An Insight into the Proofreading Functions of Multisubunit DNA-Dependent RNA Polymerases and Their Catalytic Mechanism
International Journal of Biochemistry Research & Review,
Aim: To analyze the active sites of the proofreading (PR) functions in the multisubunit DNA-dependent RNA polymerases (MSU RNAPs) from prokaryotes, chloroplasts and eukaryotes, and propose a plausible unified catalytic mechanism for these enzymes.
Study Design: Data collected on these enzymes from bioinformatics, biochemical, site-directed mutagenesis (SDM), X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) were used for the analyses.
Methodology: The protein sequence data of MSU RNAPs from prokaryotes, prokaryotic-types (plant chloroplasts) and eukaryotes were obtained from PUBMED and SWISS-PROT databases. The advanced version of Clustal Omega was used for protein sequence analysis. Along with the conserved motifs identified by the bioinformatics analysis, the data already available from biochemical and SDM experiments, and X-ray crystallographic and cryo-EM data on these enzymes are also used to confirm the possible amino acids involved in the active site of the PR function in these MSU RNAPs
Results: All the seven types of MSU RNAPs (I-VII) reported from prokaryotes to eukaryotes were analyzed by the multiple sequence alignment (MSA) software, Clustal Omega, to find out conservations among them. The MSA analysis showed many conserved amino acid motifs including small and large peptide regions from the MSU RNAPs of prokaryotes, eukaryotes and plant chloroplasts. Interestingly, the catalytic amino acid and template-binding pairs are highly conserved in all these polymerases, with a few exceptions. Most of them use a basic amino acid (R/K/H) for initiating catalysis and an -YG/FG- pair for template-binding. Some odd type of catalytic amino acids and template-binding pairs are observed in human pathogens, parasites and organisms which cannot ferment sugars. In all the MSU RNAPs, the proposed polymerase catalytic region also possessed three invariant Cs and an invariant H within it. The invariant Cs is shown to bind a zinc atom and proposed to involve in the PR function by excising any misincorporated nucleotide during the transcription process. In the plant-specific MSU RNAPs IV and V, which involve in transcriptional gene silencing in plants, the catalytic and template-binding pairs do not follow the regular distance conservations as observed with other five of the MSU RNAPs. Their polymerase/PR active site regions are similar to RNAP III rather than to RNAP II, as all three make only low molecular weight RNAs.
Conclusions: All the known MSU RNAPs possess three invariant Cs and an invariant H embedded within the polymerase active site itself. The three invariant Cs are shown to bind a zinc atom and the invariant H could act as the proton acceptor from a metal-bound water molecule, for initiating excision of the mismatches by a Zn-mediated hydrolysis. Thus, the PR function in MSU RNAPs is integrated within the polymerase active site itself, which is in sharp contrast to the PR functions reported in DNA-dependent DNA polymerases and RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. Therefore, all the seven MSU RNAPs from prokaryotes and eukaryotes are proposed to follow a unified mechanism to excise the mismatches during transcription. The discovery of intrinsic self-correcting RNA transcription mechanism fulfils the missing link in molecular evolution.
- Multisubunit RNA polymerases
- E. coli
- S. cerevisiae
- plant-specific RNA polymerases
- Arabidopsis thaliana
- human pathogens
- zinc-binding site
- proofreading active site
- catalytic mechanism
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