The promoter in HIV type 1 (HIV-1) proviral DNA contains three sequential guanosines at the U3-R boundary that have been proposed to function as sites for transcription initiation. Here we show that all three sites are used in cells infected with HIV-1 and that viral RNAs containing a single 5′ capped guanosine ( Cap 1G) are specifically selected for packaging in virions, consistent with a recent report [Masuda et al. (2015) Sci Rep 5:17680]. In addition, we now show that transcripts that begin with two or three capped guanosines ( Cap 2G or Cap 3G) are enriched on polysomes, indicating that RNAs synthesized from different transcription start sites have different functions in viral replication. Because genomes are selected for packaging as dimers, we examined the in vitro monomer-dimer equilibrium properties of Cap 1G, Cap 2G, and Cap 3G 5′-leader RNAs in the NL4-3 strain of HIV-1. Strikingly, under physiological-like ionic conditions in which the Cap 1G 5′-leader RNA adopts a dimeric structure, the Cap 2G and Cap 3G 5′-leader RNAs exist predominantly as monomers. Mutagenesis studies designed to probe for base-pairing interactions suggest that the additional guanosines of the 2G and 3G RNAs remodel the base of the PolyA hairpin, resulting in enhanced sequestration of dimerpromoting residues and stabilization of the monomer. Our studies suggest a mechanism through which the structure, function, and fate of the viral genome can be modulated by the transcriptionally controlled presence or absence of a single 5′ guanosine.HIV-1 | 5′-leader | transcription | RNA | structure
It has been previously shown that the DHX36 gene product, G4R1/RHAU, tightly binds tetramolecular G4-DNA with high affinity and resolves these structures into single strands. Here, we test the ability of G4R1/RHAU to bind and unwind unimolecular G4-DNA. Gel mobility shift assays were used to measure the binding affinity of G4R1/RHAU for unimolecular G4-DNA-formed sequences from the Zic1 gene and the c-Myc promoter. Extremely tight binding produced apparent Kd’s of 6, 3 and 4 pM for two Zic1 G4-DNAs and a c-Myc G4-DNA, respectively. The low enzyme concentrations required for measuring these Kd’s limit the precision of their determination to upper boundary estimates. Similar tight binding was not observed in control non-G4 forming DNA sequences or in single-stranded DNA having guanine-rich runs capable of forming tetramolecular G4-DNA. Using a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) trap assay, we show that G4R1/RHAU catalyzes unwinding of unimolecular Zic1 G4-DNA into an unstructured state capable of hybridizing to a complementary PNA. Binding was independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), but the PNA trap assay showed that unwinding of G4-DNA was ATP dependent. Competition studies indicated that unimolecular Zic1 and c-Myc G4-DNA structures inhibit G4R1/RHAU-catalyzed resolution of tetramolecular G4-DNA. This report provides evidence that G4R1/RHAU tightly binds and unwinds unimolecular G4-DNA structures.
Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is a multifunctional protein with regulatory potential in tumorigenesis. Ample studies demonstrated the activities of YY1 in regulating gene expression and mediating differential protein modifications. However, the mechanisms underlying YY1 gene expression are relatively understudied. G-quadruplexes (G4s) are four-stranded structures or motifs formed by guanine-rich DNA or RNA domains. The presence of G4 structures in a gene promoter or the 5′-UTR of its mRNA can markedly affect its expression. In this report, we provide strong evidence showing the presence of G4 structures in the promoter and the 5′-UTR of YY1. In reporter assays, mutations in these G4 structure forming sequences increased the expression of Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) downstream of either YY1 promoter or 5′-UTR. We also discovered that G4 Resolvase 1 (G4R1) enhanced the Gluc expression mediated by the YY1 promoter, but not the YY1 5′-UTR. Consistently, G4R1 binds the G4 motif of the YY1 promoter in vitro and ectopically expressed G4R1 increased endogenous YY1 levels. In addition, the analysis of a gene array data consisting of the breast cancer samples of 258 patients also indicates a significant, positive correlation between G4R1 and YY1 expression.
Mod5 is the yeast tRNA isopentenyl transferase, an enzyme that is conserved from bacteria to humans. Mod5 is primarily cytoplasmic where it modifies the A37 position of a few tRNAs, and the yeast enzyme has been shown capable of forming heritable, amyloid-like aggregates that confer a selective advantage in the presence of specific antifungal agents. A subpopulation of Mod5 is also found associated with nuclear tRNA genes, where it contributes tRNA-gene mediated (tgm) silencing of local transcription by RNA polymerase II. The tgm-silencing function of Mod5 has been observed in yeast and a Mod5-deletion in yeast can be complemented by the plant and human tRNA isopentenyl transferases, but not the bacterial enzymes, possibly due to the lack of an extended C-terminal domain found in eukaryotes. In light of this additional nuclear role for Mod5 we discuss the proposed role of the human homologue of Mod5, TRIT1, as a tumor suppressor protein.
Ends of human chromosomes consist of the six nucleotide repeat d[pTTAGGG]n known as telomeric DNA, which protects chromosomes. We have previously shown that the DHX36 gene product, G4 Resolvase 1 (G4R1), binds parallel G-quadruplex (G4) DNA with an unusually tight apparent Kd. Recent work associates G4R1 with the telomerase holoenzyme, which may allow it to access telomeric G4-DNA. Here we show that G4R1 can tightly bind telomeric G4-DNA, and in the context of the telomeric sequence, we determine length, sequence, and structural requirements sufficient for tight G4R1 telomeric binding. Specifically, G4R1 binds telomeric DNA in the K+-induced “3+1” G4-topology with an apparent Kd = 10 ±1.9 pM, a value similar as previously found for binding to unimolecular parallel G4-DNA. G4R1 binds to the Na+-induced “2+2” basket G4-structure formed by the same DNA sequence with an apparent Kd = 71 ± 2.2 pM. While the minimal G4-structure is not sufficient for G4R1 binding, a 5’ G4-structure with a 3’ unstructured tail containing a guanine flanked by adenine(s) is sufficient for maximal binding. Mutations directed to disrupt G4-structure similarly disrupt G4R1 binding; secondary mutations that restore G4-structure also restore G4R1 binding. We present a model showing that a replication fork disrupting a T-loop could create a 5’ quadruplex with an opened 3’tail structure that is recognized by G4R1.
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