesting a specific, conserved role for these proteins across a broad range of metazoan species.

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymers regulate DNA topoisomerase I (Top1) nuclear dynamics and camptothecin sensitivity in living cells

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Topoisomerase 1 (Top1) is essential for removing the DNA supercoiling generated during replication and transcription. Anticancer drugs like camptothecin (CPT) and its clinical derivatives exert their cytotoxicity by reversibly trapping Top1 in covalent complexes on the DNA (Top1cc). Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) catalyses the addition of ADP-ribose polymers (PAR) onto itself and Top1. PARP inhibitors enhance the cytotoxicity of CPT in the clinical trials. However, the molecular mechanism by which PARylation regulates Top1 nuclear dynamics is not fully understood. Using live-cell imaging of enhanced green fluorescence tagged-human Top1, we show that PARP inhibitors (Veliparib, ABT-888) delocalize Top1 from the nucleolus to the nucleoplasm, which is independent of Top1–PARP1 interaction. Using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and subsequent fitting of the data employing kinetic modelling we demonstrate that ABT-888 markedly increase CPT-induced bound/immobile fraction of Top1 (Top1cc) across the nuclear genome, suggesting Top1-PARylation counteracts CPT-induced stabilization of Top1cc. We further show Trp205 and Asn722 of Top1 are critical for subnuclear dynamics. Top1 mutant (N722S) was restricted to the nucleolus in the presence of CPT due to its deficiency in the accumulation of CPT-induced Top1-PARylation and Top1cc formation. This work identifies ADP-ribose polymers as key determinant for regulating Top1 subnuclear dynamics.

DNA binding proteins explore multiple local configurations during docking via rapid rebinding

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Finding the target site and associating in a specific orientation are essential tasks for DNA-binding proteins. In order to make the target search process as efficient as possible, proteins should not only rapidly diffuse to the target site but also dynamically explore multiple local configurations before diffusing away. Protein flipping is an example of this second process that has been observed previously, but the underlying mechanism of flipping remains unclear. Here, we probed the mechanism of protein flipping at the single molecule level, using HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) as a model system. In order to test the effects of long-range attractive forces on flipping efficiency, we varied the salt concentration and macromolecular crowding conditions. As expected, increased salt concentrations weaken the binding of RT to DNA while increased crowding strengthens the binding. Moreover, when we analyzed the flipping kinetics, i.e. the rate and probability of flipping, at each condition we found that flipping was more efficient when RT bound more strongly. Our data are consistent with a view that DNA bound proteins undergo multiple rapid re-binding events, or short hops, that allow the protein to explore other configurations without completely dissociating from the DNA.

G-quadruplex and G-rich sequence stimulate Pif1p-catalyzed downstream duplex DNA unwinding through reducing waiting time at ss/dsDNA junction

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Alternative DNA structures that deviate from B-form double-stranded DNA such as G-quadruplex (G4) DNA can be formed by G-rich sequences that are widely distributed throughout the human genome. We have previously shown that Pif1p not only unfolds G4, but also unwinds the downstream duplex DNA in a G4-stimulated manner. In the present study, we further characterized the G4-stimulated duplex DNA unwinding phenomenon by means of single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer. It was found that Pif1p did not unwind the partial duplex DNA immediately after unfolding the upstream G4 structure, but rather, it would dwell at the ss/dsDNA junction with a ‘waiting time’. Further studies revealed that the waiting time was in fact related to a protein dimerization process that was sensitive to ssDNA sequence and would become rapid if the sequence is G-rich. Furthermore, we identified that the G-rich sequence, as the G4 structure, equally stimulates duplex DNA unwinding. The present work sheds new light on the molecular mechanism by which G4-unwinding helicase Pif1p resolves physiological G4/duplex DNA structures in cells.

