ResearchPad - rna-synthesis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A conformation-based intra-molecular initiation factor identified in the flavivirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14506 The function of a protein is often dictated by a single defined fold, which in turn is determined by its amino acid sequences. However, multiple global conformations can be utilized by a protein to fulfill distinct functions under different circumstances. The flavivirus NS5 protein, a natural fusion of an N-terminal methyltransferase (MTase) and a C-terminal RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP), may be such an example. Previously reported NS5 crystal structures exhibit two apparently different global conformations. In this work, we demonstrate that both conformations are conserved in the flaviviruses and important for virus proliferation, but only one of them is clearly relevant to RdRP catalysis, in particular at the early stages of the RNA synthesis.

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<![CDATA[Growth enhancement of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in Vero E6 cells expressing PEDV nucleocapsid protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897777d5eed0c4847d2d6d

More recently emerging strains of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) cause severe diarrhea and especially high mortality rates in infected piglets, leading to substantial economic loss to worldwide swine industry. These outbreaks urgently call for updated and effective PEDV vaccines. Better understanding in PEDV biology and improvement in technological platforms for virus production can immensely assist and accelerate PEDV vaccine development. In this study, we explored the ability of PEDV nucleocapsid (N) protein in improving viral yields in cell culture systems. We demonstrated that PEDV N expression positively affected both recovery of PEDV from infectious clones and PEDV propagation in cell culture. Compared to Vero E6 cells, Vero E6 cells expressing PEDV N could accelerate growth of a slow-growing PEDV strain to higher peak titers by 12 hours or enhance the yield of a vaccine candidate strain by two orders of magnitude. Interestingly, PEDV N also slightly enhances replication of porcine reproductive and respiratory virus, a PEDV relative in the Nidovirales order. These results solidify the importance of N in PEDV recovery and propagation and suggest a potentially useful consideration in designing vaccine production platforms for PEDV or closely related pathogens.

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<![CDATA[A new highly sensitive real-time quantitative-PCR method for detection of BCR-ABL1 to monitor minimal residual disease in chronic myeloid leukemia after discontinuation of imatinib]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823f1d5eed0c4846393bf

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting the BCR-ABL1 fusion protein, encoded by the Philadelphia chromosome, have drastically improved the outcomes for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Although several real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) kits for the detection of BCR-ABL1 transcripts are commercially available, their accuracy and efficiency in laboratory practice require reevaluation. We have developed a new in-house RQ-PCR method to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) in CML cases. MRD was analyzed in 102 patients with CML from the DOMEST study, a clinical trial to study the rationale for imatinib mesylate discontinuation in Japan. The BCR-ABL1/ABL1 ratio was evaluated using the international standard (IS) ratio, where IS < 0.1% was defined as a major molecular response. At enrollment, BCR-ABL1 transcripts were undetectable in all samples using a widely-applied RQ-PCR method performed in the commercial laboratory, BML (BML Inc., Tokyo, Japan); however, the in-house method detected the BCR-ABL1 transcripts in five samples (5%) (mean IS ratio: 0.0062 ± 0.0010%). After discontinuation of imatinib, BCR-ABL1 transcripts were detected using the in-house RQ-PCR in 21 patients (21%) that were not positive using the BML method. Nineteen samples were also tested using a commercially available RQ-PCR assay kit with a detection limit of IS ratio, 0.0032 (ODK-1201, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Tokyo, Japan). This method detected low levels of BCR-ABL1 transcripts in 14 samples (74%), but scored negative for five samples (26%) that were positive using the in-house method. From the perspective of the in-house RQ-PCR method, number of patients confirmed loss of MMR was 4. These data suggest that our new in-house RQ-PCR method is effective for monitoring MRD in CML.

