Robert J Crouch

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maryland, United States

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Publications (44)377.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: La antigen (Sjögren's syndrome antigen B) is a phosphoprotein associated with nascent precursor tRNAs and other RNAs, and it is targeted by autoantibodies in patients with Sjögren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and neonatal lupus. Increased levels of La are associated with leukemias and other cancers, and various viruses usurp La to promote their replication. Yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe) genetically depleted of La grow and proliferate, whereas deletion from mice causes early embryonic lethality, raising the question of whether La is required by mammalian cells generally or only to surpass a developmental stage. We developed a conditional La allele and used it in mice that express Cre recombinase in either B cell progenitors or the forebrain. B cell Mb1Cre La-deleted mice produce no B cells. Consistent with αCamKII Cre, which induces deletion in hippocampal CA1 cells in the third postnatal week and later throughout the neocortex, brains develop normally in La-deleted mice until ∼5 weeks and then lose a large amount of forebrain cells and mass, with evidence of altered pre-tRNA processing. The data indicate that La is required not only in proliferating cells but also in nondividing postmitotic cells. Thus, La is essential in different cell types and required for normal development of various tissue types.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology. 01/2014; 34(1).
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    ABSTRACT: La antigen (Sjögren's syndrome antigen-B) is a phosphoprotein associated with nascent precursor-tRNAs and other RNAs, that is targeted by autoantibodies in patients with Sjögren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Increased levels of La are associated with leukemias and other cancers, and various viruses usurp La to promote their replication. Yeast cells genetically depleted of La grow and proliferate whereas deletion from mice causes early embryonic lethality, raising the question of whether La is required by mammalian cells generally or only to surpass a developmental stage. We developed a conditional La allele and used it in mice that express Cre recombinase in either B cell progenitors or forebrain. B cell Mb1-Cre La-deleted mice produce no B cells. Consistent with αCamKII Cre which induces deletion in hippocampal CA1 cells in the third postnatal week and later throughout the neocortex, brains develop normally in La-deleted mice until ∼5 weeks and then lose a large amount of forebrain cells and mass with evidence of altered pre-tRNA processing. The data indicate that La is required not only in proliferating cells but also in non-dividing post-mitotic cells. Thus La is essential in different cell types and required for normal development of various tissue types.
    Molecular and cellular biology 11/2013; · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ribonuclease H2 (RNase H2) protects genome integrity by its dual roles of resolving transcription-related R-loops and ribonucleotides incorporated in DNA during replication. To unlink these two functions, we generated a Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNase H2 mutant that can resolve R-loops but cannot cleave single ribonucleotides in DNA. This mutant definitively correlates the 2-5 bp deletions observed in rnh201Δ strains with single rNMPs in DNA. It also establishes a connection between R-loops and Sgs1-mediated replication reinitiation at stalled forks and identifies R-loops uniquely processed by RNase H2. In mouse, deletion of any of the genes coding for RNase H2 results in embryonic lethality, and in humans, RNase H2 hypomorphic mutations cause Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), a neuroinflammatory disorder. To determine the contribution of R-loops and rNMP in DNA to the defects observed in AGS, we characterized in yeast an AGS-related mutation, which is impaired in processing both substrates, but has sufficient R-loop degradation activity to complement the defects of rnh201Δ sgs1Δ strains. However, this AGS-related mutation accumulates 2-5 bp deletions at a very similar rate as the deletion strain.
    Nucleic Acids Research 01/2013; · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ribonucleotides are incorporated into DNA by the replicative DNA polymerases at frequencies of about 2 per kb, which makes them by far the most abundant form of potential DNA damage in the cell. Their removal is essential for restoring a stable intact chromosome. Here, we present a complete biochemical reconstitution of the ribonucleotide excision repair (RER) pathway with enzymes purified from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. RER is most efficient when the ribonucleotide is incised by RNase H2, and further excised by the flap endonuclease FEN1 with strand displacement synthesis carried out by DNA polymerase δ, the PCNA clamp, its loader RFC, and completed by DNA ligase I. We observed partial redundancy for several of the enzymes in this pathway. Exo1 substitutes for FEN1 and Pol ε for Pol δ with reasonable efficiency. However, RNase H1 fails to substitute for RNase H2 in the incision step of RER.
