UCSF RNA Journal Club

A newsletter announcing the next presenter for RNA Journal Club

Mikael Langner

Structural insights into mechanisms of the small RNA HEN1
Huang Y, Ji L, Huang Q, Vassylyev DG, Chen X, Ma JB.
Nature
October 8, 2009
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA. 2Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, Institute of Integrative Genome Biology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA. 3Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.
RNA silencing is a conserved regulatory mechanism in fungi, plants and animals that regulates gene expression and defence against viruses and transgenes. Small silencing RNAs of approximately 20-30 nucleotides and their associated effector proteins, the Argonaute family proteins, are the central components in RNA silencing. A subset of small RNAs, such as microRNAs and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in plants, Piwi-interacting RNAs in animals and siRNAs in Drosophila, requires an additional crucial step for their maturation; that is, 2'-O-methylation on the 3' terminal nucleotide. A conserved S-adenosyl-l-methionine-dependent RNA methyltransferase, HUA ENHANCER 1 (HEN1), and its homologues are responsible for this specific modification. Here we report the 3.1 A crystal structure of full-length HEN1 from Arabidopsis in complex with a 22-nucleotide small RNA duplex and cofactor product S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine. Highly cooperative recognition of the small RNA substrate by multiple RNA binding domains and the methyltransferase domain in HEN1 measures the length of the RNA duplex and determines the substrate specificity. Metal ion coordination by both 2' and 3' hydroxyls on the 3'-terminal nucleotide and four invariant residues in the active site of the methyltransferase domain suggests a novel Mg(2+)-dependent 2'-O-methylation mechanism.
Date: 
October 19, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Yun Choi

An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase formed by TERT and the RMRP RNA
Maida Y, Yasukawa M, Furuuchi M, Lassmann T, Possemato R, Okamoto N, Kasim V, Hayashizaki Y, Hahn WC, Masutomi K.
Nature
September 10, 2009
Cancer Stem Cell Project, National Cancer Center Research Institute, 5-1-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
Constitutive expression of telomerase in human cells prevents the onset of senescence and crisis by maintaining telomere homeostasis. However, accumulating evidence suggests that the human telomerase reverse transcriptase catalytic subunit (TERT) contributes to cell physiology independently of its ability to elongate telomeres. Here we show that TERT interacts with the RNA component of mitochondrial RNA processing endoribonuclease (RMRP), a gene that is mutated in the inherited pleiotropic syndrome cartilage-hair hypoplasia. Human TERT and RMRP form a distinct ribonucleoprotein complex that has RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) activity and produces double-stranded RNAs that can be processed into small interfering RNA in a Dicer (also known as DICER1)-dependent manner. These observations identify a mammalian RdRP composed of TERT in complex with RMRP.
Date: 
October 12, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Hwajung Choi

c-Myc suppression of miR-23a/b enhances mitochondrial glutaminase expression and glutamine metabolism
Gao P, Tchernyshyov I, Chang TC, Lee YS, Kita K, Ochi T, Zeller KI, De Marzo AM, Van Eyk JE, Mendell JT, Dang CV.
Nature
April 9, 2009
Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA. [email protected]
Altered glucose metabolism in cancer cells is termed the Warburg effect, which describes the propensity of most cancer cells to take up glucose avidly and convert it primarily to lactate, despite available oxygen. Notwithstanding the renewed interest in the Warburg effect, cancer cells also depend on continued mitochondrial function for metabolism, specifically glutaminolysis that catabolizes glutamine to generate ATP and lactate. Glutamine, which is highly transported into proliferating cells, is a major source of energy and nitrogen for biosynthesis, and a carbon substrate for anabolic processes in cancer cells, but the regulation of glutamine metabolism is not well understood. Here we report that the c-Myc (hereafter referred to as Myc) oncogenic transcription factor, which is known to regulate microRNAs and stimulate cell proliferation, transcriptionally represses miR-23a and miR-23b, resulting in greater expression of their target protein, mitochondrial glutaminase, in human P-493 B lymphoma cells and PC3 prostate cancer cells. This leads to upregulation of glutamine catabolism. Glutaminase converts glutamine to glutamate, which is further catabolized through the tricarboxylic acid cycle for the production of ATP or serves as substrate for glutathione synthesis. The unique means by which Myc regulates glutaminase uncovers a previously unsuspected link between Myc regulation of miRNAs, glutamine metabolism, and energy and reactive oxygen species homeostasis
Date: 
October 5, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Hunter Richards