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<![CDATA[Multiple roles of the non-structural protein 3 (nsP3) alphavirus unique domain (AUD) during Chikungunya virus genome replication and transcription]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c49ed5eed0c4845e8a43

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging Alphavirus causing fever, joint pain, skin rash, arthralgia, and occasionally death. Antiviral therapies and/or effective vaccines are urgently required. CHIKV biology is poorly understood, in particular the functions of the non-structural protein 3 (nsP3). Here we present the results of a mutagenic analysis of the alphavirus unique domain (AUD) of nsP3. Informed by the structure of the Sindbis virus AUD and an alignment of amino acid sequences of multiple alphaviruses, a series of mutations in the AUD were generated in a CHIKV sub-genomic replicon. This analysis revealed an essential role for the AUD in CHIKV RNA replication, with mutants exhibiting species- and cell-type specific phenotypes. To test if the AUD played a role in other stages of the virus lifecycle, the mutants were analysed in the context of infectious CHIKV. This analysis indicated that the AUD was also required for virus assembly. In particular, one mutant (P247A/V248A) exhibited a dramatic reduction in production of infectious virus. This phenotype was shown to be due to a block in transcription of the subgenomic RNA leading to reduced synthesis of the structural proteins and a concomitant reduction in virus production. This phenotype could be further explained by both a reduction in the binding of the P247A/V248A mutant nsP3 to viral genomic RNA in vivo, and the reduced affinity of the mutant AUD for the subgenomic promoter RNA in vitro. We propose that the AUD is a pleiotropic protein domain, with multiple functions during CHIKV RNA synthesis.

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<![CDATA[The transcriptome sequencing and functional analysis of eyestalk ganglions in Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) treated with different photoperiods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c7bd5eed0c484bd294c

Photoperiod plays an important role in individual growth, development, and metabolism in crustaceans. The growth and reproduction of crabs are closely related to the photoperiod. However, as of yet, there are still no transcriptomic reports of eyestalk ganglions treated under different photoperiods in the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis), which is a benthonic crab with high commercial value in Asia. In this study, we collected the eyestalk ganglions of crabs that were reared under different photoperiods, including a control group (L: D = 12 h: 12 h, named CC), a constant light group (L: D = 24 h: 0 h, named LL) and a constant darkness group (L: D = 0 h: 24 h, named DD). RNA sequencing was performed on these tissues in order to examine the effects of different photoperiods. The total numbers of clean reads from the CC, LL and DD groups were 48,772,584 bp, 53,943,281 bp and 53,815,178 bp, respectively. After de novo assembly, 161,380 unigenes were obtained and were matched with different databases. The DEGs were significantly enriched in phototransduction and energy metabolism pathways. Results from RT-qPCR showed that TRP channel protein (TRP) in the phototransduction pathway had a significantly higher level of expression in LL and DD groups than in the CC group. We found that the downregulation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) gene and the upregulation phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PPC) gene were involved in energy metabolism processes in LL or DD. In addition, we also found that the upregulation of the expression level of the genes Gαq, pyruvate kinase (PK), NADH peroxidase (NADH) and ATPase is involved in phototransduction and energy metabolism. These results may shed some light on the molecular mechanism underlying the effect of photoperiod in physiological activity of E. sinensis.

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<![CDATA[RNase H1 directs origin-specific initiation of DNA replication in human mitochondria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c37b7b0d5eed0c48449094a

Human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication is first initiated at the origin of H-strand replication. The initiation depends on RNA primers generated by transcription from an upstream promoter (LSP). Here we reconstitute this process in vitro using purified transcription and replication factors. The majority of all transcription events from LSP are prematurely terminated after ~120 nucleotides, forming stable R-loops. These nascent R-loops cannot directly prime mtDNA synthesis, but must first be processed by RNase H1 to generate 3′-ends that can be used by DNA polymerase γ to initiate DNA synthesis. Our findings are consistent with recent studies of a knockout mouse model, which demonstrated that RNase H1 is required for R-loop processing and mtDNA maintenance in vivo. Both R-loop formation and DNA replication initiation are stimulated by the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA binding protein. In an RNase H1 deficient patient cell line, the precise initiation of mtDNA replication is lost and DNA synthesis is initiated from multiple sites throughout the mitochondrial control region. In combination with previously published in vivo data, the findings presented here suggest a model, in which R-loop processing by RNase H1 directs origin-specific initiation of DNA replication in human mitochondria.