    Molecular cell 08/2012; 47(6):980-6. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    Susana M Cerritelli, Hyongi Chon, Robert J Crouch
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    ABSTRACT: The worlds of RNA and DNA are not entirely separate. They frequently come together when RNA/DNA hybrids form during replication and transcription, which often induces genome instability (1–3). An enzyme called topoisomerase (Top) plays an important role in preventing RNA/DNA annealing during transcription (1). Another enzyme, ribonuclease H (RNase H), helps maintain genome integrity by removing RNA from hybrids (2, 3). On page 1561 of this issue, Kim et al. (4) report that Top1, one of the two types of topoisomerase, not only prevents the formation of often deleterious hybrid structures called R-loops, but also participates in the removal of single ribonucleotides (rNMPs), which are incorporated during DNA replication and have escaped the repair system. Using yeast, Kim et al. also show that, when there is a rNMP at the site of Top1 cleavage, the enzyme can create irreversible breaks in the DNA strand, assaulting genome stability and perhaps contributing to disease.
    Science 06/2011; 332(6037):1510-1. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA maintenance and segregation are dependent on the actin cytoskeleton in budding yeast. We found two cytoskeletal proteins among six proteins tightly associated with rat liver mitochondrial DNA: non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA and β-actin. In human cells, transient gene silencing of MYH9 (encoding non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA), or the closely related MYH10 gene (encoding non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIB), altered the topology and increased the copy number of mitochondrial DNA; and the latter effect was enhanced when both genes were targeted simultaneously. In contrast, genetic ablation of non-muscle myosin IIB was associated with a 60% decrease in mitochondrial DNA copy number in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, compared to control cells. Gene silencing of β-actin also affected mitochondrial DNA copy number and organization. Protease-protection experiments and iodixanol gradient analysis suggest some β-actin and non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA reside within human mitochondria and confirm that they are associated with mitochondrial DNA. Collectively, these results strongly implicate the actomyosin cytoskeleton in mammalian mitochondrial DNA maintenance.
    Nucleic Acids Research 03/2011; 39(12):5098-108. · 8.81 Impact Factor
  • Susana M. Cerritelli, Hyongi Chon, Robert J. Crouch
    Science 01/2011; 332(6037):1510-1511. · 31.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNase H2 cleaves RNA sequences that are part of RNA/DNA hybrids or that are incorporated into DNA, thus, preventing genomic instability and the accumulation of aberrant nucleic acid, which in humans induces Aicardi-Goutières syndrome, a severe autoimmune disorder. The 3.1 Å crystal structure of human RNase H2 presented here allowed us to map the positions of all 29 mutations found in Aicardi-Goutières syndrome patients, several of which were not visible in the previously reported mouse RNase H2. We propose the possible effects of these mutations on the protein stability and function. Bacterial and eukaryotic RNases H2 differ in composition and substrate specificity. Bacterial RNases H2 are monomeric proteins and homologs of the eukaryotic RNases H2 catalytic subunit, which in addition possesses two accessory proteins. The eukaryotic RNase H2 heterotrimeric complex recognizes RNA/DNA hybrids and (5')RNA-DNA(3')/DNA junction hybrids as substrates with similar efficiency, whereas bacterial RNases H2 are highly specialized in the recognition of the (5')RNA-DNA(3') junction and very poorly cleave RNA/DNA hybrids in the presence of Mg(2+) ions. Using the crystal structure of the Thermotoga maritima RNase H2-substrate complex, we modeled the human RNase H2-substrate complex and verified the model by mutational analysis. Our model indicates that the difference in substrate preference stems from the different position of the crucial tyrosine residue involved in substrate binding and recognition.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2010; 286(12):10540-50. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNase H1 in mammalian cells is present in nuclei and mitochondria. Its absence in mitochondria results in embryonic lethality due to the failure to amplify mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Dual localization to mitochondria and nuclei results from differential translation initiation at two in-frame AUGs (M1 and M27) of a single mRNA. Here we show that expression levels of the two isoforms depend on the efficiency of translation initiation at each AUG codon and on the presence of a short upstream open reading frame (uORF) resulting in the mitochondrial isoform being about 10% as abundant as the nuclear form. Translation initiation at the M1 AUG is restricted by the uORF, while expression of the nuclear isoform requires reinitiation of ribosomes at the M27 AUG after termination of uORF translation or new initiation by ribosomes skipping the uORF and the M1 AUG. Such translational organization of RNase H1 allows tight control of expression of RNase H1 in mitochondria, where its excess or absence can lead to cell death, without affecting the expression of the nuclear RNase H1.
