Influence of correct secondary and tertiary RNA folding on the binding of cellular factors to the HCV IRES

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Padriciano 99, 34012 Trieste, Italy.
Nucleic Acids Research (Impact Factor: 9.11). 03/2000; 28(4):875-85.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Structural integrity of the hepatitus C virus (HCV) 5' UTR region that includes the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) element is known to be essential for efficient protein synthesis. The functional explanation for this observation has been provided by the recent evidence that binding of several cellular factors to the HCV IRES is dependent on the conservation of its secondary structure. In order to better define the relationship between IRES activity, protein binding and RNA folding of the HCV IRES, we have focused our attention on its major stem-loop region (domain III) and the binding of several cellular factors: two subunits of eukaryotic initiation factor eIF3 and ribosomal protein S9. Our results show that binding of eIF3 p170 and p116/p110 subunits is dependent on the ability of the domain III apical stem-loop region to fold in the correct secondary structure whilst secondary structure of hairpin IIId is important for the binding of S9 ribosomal protein. In addition, we show that binding of S9 ribosomal protein also depends on the disposition of domain III on the HCV 5' UTR, indicating the presence of necessary inter-domain interactions required for the binding of this protein (thus providing the first direct evidence that tertiary folding of the HCV RNA does affect protein binding).

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Available from: Emanuele Buratti, Aug 18, 2015
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    • "This represents an alternative mechanism to that employed by cellular mRNAs, in which 40S ribosomal subunits are directly recruited in the absence of any other canonical initiation factor, directly positioning the start codon at the ribosome P site (Lytle et al. 2002; Ji et al. 2004; Otto and Puglisi 2004). The HCV IRES spans a region of 340 nucleotides (nt) that includes a short stretch of the 59 core coding sequence (Fig. 1A; Reynolds et al. 1995; Wang et al. 2000), and has a complex organization that must be preserved for it to be active (Lukavsky et al. 2000; Odreman-Macchioli et al. 2000; Collier et al. 2002; Kieft et al. 2002). Under physiological magnesium concentrations, the IRES is folded into four stem–loop motifs (designated I–IV) that define different functional domains (Fig. 1A), each with essential roles in ribosome recruitment and viral RNA synthesis. "
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    ABSTRACT: The RNA genome of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) contains multiple conserved structural cis domains that direct protein synthesis, replication, and infectivity. The untranslatable regions (UTRs) play essential roles in the HCV cycle. Uncapped viral RNAs are translated via an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) located at the 5' UTR, which acts as a scaffold for recruiting multiple protein factors. Replication of the viral genome is initiated at the 3' UTR. Bioinformatics methods have identified other structural RNA elements thought to be involved in the HCV cycle. The 5BSL3.2 motif, which is embedded in a cruciform structure at the 3' end of the NS5B coding sequence, contributes to the three-dimensional folding of the entire 3' end of the genome. It is essential in the initiation of replication. This paper reports the identification of a novel, strand-specific, long-range RNA-RNA interaction between the 5' and 3' ends of the genome, which involves 5BSL3.2 and IRES motifs. Mutants harboring substitutions in the apical loop of domain IIId or in the internal loop of 5BSL3.2 disrupt the complex, indicating these regions are essential in initiating the kissing interaction. No complex was formed when the UTRs of the related foot and mouth disease virus were used in binding assays, suggesting this interaction is specific for HCV sequences. The present data firmly suggest the existence of a higher-order structure that may mediate a protein-independent circularization of the HCV genome. The 5'-3' end bridge may have a role in viral translation modulation and in the switch from protein synthesis to RNA replication.
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