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<![CDATA[Frequent and biased odorant receptor (OR) re-selection in an olfactory placode-derived cell line]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bb530db40307c24312bb0b4

We previously characterized a clonal olfactory placode-derived cell line (OP6) as a model system for studying odorant receptor (OR) choice, where individual OP6 cells, similar to olfactory sensory neurons in vivo, transcribe one allele (“monoallelic”) of one OR gene (“monogenic”). The OP6 cell line provides a unique opportunity to investigate intrinsic properties of OR regulation that cannot easily be investigated in vivo. First, whereas OR-expressing cells in vivo are post-mitotic, OP6 cells are immortalized, raising interesting questions about the stability of epigenetic states associated with OR selection/silencing as OP6 cells progress through the cell cycle. Second, OP6 cells have been isolated away from extrinsic developmental cues, and therefore, any long-term OR selection biases are likely to arise from intrinsic epigenetic states that persist in the absence of developmental context. In this study, we investigated OR re-selection frequency and selection biases within clonal OP6 cell populations. We found no evidence of OR stability through the cell cycle: our results were most consistent with OR re-selection events transpiring at least once per cell division, suggesting that chromatin states associated with OR selection in this system might not be maintained in the subsequent generation. In contrast, we found strong evidence for OR selection biases maintained over prolonged culturing across a diverse set of OP6 cell lineages, suggesting the persistence of intrinsic epigenetic states that advantage some OR loci over others. Together, our data suggest that in the absence of instructive cues, intrinsic epigenetic states influencing OR eligibility, but not those determining OR choice, might persist through the cell cycle.

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<![CDATA[Nuclear Outsourcing of RNA Interference Components to Human Mitochondria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab0ab0ee8fa60bab0fb

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that associate with Argonaute proteins to regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level in the cytoplasm. However, recent studies have reported that some miRNAs localize to and function in other cellular compartments. Mitochondria harbour their own genetic system that may be a potential site for miRNA mediated post-transcriptional regulation. We aimed at investigating whether nuclear-encoded miRNAs can localize to and function in human mitochondria. To enable identification of mitochondrial-enriched miRNAs, we profiled the mitochondrial and cytosolic RNA fractions from the same HeLa cells by miRNA microarray analysis. Mitochondria were purified using a combination of cell fractionation and immunoisolation, and assessed for the lack of protein and RNA contaminants. We found 57 miRNAs differentially expressed in HeLa mitochondria and cytosol. Of these 57, a signature of 13 nuclear-encoded miRNAs was reproducibly enriched in mitochondrial RNA and validated by RT-PCR for hsa-miR-494, hsa-miR-1275 and hsa-miR-1974. The significance of their mitochondrial localization was investigated by characterizing their genomic context, cross-species conservation and instrinsic features such as their size and thermodynamic parameters. Interestingly, the specificities of mitochondrial versus cytosolic miRNAs were underlined by significantly different structural and thermodynamic parameters. Computational targeting analysis of most mitochondrial miRNAs revealed not only nuclear but also mitochondrial-encoded targets. The functional relevance of miRNAs in mitochondria was supported by the finding of Argonaute 2 localization to mitochondria revealed by immunoblotting and confocal microscopy, and further validated by the co-immunoprecipitation of the mitochondrial transcript COX3. This study provides the first comprehensive view of the localization of RNA interference components to the mitochondria. Our data outline the molecular bases for a novel layer of crosstalk between nucleus and mitochondria through a specific subset of human miRNAs that we termed ‘mitomiRs’.

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<![CDATA[Active Center Control of Termination by RNA Polymerase III and tRNA Gene Transcription Levels In Vivo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab4ab0ee8fa60bac3a5

The ability of RNA polymerase (RNAP) III to efficiently recycle from termination to reinitiation is critical for abundant tRNA production during cellular proliferation, development and cancer. Yet understanding of the unique termination mechanisms used by RNAP III is incomplete, as is its link to high transcription output. We used two tRNA-mediated suppression systems to screen for Rpc1 mutants with gain- and loss- of termination phenotypes in S. pombe. 122 point mutation mutants were mapped to a recently solved 3.9 Å structure of yeast RNAP III elongation complex (EC); they cluster in the active center bridge helix and trigger loop, as well as the pore and funnel, the latter of which indicate involvement of the RNA cleavage domain of the C11 subunit in termination. Purified RNAP III from a readthrough (RT) mutant exhibits increased elongation rate. The data strongly support a kinetic coupling model in which elongation rate is inversely related to termination efficiency. The mutants exhibit good correlations of terminator RT in vitro and in vivo, and surprisingly, amounts of transcription in vivo. Because assessing in vivo transcription can be confounded by various parameters, we used a tRNA reporter with a processing defect and a strong terminator. By ruling out differences in RNA decay rates, the data indicate that mutants with the RT phenotype synthesize more RNA than wild type cells, and than can be accounted for by their increased elongation rate. Finally, increased activity by the mutants appears unrelated to the RNAP III repressor, Maf1. The results show that the mobile elements of the RNAP III active center, including C11, are key determinants of termination, and that some of the mutations activate RNAP III for overall transcription. Similar mutations in spontaneous cancer suggest this as an unforeseen mechanism of RNAP III activation in disease.

