Modeling tools provide a valuable support for DNA origami design. However, current solutions have limited application for conformational analysis of the designs. In this work we present a tool for a thorough study of DNA origami structure and dynamics. The tool is based on a novel coarse-grained model dedicated to geometry optimization and conformational analysis of DNA origami. We explored the ability of the model to predict dynamic behavior, global shapes, and fine details of two single-layer systems designed in hexagonal and square lattices using atomic force microscopy, Förster resonance energy transfer spectroscopy, and all-atom molecular dynamic simulations for validation of the results. We also examined the performance of the model for multilayer systems by simulation of DNA origami with published cryo-electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy structures. A good agreement between the simulated and experimental data makes the model suitable for conformational analysis of DNA origami objects. The tool is available at http://vsb.fbb.msu.ru/cosm as a web-service and as a standalone version.
Poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG) regulates cellular poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) levels by rapidly cleaving glycosidic bonds between ADP-ribose units. PARG interacts with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and is strongly recruited to DNA damage sites in a PAR- and PCNA-dependent fashion. Here we identified PARG acetylation site K409 that is essential for its interaction with PCNA, its localization within replication foci and its recruitment to DNA damage sites. We found K409 to be part of a non-canonical PIP-box within the PARG disordered regulatory region. The previously identified putative N-terminal PIP-box does not bind PCNA directly but contributes to PARG localization within replication foci. X-ray structure and MD simulations reveal that the PARG non-canonical PIP-box binds PCNA in a manner similar to other canonical PIP-boxes and may represent a new type of PIP-box. While the binding of previously described PIP-boxes is based on hydrophobic interactions, PARG PIP-box binds PCNA via both stabilizing hydrophobic and fine-tuning electrostatic interactions. Our data explain the mechanism of PARG-PCNA interaction through a new PARG PIP-box that exhibits non-canonical sequence properties but a canonical mode of PCNA binding.
Yield of protein per translated mRNA may vary by four orders of magnitude. Many studies analyzed the influence of mRNA features on the translation yield. However, a detailed understanding of how mRNA sequence determines its propensity to be translated is still missing. Here, we constructed a set of reporter plasmid libraries encoding CER fluorescent protein preceded by randomized 5΄ untranslated regions (5΄-UTR) and Red fluorescent protein (RFP) used as an internal control. Each library was transformed into Escherchia coli cells, separated by efficiency of CER mRNA translation by a cell sorter and subjected to next generation sequencing. We tested efficiency of translation of the CER gene preceded by each of 48 natural 5΄-UTR sequences and introduced random and designed mutations into natural and artificially selected 5΄-UTRs. Several distinct properties could be ascribed to a group of 5΄-UTRs most efficient in translation. In addition to known ones, several previously unrecognized features that contribute to the translation enhancement were found, such as low proportion of cytidine residues, multiple SD sequences and AG repeats. The latter could be identified as translation enhancer, albeit less efficient than SD sequence in several natural 5΄-UTRs.
To address the structural and dynamical consequences of amino-acid attachment at 2′- or 3′-hydroxyls of the terminal ribose in oligoribonucleotides, we have performed an extensive set of molecular dynamics simulations of model aminoacylated RNA trinucleotides. Our simulations suggest that 3′-modified trinucleotides exhibit higher solvent exposure of the aminoacylester bond and may be more susceptible to hydrolysis than their 2′ counterparts. Moreover, we observe an invariant adoption of well-defined collapsed and extended conformations for both stereoisomers. We show that the average conformational preferences of aminoacylated trinucleotides are determined by their nucleotide composition and are fine-tuned by amino-acid attachment. Conversely, solvent exposure of the aminoacylester bond depends on the attachment site, the nature of attached amino acid and the strength of its interactions with the bases. Importantly, aminoacylated CCA trinucleotides display a systematically higher solvent exposure of the aminoacylester bond and a weaker dependence of such exposure on sidechain interactions than other trinucleotides. These features could facilitate hydrolytic release of the amino acid, especially for 3′ attachment, and may have contributed to CCA becoming the universal acceptor triplet in tRNAs. Our results provide novel atomistic details about fundamental aspects of biological translation and furnish clues about its primordial origins.
