東京大学 理学系研究科 教授
PIWI-clade Argonaute proteins associate with PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and silence transposable elements in animal gonads. Here, we report the crystal structure of a silkworm PIWI-clade Argonaute, Siwi, bound to the endogenous piRNA, at 2.4 Å resolution. Siwi adopts a bilobed architecture consisting of N-PAZ and MID-PIWI lobes, in which the 5' and 3' ends of the bound piRNA are anchored by the MID-PIWI and PAZ domains, respectively. A structural comparison of Siwi with AGO-clade Argonautes reveals notable differences in their nucleic-acid-binding channels, likely reflecting the distinct lengths of their guide RNAs and their mechanistic differences in guide RNA loading and cleavage product release. In addition, the structure reveals that Siwi and prokaryotic, but not eukaryotic, AGO-clade Argonautes share unexpected similarities, such as metal-dependent 5'-phosphate recognition and a potential structural transition during the catalytic-tetrad formation. Overall, this study provides a critical starting point toward a mechanistic understanding of piRNA-mediated transposon silencing.
This special issue aims to assemble available knowledge on long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and provide future research directions for discovering the molecular functions of this emerging family of molecules. The genomes of eukaryotes, particularly mammalian species including human and mouse, possess large chunks of nonprotein-coding regions. Only 2% of the human genome is dedicated to coding for proteins; the remainder is constituted of noncoding regions, which are for the most part functionally unannotated. At the beginning of the postgenomic era, transcriptome genome-wide analyses in various organisms unexpectedly revealed that large portions of the mammalian genome produce numerous transcripts that lack protein-coding potential. Among these RNAs, noncoding transcripts longer than 200 nt are arbitrary referred to as “lncRNAs”. Many lncRNAs are expressed at low levels, exhibit tissue- or cell type specific expression patterns, and are not as well conserved between species as protein-coding mRNAs. LncRNAs share common features with protein-coding mRNAs; for instance, with few exceptions, they are transcribed by RNA polymerase II, possess the canonical cap structure at their 5′ termini, and their 3′ termini are polyadenylated. Nevertheless, many lncRNAs are not subject to nuclear export and function within the nucleus, which is in sharp contrast to mRNAs that are transported to the cytoplasm and translated into proteins. Notably, a group of lncRNAs, once classified as lncRNAs, have now been found to encode small polypeptides, making it necessary to establish new methods to distinguish lncRNAs from polypeptide-coding RNAs...
Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) suppress transposon activity in animal germ cells. In the Drosophila ovary, primary Aubergine (Aub)-bound antisense piRNAs initiate the ping-pong cycle to produce secondary AGO3-bound sense piRNAs. This increases the number of secondary Aub-bound antisense piRNAs that can act to destroy transposon mRNAs. Here we show that Krimper (Krimp), a Tudor-domain protein, directly interacts with piRNA-free AGO3 to promote symmetrical dimethylarginine (sDMA) modification, ensuring sense piRNA-loading onto sDMA-modified AGO3. In aub mutant ovaries, AGO3 associates with ping-pong signature piRNAs, suggesting AGO3's compatibility with primary piRNA loading. Krimp sequesters ectopically expressed AGO3 within Krimp bodies in cultured ovarian somatic cells (OSCs), in which only the primary piRNA pathway operates. Upon krimp-RNAi in OSCs, AGO3 loads with piRNAs, further showing the capacity of AGO3 for primary piRNA loading. We propose that Krimp enforces an antisense bias on piRNA pools by binding AGO3 and blocking its access to primary piRNAs.
Assembly of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) requires formation of the RISC loading complex (RLC), which contains the Dicer-2 (Dcr-2)-R2D2 complex and recruits duplex siRNA to Ago2 in Drosophila melanogaster. However, the precise composition and action mechanism of Drosophila RLC remain unclear. Here we identified the missing factor of RLC as TATA-binding protein-associated factor 11 (TAF11) by genetic screen. Although it is an annotated nuclear transcription factor, we found that TAF11 also associated with Dcr-2/R2D2 and localized to cytoplasmic D2 bodies. Consistent with defective RLC assembly in taf11(-/-) ovary extract, we reconstituted the RLC in vitro using the recombinant Dcr-2-R2D2 complex, TAF11, and duplex siRNA. Furthermore, we showed that TAF11 tetramer facilitates Dcr-2-R2D2 tetramerization to enhance siRNA binding and RISC loading activities. Together, our genetic and biochemical studies define the molecular nature of the Drosophila RLC and elucidate a cytoplasmic function of TAF11 in organizing RLC assembly to enhance RNAi efficiency.
Primary piRNAs in Drosophila ovarian somatic cells arise from piRNA cluster transcripts and the 3' UTRs of a subset of mRNAs, including Traffic jam (Tj) mRNA. However, it is unclear how these RNAs are determined as primary piRNA sources. Here, we identify a cis-acting 100-nt fragment in the Tj 3' UTR that is sufficient for producing artificial piRNAs from unintegrated DNA. These artificial piRNAs were effective in endogenous gene transcriptional silencing. Yb, a core component of primary piRNA biogenesis center Yb bodies, directly bound the Tj-cis element. Disruption of this interaction markedly reduced piRNA production. Thus, Yb is the trans-acting partner of the Tj-cis element. Yb-CLIP revealed that Yb binding correlated with somatic piRNA production but Tj-cis element downstream sequences produced few artificial piRNAs. We thus propose that Yb determines primary piRNA sources through two modes of action: primary binding to cis elements to specify substrates and secondary binding to downstream regions to increase diversity in piRNA populations.