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<![CDATA[Comparative Evaluation of Real-Time PCR Methods for Human Noroviruses in Wastewater and Human Stool]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da23ab0ee8fa60b7f89d

Selecting the best quantitative PCR assay is essential to detect human norovirus genome effectively from clinical and environmental samples because no cell lines have been developed to propagate this virus. The real-time PCR methods for noroviruses GI (4 assays) and GII (3 assays) were evaluated using wastewater (n = 70) and norovirus-positive stool (n = 77) samples collected in Japan between 2012 and 2013. Standard quantitative PCR assays recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, International Organization for Standardization, and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, together with recently reported assays were included. Significant differences in positive rates and quantification cycles were observed by non-parametric analysis. The present study identifies the best assay for norovirus GI and GII to amplify norovirus genomes efficiently.

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<![CDATA[Conceptual Model-Based Systems Biology: Mapping Knowledge and Discovering Gaps in the mRNA Transcription Cycle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da04ab0ee8fa60b75116

We propose a Conceptual Model-based Systems Biology framework for qualitative modeling, executing, and eliciting knowledge gaps in molecular biology systems. The framework is an adaptation of Object-Process Methodology (OPM), a graphical and textual executable modeling language. OPM enables concurrent representation of the system's structure—the objects that comprise the system, and behavior—how processes transform objects over time. Applying a top-down approach of recursively zooming into processes, we model a case in point—the mRNA transcription cycle. Starting with this high level cell function, we model increasingly detailed processes along with participating objects. Our modeling approach is capable of modeling molecular processes such as complex formation, localization and trafficking, molecular binding, enzymatic stimulation, and environmental intervention. At the lowest level, similar to the Gene Ontology, all biological processes boil down to three basic molecular functions: catalysis, binding/dissociation, and transporting. During modeling and execution of the mRNA transcription model, we discovered knowledge gaps, which we present and classify into various types. We also show how model execution enhances a coherent model construction. Identification and pinpointing knowledge gaps is an important feature of the framework, as it suggests where research should focus and whether conjectures about uncertain mechanisms fit into the already verified model.

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<![CDATA[Versatile Trans-Replication Systems for Chikungunya Virus Allow Functional Analysis and Tagging of Every Replicase Protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeeab0ee8fa60bc0559

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV; genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae) has recently caused several major outbreaks affecting millions of people. There are no licensed vaccines or antivirals, and the knowledge of the molecular biology of CHIKV, crucial for development of efficient antiviral strategies, remains fragmentary. CHIKV has a 12 kb positive-strand RNA genome, which is translated to yield a nonstructural (ns) or replicase polyprotein. CHIKV structural proteins are expressed from a subgenomic RNA synthesized in infected cells. Here we have developed CHIKV trans-replication systems, where replicase expression and RNA replication are uncoupled. Bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase or cellular RNA polymerase II were used for production of mRNAs for CHIKV ns polyprotein and template RNAs, which are recognized by CHIKV replicase and encode for reporter proteins. CHIKV replicase efficiently amplified such RNA templates and synthesized large amounts of subgenomic RNA in several cell lines. This system was used to create tagged versions of ns proteins including nsP1 fused with enhanced green fluorescent protein and nsP4 with an immunological tag. Analysis of these constructs and a matching set of replicon vectors revealed that the replicases containing tagged ns proteins were functional and maintained their subcellular localizations. When cells were co-transfected with constructs expressing template RNA and wild type or tagged versions of CHIKV replicases, formation of characteristic replicase complexes (spherules) was observed. Analysis of mutations associated with noncytotoxic phenotype in CHIKV replicons showed that a low level of RNA replication is not a pre-requisite for reduced cytotoxicity. The CHIKV trans-replicase does not suffer from genetic instability and represents an efficient, sensitive and reliable tool for studies of different aspects of CHIKV RNA replication process.