    Molecular and cellular biology 11/2010; 30(21):5123-34. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two classes of RNase H hydrolyze RNA of RNA/DNA hybrids. In contrast to RNase H1 that requires four ribonucleotides for cleavage, RNase H2 can nick duplex DNAs containing a single ribonucleotide, suggesting different in vivo substrates. We report here the crystal structures of a type 2 RNase H in complex with substrates containing a (5')RNA-DNA(3') junction. They revealed a unique mechanism of recognition and substrate-assisted cleavage. A conserved tyrosine residue distorts the nucleic acid at the junction, allowing the substrate to function in catalysis by participating in coordination of the active site metal ion. The biochemical and structural properties of RNase H2 explain the preference of the enzyme for junction substrates and establish the structural and mechanistic differences with RNase H1. Junction recognition is important for the removal of RNA embedded in DNA and may play an important role in DNA replication and repair.
    Molecular cell 11/2010; 40(4):658-70. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate, using transmission electron microscopy and immunopurification with an antibody specific for RNA/DNA hybrid, that intact mitochondrial DNA replication intermediates are essentially duplex throughout their length but contain extensive RNA tracts on one strand. However, the extent of preservation of RNA in such molecules is highly dependent on the preparative method used. These findings strongly support the strand-coupled model of mitochondrial DNA replication involving RNA incorporation throughout the lagging strand.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2010; 397(5):1144-55. · 3.91 Impact Factor
  • Mitochondrion 01/2010; 10(2):217-217. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    Susana M Cerritelli, Robert J Crouch
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    ABSTRACT: Ribonucleases H are enzymes that cleave the RNA of RNA/DNA hybrids that form during replication and repair and which could lead to DNA instability if they were not processed. There are two main types of RNase H, and at least one of them is present in most organisms. Eukaryotic RNases H are larger and more complex than their prokaryotic counterparts. Eukaryotic RNase H1 has acquired a hybrid binding domain that confers processivity and affinity for the substrate, whereas eukaryotic RNase H2 is composed of three different proteins: the catalytic subunit (2A), similar to the monomeric prokaryotic RNase HII, and two other subunits (2B and 2C) that have no prokaryotic counterparts and as yet unknown functions, but that are necessary for catalysis. In this minireview, we discuss some of the most recent findings on eukaryotic RNases H1 and H2, focusing on the structural data on complexes between human RNase H1 and RNA/DNA hybrids that had provided great detail of how the hybrid binding- and RNase H-domains recognize and cleave the RNA strand of the hybrid substrates. We also describe the progress made in understanding the in vivo function of eukaryotic RNases H. Although prokayotes and some single-cell eukaryotes do not require RNases H for viability, in higher eukaryotes RNases H are essential. Rnaseh1 null mice arrest development around E8.5 because RNase H1 is necessary during embryogenesis for mitochondrial DNA replication. Mutations in any of the three subunits of human RNase H2 cause Aicardi-Goutières syndrome, a human neurological disorder with devastating consequences.
    FEBS Journal 03/2009; 276(6):1494-505. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic RNase H2 is a heterotrimeric enzyme. Here, we show that the biochemical composition and stoichiometry of the human RNase H2 complex is consistent with the properties previously deduced from genetic studies. The catalytic subunit of eukaryotic RNase H2, RNASEH2A, is well conserved and similar to the monomeric prokaryotic RNase HII. In contrast, the RNASEH2B and RNASEH2C subunits from human and Saccharomyces cerevisiae share very little homology, although they both form soluble B/C complexes that may serve as a nucleation site for the addition of RNASEH2A to form an active RNase H2, or for interactions with other proteins to support different functions. The RNASEH2B subunit has a PIP-box and confers PCNA binding to human RNase H2. Unlike Escherichia coli RNase HII, eukaryotic RNase H2 acts processively and hydrolyzes a variety of RNA/DNA hybrids with similar efficiencies, suggesting multiple cellular substrates. Moreover, of five analyzed mutations in human RNASEH2B and RNASEH2C linked to Aicardi-Goutières Syndrome (AGS), only one, R69W in the RNASEH2C protein, exhibits a significant reduction in specific activity, revealing a role for the C subunit in enzymatic activity. Near-normal activity of four AGS-related mutant enzymes was unexpected in light of their predicted impairment causing the AGS phenotype.