Identification of distinct biological functions for four 3'-5' RNA polymerases

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

The superfamily of 3'-5' polymerases synthesize RNA in the opposite direction to all other DNA/RNA polymerases, and its members include eukaryotic tRNAHis guanylyltransferase (Thg1), as well as Thg1-like proteins (TLPs) of unknown function that are broadly distributed, with family members in all three domains of life. Dictyostelium discoideum encodes one Thg1 and three TLPs (DdiTLP2, DdiTLP3 and DdiTLP4). Here, we demonstrate that depletion of each of the genes results in a significant growth defect, and that each protein catalyzes a unique biological reaction, taking advantage of specialized biochemical properties. DdiTLP2 catalyzes a mitochondria-specific tRNAHis maturation reaction, which is distinct from the tRNAHis maturation reaction typically catalyzed by Thg1 enzymes on cytosolic tRNA. DdiTLP3 catalyzes tRNA repair during mitochondrial tRNA 5'-editing in vivo and in vitro, establishing template-dependent 3'-5' polymerase activity of TLPs as a bona fide biological activity for the first time since its unexpected discovery more than a decade ago. DdiTLP4 is cytosolic and, surprisingly, catalyzes robust 3'-5' polymerase activity on non-tRNA substrates, strongly implying further roles for TLP 3'-5' polymerases in eukaryotes.

Structural features of influenza A virus panhandle RNA enabling the activation of RIG-I independently of 5'-triphosphate

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) recognizes specific molecular patterns of viral RNAs for inducing type I interferon. The C-terminal domain (CTD) of RIG-I binds to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) with the 5'-triphosphate (5'-PPP), which induces a conformational change in RIG-I to an active form. It has been suggested that RIG-I detects infection of influenza A virus by recognizing the 5'-triphosphorylated panhandle structure of the viral RNA genome. Influenza panhandle RNA has a unique structure with a sharp helical bending. In spite of extensive studies of how viral RNAs activate RIG-I, whether the structural elements of the influenza panhandle RNA confer the ability to activate RIG-I signaling has been poorly explored. Here, we investigated the dynamics of the influenza panhandle RNA in complex with RIG-I CTD using NMR spectroscopy and showed that the bending structure of the panhandle RNA negates the requirement of a 5'-PPP moiety for RIG-I activation.

Crystal structure of a poly(rA) staggered zipper at acidic pH: evidence that adenine N1 protonation mediates parallel double helix formation

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

We have solved at 1.07 Å resolution the X-ray crystal structure of a polyriboadenylic acid (poly(rA)) parallel and continuous double helix. Fifty-nine years ago, double helices of poly(rA) were first proposed to form at acidic pH. Here, we show that 7-mer oligo(rA), i.e. rA7, hybridizes and overlaps in all registers at pH 3.5 to form stacked double helices that span the crystal. Under these conditions, rA7 forms well-ordered crystals, whereas rA6 forms fragile crystalline-like structures, and rA5, rA8 and rA11 fail to crystallize. Our findings support studies from ~50 years ago: one showed using spectroscopic methods that duplex formation at pH 4.5 largely starts with rA7 and begins to plateau with rA8; another proposed a so-called ‘staggered zipper’ model in which oligo(rA) strands overlap in multiple registers to extend the helical duplex. While never shown, protonation of adenines at position N1 has been hypothesized to be critical for helix formation. Bond angles in our structure suggest that N1 is protonated on the adenines of every other rAMP–rAMP helix base pair. Our data offer new insights into poly(rA) duplex formation that may be useful in developing a pH sensor.

Principles of start codon recognition in eukaryotic translation initiation

Thu, 2016-09-29 11:06

Selection of the correct start codon during initiation of translation on the ribosome is a key event in protein synthesis. In eukaryotic initiation, several factors have to function in concert to ensure that the initiator tRNA finds the cognate AUG start codon during mRNA scanning. The two initiation factors eIF1 and eIF1A are known to provide important functions for the initiation process and codon selection. Here, we have used molecular dynamics free energy calculations to evaluate the energetics of initiator tRNA binding to different near-cognate codons on the yeast 40S ribosomal subunit, in the presence and absence of these two initiation factors. The results show that eIF1 and eIF1A together cause a relatively uniform and high discrimination against near-cognate codons. This works such that eIF1 boosts the discrimination against a first position near-cognate G-U mismatch, and also against a second position A-A base pair, while eIF1A mainly acts on third codon position. The computer simulations further reveal the structural basis of the increased discriminatory effect caused by binding of eIF1 and eIF1A to the 40S ribosomal subunit.