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<![CDATA[Synthetic miRNA-Mowers Targeting miR-183-96-182 Cluster or miR-210 Inhibit Growth and Migration and Induce Apoptosis in Bladder Cancer Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da8aab0ee8fa60b9d9bd

Background

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) function as endogenous regulators of biological behaviors of human cancers. Several natural non-coding RNAs are reported to inhibit miRNAs by base-pairing interactions. These phenomena raise questions about the ability of artificial device to regulate miRNAs. The purpose of this study is to create synthetic devices that target a single miRNA or a miRNA cluster and to ascertain their therapeutic effects on the phenotypes of bladder cancer cells.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Tandem bulged miRNA binding sites were inserted into the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the SV-40 promoter-driven Renilla luciferase gene to construct two “miRNA-mowers” for suppression of miR-183-96-182 cluster or miR-210. A third device with tandem repeat sequences not complementary to any known miRNA was generated as an untargeted-control. In functional analyses, bladder cancer T24 and UM-UC-3 cells were transfected with each of the three devices, followed by assays for detection of their impacts. Luciferase assays indicated that the activities of the luciferase reporters in the miRNA-mowers were decreased to 30–50% of the untargeted-control. Using Real-Time qPCR, the expression levels of the target miRNAs were shown to be reduced 2-3-fold by the corresponding miRNA-mower. Cell growth, apoptosis, and migration were tested by MTT assay, flow cytometry assay, and in vitro scratch assay, respectively. Cell growth inhibition, increased apoptosis, and decreased motility were observed in miRNA-mowers-transfected bladder cancer cells.

Conclusions/Significance

Not only a single target miRNA but also the whole members of a target miRNA cluster can be blocked using this modular design strategy. Anti-cancer effects are induced by the synthetic miRNA-mowers in the bladder cancer cell lines. miR-183/96/182 cluster and miR-210 are shown to play oncogenic roles in bladder cancer. A potentially useful synthetic biology platform for miRNA loss-of-function study and cancer treatment has been established in this work.

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<![CDATA[Potent Allosteric Dengue Virus NS5 Polymerase Inhibitors: Mechanism of Action and Resistance Profiling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db17ab0ee8fa60bcd4ea

Flaviviruses comprise major emerging pathogens such as dengue virus (DENV) or Zika virus (ZIKV). The flavivirus RNA genome is replicated by the RNA-dependent-RNA polymerase (RdRp) domain of non-structural protein 5 (NS5). This essential enzymatic activity renders the RdRp attractive for antiviral therapy. NS5 synthesizes viral RNA via a “de novo” initiation mechanism. Crystal structures of the flavivirus RdRp revealed a “closed” conformation reminiscent of a pre-initiation state, with a well ordered priming loop that extrudes from the thumb subdomain into the dsRNA exit tunnel, close to the “GDD” active site. To-date, no allosteric pockets have been identified for the RdRp, and compound screening campaigns did not yield suitable drug candidates. Using fragment-based screening via X-ray crystallography, we found a fragment that bound to a pocket of the apo-DENV RdRp close to its active site (termed “N pocket”). Structure-guided improvements yielded DENV pan-serotype inhibitors of the RdRp de novo initiation activity with nano-molar potency that also impeded elongation activity at micro-molar concentrations. Inhibitors exhibited mixed inhibition kinetics with respect to competition with the RNA or GTP substrate. The best compounds have EC50 values of 1–2 μM against all four DENV serotypes in cell culture assays. Genome-sequencing of compound-resistant DENV replicons, identified amino acid changes that mapped to the N pocket. Since inhibitors bind at the thumb/palm interface of the RdRp, this class of compounds is proposed to hinder RdRp conformational changes during its transition from initiation to elongation. This is the first report of a class of pan-serotype and cell-active DENV RdRp inhibitors. Given the evolutionary conservation of residues lining the N pocket, these molecules offer insights to treat other serious conditions caused by flaviviruses.

