- The ribosome assembly factor Nep1 responsible for Bowen–Conradi syndrome is a pseudouridine-N1-specific methyltransferase (2010)
- Nep1 (Emg1) is a highly conserved nucleolar protein with an essential function in ribosome biogenesis. A mutation in the human Nep1 homolog causes Bowen–Conradi syndrome—a severe developmental disorder. Structures of Nep1 revealed a dimer with a fold similar to the SPOUT-class of RNA-methyltransferases suggesting that Nep1 acts as a methyltransferase in ribosome biogenesis. The target for this putative methyltransferase activity has not been identified yet. We characterized the RNA-binding specificity of Methanocaldococcus jannaschii Nep1 by fluorescence- and NMR-spectroscopy as well as by yeast three-hybrid screening. Nep1 binds with high affinity to short RNA oligonucleotides corresponding to nt 910–921 of M. jannaschii 16S rRNA through a highly conserved basic surface cleft along the dimer interface. Nep1 only methylates RNAs containing a pseudouridine at a position corresponding to a previously identified hypermodified N1-methyl-N3-(3-amino-3-carboxypropyl) pseudouridine (m1acp3-Psi) in eukaryotic 18S rRNAs. Analysis of the methylated nucleoside by MALDI-mass spectrometry, HPLC and NMR shows that the methyl group is transferred to the N1 of the pseudouridine. Thus, Nep1 is the first identified example of an N1-specific pseudouridine methyltransferase. This enzymatic activity is also conserved in human Nep1 suggesting that Nep1 is the methyltransferase in the biosynthesis of m1acp3-Psi in eukaryotic 18S rRNAs.
- The crystal structure of Nep1 reveals an extended SPOUT-class methyltransferase fold and a pre-organized SAM-binding site (2008)
- Ribosome biogenesis in eukaryotes requires the participation of a large number of ribosome assembly factors. The highly conserved eukaryotic nucleolar protein Nep1 has an essential but unknown function in 18S rRNA processing and ribosome biogenesis. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae the malfunction of a temperature-sensitive Nep1 protein (nep1-1ts) was suppressed by the addition of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). This suggests the participation of Nep1 in a methyltransferase reaction during ribosome biogenesis. In addition, yeast Nep1 binds to a 6-nt RNA-binding motif also found in 18S rRNA and facilitates the incorporation of ribosomal protein Rps19 during the formation of pre-ribosomes. Here, we present the X-ray structure of the Nep1 homolog from the archaebacterium Methanocaldococcus jannaschii in its free form (2.2 Å resolution) and bound to the S-adenosylmethionine analog S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH, 2.15 Å resolution) and the antibiotic and general methyltransferase inhibitor sinefungin (2.25 Å resolution). The structure reveals a fold which is very similar to the conserved core fold of the SPOUT-class methyltransferases but contains a novel extension of this common core fold. SAH and sinefungin bind to Nep1 at a preformed binding site that is topologically equivalent to the cofactor-binding site in other SPOUT-class methyltransferases. Therefore, our structures together with previous genetic data suggest that Nep1 is a genuine rRNA methyltransferase.
- The Bowen–Conradi syndrome protein Nep1 (Emg1) has a dual role in eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis, as an essential assembly factor and in the methylation of Psi1191 in yeast 18S rRNA (2010)
- The Nep1 (Emg1) SPOUT-class methyltransferase is an essential ribosome assembly factor and the human Bowen–Conradi syndrome (BCS) is caused by a specific Nep1D86G mutation. We recently showed in vitro that Methanocaldococcus jannaschii Nep1 is a sequence-specific pseudouridine-N1-methyltransferase. Here, we show that in yeast the in vivo target site for Nep1-catalyzed methylation is located within loop 35 of the 18S rRNA that contains the unique hypermodification of U1191 to 1-methyl-3-(3-amino-3-carboxypropyl)-pseudouri-dine (m1acp3Psi). Specific 14C-methionine labelling of 18S rRNA in yeast mutants showed that Nep1 is not required for acp-modification but suggested a function in Psi1191 methylation. ESI MS analysis of acp-modified Psi-nucleosides in a DeltaNep1-mutant showed that Nep1 catalyzes the Psi1191 methylation in vivo. Remarkably, the restored growth of a nep1-1ts mutant upon addition of S-adenosylmethionine was even observed after preventing U1191 methylation in a deltasnr35 mutant. This strongly suggests a dual Nep1 function, as Psi1191-methyltransferase and ribosome assembly factor. Interestingly, the Nep1 methyltransferase activity is not affected upon introduction of the BCS mutation. Instead, the mutated protein shows enhanced dimerization propensity and increased affinity for its RNA-target in vitro. Furthermore, the BCS mutation prevents nucleolar accumulation of Nep1, which could be the reason for reduced growth in yeast and the Bowen-Conradi syndrome.
- A fast and efficient translational control system for conditional expression of yeast genes (2009)
- A new artificial regulatory system for essential genes in yeast is described. It prevents translation of target mRNAs upon tetracycline (tc) binding to aptamers introduced into their 5'UTRs. Exploiting direct RNA–ligand interaction renders auxiliary protein factors unnecessary. Therefore, our approach is strain independent and not susceptible to interferences by heterologous expressed regulatory proteins. We use a simple PCR-based strategy, which allows easy tagging of any target gene and the level of gene expression can be adjusted due to various tc aptamer-regulated promoters. As proof of concept, five differently expressed genes were targeted, two of which could not be regulated previously. In all cases, adding tc completely prevented growth and, as shown for Nop14p, rapidly abolished de novo protein synthesis providing a powerful tool for conditional regulation of yeast gene expression.