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Hoffmann N.A.,Structural and Computational Biology Unit | Jakobi A.J.,Structural and Computational Biology Unit | Jakobi A.J.,Hamburg Unit | Moreno-Morcillo M.,Structural and Computational Biology Unit | And 7 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2015

Transcription of genes encoding small structured RNAs such as transfer RNAs, spliceosomal U6 small nuclear RNA and ribosomal 5S RNA is carried out by RNA polymerase III (Pol III), the largest yet structurally least characterized eukaryotic RNA polymerase. Here we present the cryo-electron microscopy structures of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pol III elongating complex at 3.9 Å resolution and the apo Pol III enzyme in two different conformations at 4.6 and 4.7 Å resolution, respectively, which allow the building of a 17-subunit atomic model of Pol III. The reconstructions reveal the precise orientation of the C82-C34-C31 heterotrimer in close proximity to the stalk. The C53-C37 heterodimer positions residues involved in transcription termination close to the non-template DNA strand. In the apo Pol III structures, the stalk adopts different orientations coupled with closed and open conformations of the clamp. Our results provide novel insights into Pol III-specific transcription and the adaptation of Pol III towards its small transcriptional targets. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Bakiri L.,Genes Development and Disease Group | MacHo-Maschler S.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Custic I.,Research Institute of Molecular Pathology | Custic I.,Hamburg Unit | And 9 more authors.
Cell Death and Differentiation | Year: 2015

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is essential for embryonic morphogenesis and wound healing and critical for tumour cell invasion and dissemination. The AP-1 transcription factor Fra-1 has been implicated in tumorigenesis and in tumour-associated EMT in human breast cancer. We observed a significant inverse correlation between Fra-1 mRNA expression and distant-metastasis-free survival in a large cohort of breast cancer patients derived from multiple array data sets. This unique correlation among Fos genes prompted us to assess the evolutionary conservation between Fra-1 functions in EMT of human and mouse cells. Ectopic expression of Fra-1 in fully polarized, non-tumourigenic, mouse mammary epithelial EpH4 cells induced a mesenchymal phenotype, characterized by a loss of epithelial and gain of mesenchymal markers. Proliferation, motility and invasiveness were also increased in the resulting EpFra1 cells, and the cells were tumourigenic and efficiently colonized the lung upon transplantation. Molecular analyses revealed increased expression of Tgfβ1 and the EMT-inducing transcription factors Zeb1, Zeb2 and Slug. Mechanistically, Fra-1 binds to the tgfb1 and zeb2 promoters and to an evolutionarily conserved region in the first intron of zeb1. Furthermore, increased activity of a zeb2 promoter reporter was detected in EpFra1 cells and shown to depend on AP-1-binding sites. Inhibiting TGFβ signalling in EpFra1 cells moderately increased the expression of epithelial markers, whereas silencing of zeb1 or zeb2 restored the epithelial phenotype and decreased migration in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. Thus Fra-1 induces changes in the expression of genes encoding EMT-related transcription factors leading to the acquisition of mesenchymal, invasive and tumorigenic capacities by epithelial cells. This study defines a novel function of Fra-1/AP-1 in modulating tgfb1, zeb1 and zeb2 expression through direct binding to genomic regulatory regions, which establishes a basis for future in vivo genetic manipulations and preclinical studies using mouse models. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source

Posse V.,Gothenburg University | Shahzad S.,Karolinska Institutet | Falkenberg M.,Gothenburg University | Hallberg B.M.,Karolinska Institutet | And 2 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2015

A single-subunit RNA polymerase, POLRMT, transcribes the mitochondrial genome in human cells. Recently, a factor termed as the mitochondrial transcription elongation factor, TEFM, was shown to stimulate transcription elongation in vivo, but its effect in vitro was relatively modest. In the current work, we have isolated active TEFM in recombinant form and used a reconstituted in vitrotranscription system to characterize its activities. We show that TEFM strongly promotes POLRMT processivity as it dramatically stimulates the formation of longer transcripts. TEFM also abolishes premature transcription termination at conserved sequence block II, an event that has been linked to primer formation during initiation of mtDNA synthesis. We show that POLRMT pauses at a wide range of sites in a given DNA sequence. In the absence of TEFM, this leads to termination; however, the presence of TEFM abolishes this effect and aids POLRMT in continuation of transcription. Further, we show that TEFM substantially increases the POLRMT affinity to an elongation-like DNA:RNA template. In combination with previously published in vivo observations, our data establish TEFM as an essential component of the mitochon-drial transcription machinery. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research. Source

Reinhard L.,Karolinska Institutet | Sridhara S.,Karolinska Institutet | Hallberg B.M.,Karolinska Institutet | Hallberg B.M.,Hamburg Unit
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2015

Mitochondrial RNA polymerase produces long polycistronic precursors that contain the mRNAs, rRNAs and tRNAs needed for mitochondrial translation. Mitochondrial RNase P (mt-RNase P) initiates the maturation of the precursors by cleaving at the 5′ ends of the tRNAs. Human mt-RNase P is only active as a tripartite complex (mitochondrial RNase P proteins 1-3; MRPP1-3), whereas plant and trypanosomal RNase Ps (PRORPs) - albeit homologous to MRPP3 - are active as single proteins. The reason for this discrepancy has so far remained obscure. Here, we present the crystal structure of human MRPP3, which features a remarkably distorted and hence non-productive active site that we propose will switch to a fully productive state only upon association with MRPP1, MRPP2 and pre-tRNA substrate. We suggest a mechanism in which MRPP1 and MRPP2 both deliver the pre-tRNA substrate and activate MRPP3 through an induced-fit process. © 2015 The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research. Source

Hallberg B.M.,Karolinska Institutet | Hallberg B.M.,Hamburg Unit | Larsson N.-G.,Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing | Larsson N.-G.,Karolinska Institutet
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2014

Understanding regulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) expression is of considerable interest given that mitochondrial dysfunction is important in human pathology and aging. Similar to the situation in bacteria, there is no compartmentalization between transcription and translation in mitochondria; hence, both processes are likely to have a direct molecular crosstalk. Accumulating evidence suggests that there are important mechanisms for regulation of mammalian mtDNA expression at the posttranscriptional level. Regulation of mRNA maturation, mRNA stability, translational coordination, ribosomal biogenesis, and translation itself all form the basis for controlling oxidative phosphorylation capacity. Consequently, a wide variety of inherited human mitochondrial diseases are caused by mutations of nuclear genes regulating various aspects of mitochondrial translation. Furthermore, mutations of mtDNA, associated with human disease and aging, often affect tRNA genes critical for mitochondrial translation. Recent advances in molecular understanding of mitochondrial translation regulation will most likely provide novel avenues for modulating mitochondrial function for treating human disease. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

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