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<![CDATA[Zap1 Regulates Zinc Homeostasis and Modulates Virulence in Cryptococcus gattii]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db1aab0ee8fa60bcde20

Zinc homeostasis is essential for fungal growth, as this metal is a critical structural component of several proteins, including transcription factors. The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus gattii obtains zinc from the stringent zinc-limiting milieu of the host during the infection process. To characterize the zinc metabolism in C. gattii and its relationship to fungal virulence, the zinc finger protein Zap1 was functionally characterized. The C. gattii ZAP1 gene is an ortholog of the master regulatory genes zafA and ZAP1 that are found in Aspergillus fumigatus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, respectively. There is some evidence to support an association between Zap1 and zinc metabolism in C. gattii: (i) ZAP1 expression is highly induced during zinc deprivation, (ii) ZAP1 knockouts demonstrate impaired growth in zinc-limiting conditions, (iii) Zap1 regulates the expression of ZIP zinc transporters and distinct zinc-binding proteins and (iv) Zap1 regulates the labile pool of intracellular zinc. In addition, the deletion of ZAP1 reduces C. gattii virulence in a murine model of cryptococcosis infection. Based on these observations, we postulate that proper zinc metabolism plays a crucial role in cryptococcal virulence.

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<![CDATA[Combinatorial selection for replicable RNA by Qβ replicase while maintaining encoded gene function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbfa2

Construction of a complex artificial self-replication system is challenging in the field of in vitro synthetic biology. Recently, we developed a translation-coupled RNA replication system, wherein an artificial genomic RNA replicates with the Qβ RNA replicase gene encoded on itself. The challenge is to introduce additional genes into the RNA to develop a complex system that mimics natural living systems. However, most RNA sequence encoding genes are not replicable by the Qβ replicase owing to its requirement for strong secondary structures throughout the RNA sequence that are absent in most genes. In this study, we establish a new combinatorial selection method to find an RNA sequence with secondary structures and functional amino acid sequences of the encoded gene. We selected RNA sequences based on their in vitro replication and in vivo gene functions. First, we used the α-domain gene of β-galactosidase as a model-encoding gene, with functional selection based on blue-white screening. Through the combinatorial selection, we developed more replicable RNAs while maintaining the function of the encoded α-domain. The selected sequence improved the affinity between the minus strand RNA and Qβ replicase. Second, we established an in vivo selection method applicable to a broader range of genes by using an Escherichia coli strain with one of the essential genes complemented with a plasmid. We performed the combinatorial selection using an RNA encoding serS and obtained more replicable RNA encoding functional serS gene. These results suggest that combinatorial selection methods are useful for the development of RNA sequences replicable by Qβ replicase while maintaining the encoded gene function.

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<![CDATA[The C-terminal 18 Amino Acid Region of Dengue Virus NS5 Regulates its Subcellular Localization and Contains a Conserved Arginine Residue Essential for Infectious Virus Production]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b86808

Dengue virus NS5 is the most highly conserved amongst the viral non-structural proteins and is responsible for capping, methylation and replication of the flavivirus RNA genome. Interactions of NS5 with host proteins also modulate host immune responses. Although replication occurs in the cytoplasm, an unusual characteristic of DENV2 NS5 is that it localizes to the nucleus during infection with no clear role in replication or pathogenesis. We examined NS5 of DENV1 and 2, which exhibit the most prominent difference in nuclear localization, employing a combination of functional and structural analyses. Extensive gene swapping between DENV1 and 2 NS5 identified that the C-terminal 18 residues (Cter18) alone was sufficient to direct the protein to the cytoplasm or nucleus, respectively. The low micromolar binding affinity between NS5 Cter18 and the nuclear import receptor importin-alpha (Impα), allowed their molecular complex to be purified, crystallised and visualized at 2.2 Å resolution using x-ray crystallography. Structure-guided mutational analysis of this region in GFP-NS5 clones of DENV1 or 2 and in a DENV2 infectious clone reveal residues important for NS5 subcellular localization. Notably, the trans conformation adopted by Pro-884 allows proper presentation for binding Impα and mutating this proline to Thr, as present in DENV1 NS5, results in mislocalizaion of NS5 to the cytoplasm without compromising virus fitness. In contrast, a single mutation to alanine at NS5 position R888, a residue conserved in all flaviviruses, resulted in a completely non-viable virus, and the R888K mutation led to a severely attenuated phentoype, even though NS5 was located in the nucleus. R888 forms a hydrogen bond with Y838 that is also conserved in all flaviviruses. Our data suggests an evolutionarily conserved function for NS5 Cter18, possibly in RNA interactions that are critical for replication, that is independent of its role in subcellular localization.