Argonaute HITS-CLIP decodes microRNA–mRNA interaction maps
Sung Wook Chi1, Julie B. Zang1, Aldo Mele1 & Robert B. Darnell1
Nature
July 23, 2009
Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have critical roles in the regulation of gene expression; however, as miRNA activity requires base pairing with only 6-8 nucleotides of messenger RNA, predicting target mRNAs is a major challenge. Recently, high-throughput sequencing of RNAs isolated by crosslinking immunoprecipitation (HITS-CLIP) has identified functional protein–RNA interaction sites. Here we use HITS-CLIP to covalently crosslink native argonaute (Ago, also called Eif2c) protein–RNA complexes in mouse brain. This produced two simultaneous data sets—Ago–miRNA and Ago–mRNA binding sites—that were combined with bioinformatic analysis to identify interaction sites between miRNA and target mRNA. We validated genome-wide interaction maps for miR-124, and generated additional maps for the 20 most abundant miRNAs present in P13 mouse brain. Ago HITS-CLIP provides a general platform for exploring the specificity and range of miRNA action in vivo, and identifies precise sequences for targeting clinically relevant miRNA–mRNA interactions.
Date: 
September 28, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Yelena Bronevetsky

RNA Polymerase III Detects Cytosolic DNA and Induces Type I Interferons through through the RIG-I Pathway
Chiu YH, Macmillan JB, Chen ZJ.
Cell
August 7, 2009
Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9148, USA.
Type I interferons (IFNs) are important for antiviral and autoimmune responses. Retinoic acid-induced gene I (RIG-I) and mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) proteins mediate IFN production in response to cytosolic double-stranded RNA or single-stranded RNA containing 5'-triphosphate (5'-ppp). Cytosolic B form double-stranded DNA, such as poly(dA-dT)*poly(dA-dT) [poly(dA-dT)], can also induce IFN-beta, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here, we show that the cytosolic poly(dA-dT) DNA is converted into 5'-ppp RNA to induce IFN-beta through the RIG-I pathway. Biochemical purification led to the identification of DNA-dependent RNA polymerase III (Pol-III) as the enzyme responsible for synthesizing 5'-ppp RNA from the poly(dA-dT) template. Inhibition of RNA Pol-III prevents IFN-beta induction by transfection of DNA or infection with DNA viruses. Furthermore, Pol-III inhibition abrogates IFN-beta induction by the intracellular bacterium Legionella pneumophila and promotes the bacterial growth. These results suggest that RNA Pol-III is a cytosolic DNA sensor involved in innate immune responses.
Date: 
September 14, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Bryan Burke

Active turnover modulates mature microRNA activity in Caenorhabditis elegans
Chatterjee S, Großhans H.
Nature
September 6, 2009
Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, PO Box 2543, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a large class of regulatory RNAs that repress target messenger RNAs to control various biological processes. Accordingly, miRNA biogenesis is highly regulated, controlled at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, and overexpression and underexpression of miRNAs are linked to various human diseases, particularly cancers. As RNA concentrations are generally a function of biogenesis and turnover, active miRNA degradation might also modulate miRNA accumulation, and the plant 3'-->5' exonuclease SDN1 has been implicated in miRNA turnover. Here we report that degradation of mature miRNAs in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, mediated by the 5'-->3' exoribonuclease XRN-2, affects functional miRNA homeostasis in vivo. We recapitulate XRN-2-dependent miRNA turnover in larval lysates, where processing of precursor-miRNA (pre-miRNA) by Dicer, unannealing of the miRNA duplex and loading of the mature miRNA into the Argonaute protein of the miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC) are coupled processes that precede degradation of the mature miRNA. Although Argonaute:miRNA complexes are highly resistant to salt, larval lysate promotes efficient release of the miRNA, exposing it to degradation by XRN-2. Release and degradation can both be blocked by the addition of miRNA target RNA. Our results therefore suggest the presence of an additional layer of regulation of animal miRNA activity that might be important for rapid changes of miRNA expression profiles during developmental transitions and for the maintenance of steady-state concentrations of miRNAs. This pathway might represent a potential target for therapeutic intervention on miRNA expression.
Date: 
September 21, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

