Uridylation of the histone mRNA stem-loop weakens binding interactions with SLBP while maintaining interactions with 3’hExo
Histone mRNA, molecular dynamics, RNA binding proteins, RNA degradation
Histone mRNA degradation is controlled by the unique 3’ stem-loop of histone mRNA and the stem-loop binding protein (SLBP). As part of this process, the 3’ stem-loop is trimmed by the histone-specific 3’ exonuclease (3’hExo) and uridylated by the terminal uridylyl transferase 7 (TUT7), creating partially degraded intermediates with short uridylations. The role of these uridylations in degradation is not fully understood. Our work examines changes in the stability of the ternary complex created by trimming and uridylation of the stem-loop to better understand the role of this process in the histone mRNA life cycle. In this study, we used fluorescence polarization and electrophoretic mobility shift assays to demonstrate that both SLBP and 3’hExo can bind to uridylated and partially degraded stem-loop intermediates, although with lower affinity. We further characterized this complex by performing 1-µs molecular dynamics simulations using the AMBER force field and Nanoscale Molecular Dynamics (NAMD). These simulations show that while uridylation helps maintain the overall shape of the stem-loop, the combination of uridylation and dephosphorylation of the TPNK motif in SLBP disrupts key RNA–protein interactions. They also demonstrate that uridylation allows 3’hExo to maintain contact with the stem-loop after partial degradation and plays a role in disrupting key base pairs in partially degraded histone mRNA intermediates. Together, these experiments and simulations suggest that trimming by 3’hExo, uridylation, and SLBP dephosphorylation weakens both RNA–protein interactions and the stem-loop itself. Our results further elucidate the role of uridylation and SLBP dephosphorylation in the early stages of histone mRNA degradation.
Shine, M., Harris, S., Pellegrene, K., Kensinger, A., Mihailescu, M., Evanseck, J., & Lackey, P. (2023). Uridylation of the histone mRNA stem-loop weakens binding interactions with SLBP while maintaining interactions with 3’hExo. RNA Biology, 20 (1), 469-481. https://doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2023.2171760