Published on June 1, 2006 in RNA volume 12.

PubMed ID: 16601205


Archaeal box C/D sRNAs guide the methylation of specific nucleotides in archaeal ribosomal and tRNAs. Three Methanocaldococcus jannaschii sRNP core proteins (ribosomal protein L7, Nop56/58, and fibrillarin) bind the box C/D sRNAs to assemble the sRNP complex, and these core proteins are essential for nucleotide methylation. A distinguishing feature of the Nop56/58 core protein is the coiled-coil domain, established by alpha-helices 4 and 5, that facilitates Nop56/58 self-dimerization in vitro. The function of this coiled-coil domain has been assessed for box C/D sRNP assembly, sRNP structure, and sRNP-guided nucleotide methylation by mutating or deleting this protein domain. Protein pull-down experiments demonstrated that Nop56/58 self-dimerization and Nop56/58 dimerization with the core protein fibrillarin are mutually exclusive protein:protein interactions. Disruption of Nop56/58 homodimerization by alteration of specific amino acids or deletion of the entire coiled-coil domain had no obvious effect upon core protein binding and sRNP assembly. Site-directed mutation of the Nop56/58 homodimerization domain also had no apparent effect upon either box C/D RNP- or C'/D' RNP-guided nucleotide modification. However, deletion of this domain disrupted guided methylation from both RNP complexes. Nuclease probing of the sRNP assembled with Nop56/58 proteins mutated in the coiled-coil domain indicated that while functional complexes were assembled, box C/D and C'/D' RNPs were altered in structure. Collectively, these experiments revealed that the self-dimerization of the Nop56/58 coiled-coil domain is not required for assembly of a functional sRNP, but the coiled-coil domain is important for the establishment of wild-type box C/D and C'/D' RNP structure essential for nucleotide methylation.

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