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<![CDATA[Inhibitors of Foot and Mouth Disease Virus Targeting a Novel Pocket of the RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da90ab0ee8fa60b9fcc2

Background

Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) is a picornavirus that infects cloven-hoofed animals and leads to severe losses in livestock production. In the case of an FMD outbreak, emergency vaccination requires at least 7 days to trigger an effective immune response. There are currently no approved inhibitors for the treatment or prevention of FMDV infections.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using a luciferase-based assay we screened a library of compounds and identified seven novel inhibitors of 3Dpol, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of FMDV. The compounds inhibited specifically 3Dpol (IC50s from 2-17 µM) and not other viral or bacterial polymerases. Enzyme kinetic studies on the inhibition mechanism by compounds 5D9 and 7F8 showed that they are non-competitive inhibitors with respect to NTP and nucleic acid substrates. Molecular modeling and docking studies into the 3Dpol structure revealed an inhibitor binding pocket proximal to, but distinct from the 3Dpol catalytic site. Residues surrounding this pocket are conserved among all 60 FMDV subtypes. Site directed mutagenesis of two residues located at either side of the pocket caused distinct resistance to the compounds, demonstrating that they indeed bind at this site. Several compounds inhibited viral replication with 5D9 suppressing virus production in FMDV-infected cells with EC50 = 12 µM and EC90 = 20 µM).

Significance

We identified several non-competitive inhibitors of FMDV 3Dpol that target a novel binding pocket, which can be used for future structure-based drug design studies. Such studies can lead to the discovery of even more potent antivirals that could provide alternative or supplementary options to contain future outbreaks of FMD.

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<![CDATA[Modulation of Re-initiation of Measles Virus Transcription at Intergenic Regions by PXD to NTAIL Binding Strength]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9deab0ee8fa60b68c44

Measles virus (MeV) and all Paramyxoviridae members rely on a complex polymerase machinery to ensure viral transcription and replication. Their polymerase associates the phosphoprotein (P) and the L protein that is endowed with all necessary enzymatic activities. To be processive, the polymerase uses as template a nucleocapsid made of genomic RNA entirely wrapped into a continuous oligomer of the nucleoprotein (N). The polymerase enters the nucleocapsid at the 3’end of the genome where are located the promoters for transcription and replication. Transcription of the six genes occurs sequentially. This implies ending and re-initiating mRNA synthesis at each intergenic region (IGR). We explored here to which extent the binding of the X domain of P (XD) to the C-terminal region of the N protein (NTAIL) is involved in maintaining the P/L complex anchored to the nucleocapsid template during the sequential transcription. Amino acid substitutions introduced in the XD-binding site on NTAIL resulted in a wide range of binding affinities as determined by combining protein complementation assays in E. coli and human cells and isothermal titration calorimetry. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that XD binding to NTAIL involves a complex network of hydrogen bonds, the disruption of which by two individual amino acid substitutions markedly reduced the binding affinity. Using a newly designed, highly sensitive dual-luciferase reporter minigenome assay, the efficiency of re-initiation through the five measles virus IGRs was found to correlate with NTAIL/XD KD. Correlatively, P transcript accumulation rate and F/N transcript ratios from recombinant viruses expressing N variants were also found to correlate with the NTAIL to XD binding strength. Altogether, our data support a key role for XD binding to NTAIL in maintaining proper anchor of the P/L complex thereby ensuring transcription re-initiation at each intergenic region.

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<![CDATA[Validation of Reference Genes for Real-Time Quantitative PCR (qPCR) Analysis of Avibacterium paragallinarum]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f4ab0ee8fa60b6f6ab

Real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) offers a robust method for measurement of gene expression levels. Selection of reliable reference gene(s) for gene expression study is conducive to reduce variations derived from different amounts of RNA and cDNA, the efficiency of the reverse transcriptase or polymerase enzymes. Until now reference genes identified for other members of the family Pasteurellaceae have not been validated for Avibacterium paragallinarum. The aim of this study was to validate nine reference genes of serovars A, B, and C strains of A. paragallinarum in different growth phase by qRT-PCR. Three of the most widely used statistical algorithms, geNorm, NormFinder and ΔCT method were used to evaluate the expression stability of reference genes. Data analyzed by overall rankings showed that in exponential and stationary phase of serovar A, the most stable reference genes were gyrA and atpD respectively; in exponential and stationary phase of serovar B, the most stable reference genes were atpD and recN respectively; in exponential and stationary phase of serovar C, the most stable reference genes were rpoB and recN respectively. This study provides recommendations for stable endogenous control genes for use in further studies involving measurement of gene expression levels.

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