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Reference: Del Campo M, et al. (2009) Unwinding by local strand separation is critical for the function of DEAD-box proteins as RNA chaperones. J Mol Biol 389(4):674-93

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Abstract


The DEAD-box proteins CYT-19 in Neurospora crassa and Mss116p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae are broadly acting RNA chaperones that function in mitochondria to stimulate group I and group II intron splicing and activate mRNA translation. Previous studies showed that the S. cerevisiae cytosolic/nuclear DEAD-box protein Ded1p could stimulate group II intron splicing in vitro. Here, we show that Ded1p complements the mitochondrial translation and group I and II intron splicing defects in mss116Delta strains, stimulates the in vitro splicing of group I as well as group II introns, and functions indistinguishably from CYT-19 to resolve different non-native secondary and/or tertiary structures in the Tetrahymena thermophila LSU-DeltaP5abc group I intron. The Escherichia coli DEAD-box protein SrmB also stimulates group I and II intron splicing in vitro, while the E. coli DEAD-box protein DbpA and vaccinia virus DExH-box protein NPH-II gave little if any group I or II intron splicing stimulation in vitro or in vivo. The four DEAD-box proteins that stimulate group I and II intron splicing unwind RNA duplexes by local strand separation and have little or no specificity, as judged by RNA-binding assays and stimulation of their ATPase activity by diverse RNAs. By contrast, DbpA binds group I and II intron RNAs non-specifically, but its ATPase activity is activated specifically by a helical segment of E. coli 23S rRNA, and NPH-II unwinds RNAs by directional translocation. The ability of DEAD-box proteins to stimulate group I and II intron splicing correlates primarily with their RNA-unwinding activity, which for the protein preparations used here was greatest for Mss116p, followed by Ded1p, CYT-19, and SrmB. Further, this correlation holds for all group I and II intron RNAs tested, implying a fundamentally similar mechanism for both types of introns. Our results support the hypothesis that DEAD-box proteins have an inherent ability to function as RNA chaperones by virtue of their distinctive RNA-unwinding mechanism, which enables refolding of localized RNA regions or structures without globally disrupting RNA structure.

Reference Type
Journal Article
Authors
Del Campo M, Mohr S, Jiang Y, Jia H, Jankowsky E, Lambowitz AM
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