The σ subunit of bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) has been implicated in all steps of transcription initiation, including promoter recognition and opening, priming of RNA synthesis, abortive initiation and promoter escape. The post-promoter-recognition σ functions were proposed to depend on its conserved region σ3.2 that directly contacts promoter DNA immediately upstream of the RNAP active centre and occupies the RNA exit path. Analysis of the transcription effects of substitutions and deletions in this region in Escherichia coli σ70 subunit, performed in this work, suggests that (i) individual residues in the σ3.2 finger collectively contribute to RNA priming by RNAP, likely by the positioning of the template DNA strand in the active centre, but are not critical to promoter escape; (ii) the physical presence of σ3.2 in the RNA exit channel is important for promoter escape; (iii) σ3.2 promotes σ dissociation during initiation and suppresses σ-dependent promoter proximal pausing; (iv) σ3.2 contributes to allosteric inhibition of the initiating NTP binding by rifamycins. Thus, region σ3.2 performs distinct functions in transcription initiation and its inhibition by antibiotics. The B-reader element of eukaryotic factor TFIIB likely plays similar roles in RNAPII transcription, revealing common principles in transcription initiation in various domains of life.
Database annotations of prokaryotic genomes and eukaryotic mRNA sequences pay relatively low attention to frame transitions that disrupt protein-coding genes. Frame transitions (frameshifts) could be caused by sequencing errors or indel mutations inside protein-coding regions. Other observed frameshifts are related to recoding events (that evolved to control expression of some genes). Earlier, we have developed an algorithm and software program GeneTack for ab initio frameshift finding in intronless genes. Here, we describe a database (freely available at http://topaz.gatech. edu/GeneTack/db.html) containing genes with frameshifts (fs-genes) predicted by GeneTack. The database includes 206 991 fs-genes from 1106 complete prokaryotic genomes and 45 295 frameshifts predicted in mRNA sequences from 100 eukaryotic genomes. The whole set of fs-genes was grouped into clusters based on sequence similarity between fs-proteins (conceptually translated fs-genes), conservation of the frameshift position and frameshift direction (-1, +1). The fs-genes can be retrieved by similarity search to a given query sequence via a web interface, by fs-gene cluster browsing, etc. Clusters of fs-genes are characterized with respect to their likely origin, such as pseudogenization, phase variation, etc. The largest clusters contain fs-genes with programed frameshifts (related to recoding events).
Our goal was to identify evolutionary conserved frame transitions in protein coding regions and to uncover an underlying functional role of these structural aberrations. We used the ab initio frameshift prediction program, GeneTack, to detect reading frame transitions in 206 991 genes (fs-genes) from 1106 complete prokaryotic genomes. We grouped 102 731 fs-genes into 19 430 clusters based on sequence similarity between protein products (fs-proteins) as well as conservation of predicted position of the frameshift and its direction. We identified 4010 pseudogene clusters and 146 clusters of fs-genes apparently using recoding (local deviation from using standard genetic code) due to possessing specific sequence motifs near frameshift positions. Particularly interesting was finding of a novel type of organization of the dnaX gene, where recoding is required for synthesis of the longer subunit, τ. We selected 20 clusters of predicted recoding candidates and designed a series of genetic constructs with a reporter gene or affinity tag whose expression would require a frameshift event. Expression of the constructs in Escherichia coli demonstrated enrichment of the set of candidates with sequences that trigger genuine programmed ribosomal frameshifting; we have experimentally confirmed four new families of programmed frameshifts.
Rapidly appearing SARS-CoV-2 mutations can affect T cell epitopes, which can help the virus to evade either CD8 or CD4 T-cell responses. We developed T-cell COVID-19 Atlas (T-CoV, https://t-cov.hse.ru) – the comprehensive web portal, which allows one to analyze how SARS-CoV-2 mutations alter the presentation of viral peptides by HLA molecules. The data are presented for common virus variants and the most frequent HLA class I and class II alleles. Binding affinities of HLA molecules and viral peptides were assessed with accurate in silico methods. The obtained results highlight the importance of taking HLA alleles diversity into account: mutation-mediated alterations in HLA-peptide interactions were highly dependent on HLA alleles. For example, we found that the essential number of peptides tightly bound to HLA-B*07:02 in the reference Wuhan variant ceased to be tight binders for the Indian (Delta) and the UK (Alpha) variants. In summary, we believe that T-CoV will help researchers and clinicians to predict the susceptibility of individuals with different HLA genotypes to infection with variants of SARS-CoV-2 and/or forecast its severity.