Transcription polymerases can exhibit an unusual mode of regenerating certain RNA templates from RNA, yielding systems that can replicate and evolve with RNA as the information carrier. Two classes of pathogenic RNAs (hepatitis delta virus in animals and viroids in plants) are copied by host transcription polymerases. Using in vitro RNA replication by the transcription polymerase of T7 bacteriophage as an experimental model, we identify hundreds of new replicating RNAs, define three mechanistic hallmarks of replication (subterminal de novo initiation, RNA shape-shifting, and interrupted rolling-circle synthesis), and describe emergence from DNA seeds as a mechanism for the origin of novel RNA replicons. These results inform models for the origins and replication of naturally occurring RNA genetic elements and suggest a means by which diverse RNA populations could be propagated as hereditary material in cellular contexts.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- Article No. eaay0688
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
In Vitro Double-Stranded RNA Synthesis by Rotavirus Polymerase Mutants with Lesions at Core Shell Contact SitesLópez, Susana (Ed.)ABSTRACT The rotavirus polymerase VP1 mediates all stages of viral RNA synthesis within the confines of subviral particles and while associated with the core shell protein VP2. Transcription (positive-strand RNA [+RNA] synthesis) by VP1 occurs within double-layered particles (DLPs), while genome replication (double-stranded RNA [dsRNA] synthesis) by VP1 occurs within assembly intermediates. VP2 is critical for VP1 enzymatic activity; yet, the mechanism by which the core shell protein triggers polymerase function remains poorly understood. Structural analyses of transcriptionally competent DLPs show that VP1 is located beneath the VP2 core shell and sits slightly off-center from each of the icosahedral 5-fold axes. In this position, the polymerase is contacted by the core shell at 5 distinct surface-exposed sites, comprising VP1 residues 264 to 267, 547 to 550, 614 to 620, 968 to 980, and 1022 to 1025. Here, we sought to test the functional significance of these VP2 contact sites on VP1 with regard to polymerase activity. We engineered 19 recombinant VP1 (rVP1) proteins that contained single- or multipoint alanine mutations within each individual contact site and assayed them for the capacity to synthesize dsRNA in vitro in the presence of rVP2. Three rVP1 mutants (E265A/L267A, R614A, and D971A/S978A/I980A) exhibited diminishedmore »
Dutch, Rebecca Ellis. (Ed.)ABSTRACT Opium poppy mosaic virus (OPMV) is a recently discovered umbravirus in the family Tombusviridae . OPMV has a plus-sense genomic RNA (gRNA) of 4,241 nucleotides (nt) from which replication protein p35 and p35 extension product p98, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), are expressed. Movement proteins p27 (long distance) and p28 (cell to cell) are expressed from a 1,440-nt subgenomic RNA (sgRNA2). A highly conserved structure was identified just upstream from the sgRNA2 transcription start site in all umbraviruses, which includes a carmovirus consensus sequence, denoting generation by an RdRp-mediated mechanism. OPMV also has a second sgRNA of 1,554 nt (sgRNA1) that starts just downstream of a canonical exoribonuclease-resistant sequence (xrRNA D ). sgRNA1 codes for a 30-kDa protein in vitro that is in frame with p28 and cannot be synthesized in other umbraviruses. Eliminating sgRNA1 or truncating the p30 open reading frame (ORF) without affecting p28 substantially reduced accumulation of OPMV gRNA, suggesting a functional role for the protein. The 652-nt 3′ untranslated region of OPMV contains two 3′ cap-independent translation enhancers (3′ CITEs), a T-shaped structure (TSS) near its 3′ end, and a Barley yellow dwarf virus -like translation element (BTE) in the central region. Only the BTE is functionalmore »
Multiple RNA polymerases (RNAPs) transcribing a gene have been known to exhibit collective group behavior, causing the transcription elongation rate to increase with the rate of transcription initiation. Such behavior has long been believed to be driven by a physical interaction or ‘push’ between closely spaced RNAPs. However, recent studies have posited that RNAPs separated by longer distances may cooperate by modifying the DNA segment under transcription. Here, we present a theoretical model incorporating the mechanical coupling between RNAP translocation and the DNA torsional response. Using stochastic simulations, we demonstrate DNA supercoiling-mediated long-range cooperation between co-transcribing RNAPs. We find that inhibiting transcription initiation can slow down the already recruited RNAPs, in agreement with recent experimental observations, and predict that the average transcription elongation rate varies non-monotonically with the rate of transcription initiation. We further show that while RNAPs transcribing neighboring genes oriented in tandem can cooperate, those transcribing genes in divergent or convergent orientations can act antagonistically, and that such behavior holds over a large range of intergenic separations. Our model makes testable predictions, revealing how the mechanical interplay between RNAPs and the DNA they transcribe can govern transcriptional dynamics.
RNA polymerases (RNAPs) transcribe genes through a cycle of recruitment to promoter DNA, initiation, elongation, and termination. After termination, RNAP is thought to initiate the next round of transcription by detaching from DNA and rebinding a new promoter. Here we use single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to observe individual RNAP molecules after transcript release at a terminator. Following termination, RNAP almost always remains bound to DNA and sometimes exhibits one-dimensional sliding over thousands of basepairs. Unexpectedly, the DNA-bound RNAP often restarts transcription, usually in reverse direction, thus producing an antisense transcript. Furthermore, we report evidence of this secondary initiation in live cells, using genome-wide RNA sequencing. These findings reveal an alternative transcription cycle that allows RNAP to reinitiate without dissociating from DNA, which is likely to have important implications for gene regulation.
Sigma factors are an important class of bacterial transcription factors that lend specificity to RNA polymerases by binding to distinct promoter elements for genes in their regulons. Here we show that activation of the general stress sigma factor, σ B , in Bacillus subtilis paradoxically leads to dramatic induction of translation for a subset of its regulon genes. These genes are translationally repressed when transcribed by the housekeeping sigma factor, σ A , owing to extended RNA secondary structures as determined in vivo using DMS-MaPseq. Transcription from σ B -dependent promoters excludes the secondary structures and activates translation, leading to dual induction. Translation efficiencies between σ B - and σ A -dependent RNA isoforms can vary by up to 100-fold, which in multiple cases exceeds the magnitude of transcriptional induction. These results highlight the role of long-range RNA folding in modulating translation and demonstrate that a transcription factor can regulate protein synthesis beyond its effects on transcript levels.