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3 Janelia Publications

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    12/21/21 | Structure and RNA template requirements of RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASE 2.
    Fukudome A, Singh J, Mishra V, Reddem E, Martinez-Marquez F, Wenzel S, Yan R, Shiozaki M, Yu Z, Wang JC, Takagi Y, Pikaard CS
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.. 2021 Dec 21;118(51):. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2115899118

    RNA-dependent RNA polymerases play essential roles in RNA-mediated gene silencing in eukaryotes. In , RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASE 2 (RDR2) physically interacts with DNA-dependent NUCLEAR RNA POLYMERASE IV (Pol IV) and their activities are tightly coupled, with Pol IV transcriptional arrest, induced by the nontemplate DNA strand, somehow enabling RDR2 to engage Pol IV transcripts and generate double-stranded RNAs. The double-stranded RNAs are then released from the Pol IV-RDR2 complex and diced into short-interfering RNAs that guide RNA-directed DNA methylation and silencing. Here we report the structure of full-length RDR2, at an overall resolution of 3.1 Å, determined by cryoelectron microscopy. The N-terminal region contains an RNA-recognition motif adjacent to a positively charged channel that leads to a catalytic center with striking structural homology to the catalytic centers of multisubunit DNA-dependent RNA polymerases. We show that RDR2 initiates 1 to 2 nt internal to the 3' ends of its templates and can transcribe the RNA of an RNA/DNA hybrid, provided that 9 or more nucleotides are unpaired at the RNA's 3' end. Using a nucleic acid configuration that mimics the arrangement of RNA and DNA strands upon Pol IV transcriptional arrest, we show that displacement of the RNA 3' end occurs as the DNA template and nontemplate strands reanneal, enabling RDR2 transcription. These results suggest a model in which Pol IV arrest and backtracking displaces the RNA 3' end as the DNA strands reanneal, allowing RDR2 to engage the RNA and synthesize the complementary strand.

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    09/30/21 | The LRRK2 G2019S mutation alters astrocyte-to-neuron communication via extracellular vesicles and induces neuron atrophy in a human iPSC-derived model of Parkinson’s disease
    Aurelie de Rus Jacquet , Jenna L. Tancredi , Andrew L. Lemire , Michael C. DeSantis , Wei-Ping Li , Erin K. O’Shea
    eLife. 2021 Sep 30:. doi:

    Astrocytes are essential cells of the central nervous system, characterized by dynamic relationships with neurons that range from functional metabolic interactions and regulation of neuronal firing activities, to the release of neurotrophic and neuroprotective factors. In Parkinson’s disease (PD), dopaminergic neurons are progressively lost during the course of the disease, but the effects of PD on astrocytes and astrocyte-to-neuron communication remains largely unknown. This study focuses on the effects of the PD-related mutation LRRK2 G2019S in astrocytes generated from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. We report the alteration of extracellular vesicle (EV) biogenesis in astrocytes, and we identify the abnormal accumulation of key PD-related proteins within multi vesicular bodies (MVBs). We found that dopaminergic neurons internalize astrocyte-secreted EVs and that LRRK2 G2019S EVs are abnormally enriched in neurites and fail to provide full neurotrophic support to dopaminergic neurons. Thus, dysfunctional astrocyte-to-neuron communication via altered EV biological properties may participate in the progression of PD.

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    05/13/21 | CryoEM structure of the antibacterial target PBP1b at 3.3 Å resolution.
    Caveney NA, Workman SD, Yan R, Atkinson CE, Yu Z, Strynadka NC
    Nature Communications. 2021 May 13;12(1):2775. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23063-6

    The pathway for the biosynthesis of the bacterial cell wall is one of the most prolific antibiotic targets, exemplified by the widespread use of β-lactam antibiotics. Despite this, our structural understanding of class A penicillin binding proteins, which perform the last two steps in this pathway, is incomplete due to the inherent difficulty in their crystallization and the complexity of their substrates. Here, we determine the near atomic resolution structure of the 83 kDa class A PBP from Escherichia coli, PBP1b, using cryogenic electron microscopy and a styrene maleic acid anhydride membrane mimetic. PBP1b, in its apo form, is seen to exhibit a distinct conformation in comparison to Moenomycin-bound crystal structures. The work herein paves the way for the use of cryoEM in structure-guided antibiotic development for this notoriously difficult to crystalize class of proteins and their complex substrates.

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