N/A

UCSF Holiday - Labor Day
Date: 
September 7, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Greg Ku

Transfection of small RNAs globally perturbs gene regulation by endogenous microRNAs
Khan AA, Betel D, Miller ML, Sander C, Leslie CS, Marks DS.
Nat Biotechnol.
June 1, 2009
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
Transfection of small RNAs (such as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs)) into cells typically lowers expression of many genes. Unexpectedly, increased expression of genes also occurs. We investigated whether this upregulation results from a saturation effect--that is, competition among the transfected small RNAs and the endogenous pool of miRNAs for the intracellular machinery that processes small RNAs. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed genome-wide transcript responses from 151 published transfection experiments in seven different human cell types. We show that targets of endogenous miRNAs are expressed at significantly higher levels after transfection, consistent with impaired effectiveness of endogenous miRNA repression. This effect exhibited concentration and temporal dependence. Notably, the profile of endogenous miRNAs can be largely inferred by correlating miRNA sites with gene expression changes after transfections. The competition and saturation effects have practical implications for miRNA target prediction, the design of siRNA and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) genomic screens and siRNA therapeutics.
Date: 
August 31, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Priya Bellare

The RNA-binding protein KSRP promotes the biogenesis of a subset of microRNAs
Trabucchi M, Briata P, Garcia-Mayoral M, Haase AD, Filipowicz W, Ramos A, Gherzi R, Rosenfeld MG.
Nature
June 18, 2009
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department and School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, Room 345, La Jolla, California 92093-0648, USA.
Consistent with the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in down-regulating gene expression by reducing the translation and/or stability of target messenger RNAs, the levels of specific miRNAs are important for correct embryonic development and have been linked to several forms of cancer. However, the regulatory mechanisms by which primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs) are processed first to precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) and then to mature miRNAs by the multiprotein Drosha and Dicer complexes, respectively, remain largely unknown. The KH-type splicing regulatory protein (KSRP, also known as KHSRP) interacts with single-strand AU-rich-element-containing mRNAs and is a key mediator of mRNA decay. Here we show in mammalian cells that KSRP also serves as a component of both Drosha and Dicer complexes and regulates the biogenesis of a subset of miRNAs. KSRP binds with high affinity to the terminal loop of the target miRNA precursors and promotes their maturation. This mechanism is required for specific changes in target mRNA expression that affect specific biological programs, including proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. These findings reveal an unexpected mechanism that links KSRP to the machinery regulating maturation of a cohort of miRNAs that, in addition to its role in promoting mRNA decay, independently serves to integrate specific regulatory programs of protein expression.
Date: 
August 24, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057

Julie Kolibachuk

Cell-cell contact globally activates microRNA biogenesis
Hwang HW, Wentzel EA, Mendell JT.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
April 28, 2009
Program in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 18- to 24-nt RNA molecules that regulate messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Posttranscriptional mechanisms regulate miRNA abundance during development as well as in cancer cells where miRNAs frequently exhibit dysregulated expression. The molecular mechanisms that govern the global efficiency of miRNA biogenesis in these settings remain incompletely understood, and experimental systems for the biochemical dissection of these pathways are currently lacking. Here, we demonstrate that miRNAs are subject to dynamic posttranscriptional regulation in widely used cell culture systems. As diverse mammalian and Drosophila cell lines are grown to increasing density, miRNA biogenesis is globally activated, leading to elevated mature miRNA levels and stronger repression of target constructs. This broad increase in miRNA abundance is associated with enhanced processing of miRNAs by Drosha and more efficient formation of RNA-induced silencing complexes. These findings uncover a critical parameter necessary for accurate analysis of miRNAs in cell culture settings, establish a tractable system for the study of regulated miRNA biogenesis, and may provide insight into mechanisms that influence miRNA expression in physiologic and pathophysiologic states.
Date: 
August 10, 2009
Where: 
HSW 1057