    Nucleic Acids Research 12/2008; 37(1):96-110. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic ribonuclease (RNase) H2 consists of one catalytic and two accessory subunits. Several single mutations in any one of these subunits of human RNase H2 cause Aicardi-Goutières syndrome. To examine whether these mutations affect the complex stability and activity of RNase H2, three mutant proteins of His-tagged Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNase H2 (Sc-RNase H2*) were constructed. Sc-G42S*, Sc-L52R*, and Sc-K46W* contain single mutations in Sc-Rnh2Ap*, Sc-Rnh2Bp*, and Sc-Rnh2Cp*, respectively. The genes encoding the three subunits were coexpressed in Escherichia coli, and Sc-RNase H2* and its derivatives were purified in a heterotrimeric form. All of these mutant proteins exhibited enzymatic activity. However, only the enzymatic activity of Sc-G42S* was greatly reduced compared to that of the wild-type protein. Gly42 is conserved as Gly10 in Thermococcus kodakareansis RNase HII. To analyze the role of this residue, four mutant proteins, Tk-G10S, Tk-G10A, Tk-G10L, and Tk-G10P, were constructed. All mutant proteins were less stable than the wild-type protein by 2.9-7.6 degrees C in T(m). A comparison of their enzymatic activities, substrate binding affinities, and CD spectra suggests that the introduction of a bulky side chain into this position induces a local conformational change, which is unfavorable for both activity and substrate binding. These results indicate that Gly10 is required to make the protein fully active and stable.
    FEBS Journal 09/2008; 275(19):4836-49. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human RNase H1 contains an N-terminal domain known as dsRHbd for binding both dsRNA and RNA/DNA hybrid. We find that dsRHbd binds preferentially to RNA/DNA hybrids by over 25-fold and rename it as hybrid binding domain (HBD). The crystal structure of HBD complexed with a 12 bp RNA/DNA hybrid reveals that the RNA strand is recognized by a protein loop, which forms hydrogen bonds with the 2'-OH groups. The DNA interface is highly specific and contains polar residues that interact with the phosphate groups and an aromatic patch that appears selective for binding deoxyriboses. HBD is unique relative to non-sequence-specific dsDNA- and dsRNA-binding domains because it does not use positive dipoles of alpha-helices for nucleic acid binding. Characterization of full-length enzymes with defective HBDs indicates that this domain dramatically enhances both the specific activity and processivity of RNase H1. Similar activity enhancement by small substrate-binding domains linked to the catalytic domain likely occurs in other nucleic acid enzymes.
    The EMBO Journal 05/2008; 27(7):1172-81. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report here crystal structures of human RNase H1 complexed with an RNA/DNA substrate. Unlike B. halodurans RNase H1, human RNase H1 has a basic protrusion, which forms a DNA-binding channel and together with the conserved phosphate-binding pocket confers specificity for the B form and 2'-deoxy DNA. The RNA strand is recognized by four consecutive 2'-OH groups and cleaved by a two-metal ion mechanism. Although RNase H1 is overall positively charged, the substrate interface is neutral to acidic in character, which likely contributes to the catalytic specificity. Positions of the scissile phosphate and two catalytic metal ions are interdependent and highly coupled. Modeling of HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) with RNA/DNA in its RNase H active site suggests that the substrate cannot simultaneously occupy the polymerase active site and must undergo a conformational change to toggle between the two catalytic centers. The region that accommodates this conformational change offers a target to develop HIV-specific inhibitors.
    Molecular Cell 11/2007; 28(2):264-76. · 15.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNase H belongs to a nucleotidyl-transferase superfamily, which includes transposase, retroviral integrase, Holliday junction resolvase, and RISC nuclease Argonaute. We report the crystal structures of RNase H complexed with an RNA/DNA hybrid and a mechanism for substrate recognition and two-metal-ion-dependent catalysis. RNase H specifically recognizes the A form RNA strand and the B form DNA strand. Structure comparisons lead us to predict the catalytic residues of Argonaute and conclude that two-metal-ion catalysis is a general feature of the superfamily. In nucleases, the two metal ions are asymmetrically coordinated and have distinct roles in activating the nucleophile and stabilizing the transition state. In transposases, they are symmetrically coordinated and exchange roles to alternately activate a water and a 3'-OH for successive strand cleavage and transfer by a ping-pong mechanism.
    Cell 08/2005; 121(7):1005-16. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-throughput screening of a National Cancer Institute library of pure natural products identified the hydroxylated tropolone derivatives beta-thujaplicinol (2,7-dihydroxy-4-1(methylethyl)-2,4,6-cycloheptatrien-1-one) and manicol (1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-5-7-dihydroxy-9-methyl-2-(1-methylethenyl)-6H-benzocyclohepten-6-one) as potent and selective inhibitors of the ribonuclease H (RNase H) activity of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT). beta-Thujaplicinol inhibited HIV-1 RNase H in vitro with an IC50 of 0.2 microM, while the IC50 for Escherichia coli and human RNases H was 50 microM and 5.7 microM, respectively. In contrast, the related tropolone analog beta-thujaplicin (2-hydroxy-4-(methylethyl)-2,4,6-cycloheptatrien-1-one), which lacks the 7-OH group of the heptatriene ring, was inactive, while manicol, which possesses a 7-OH group, inhibited HIV-1 and E.coli RNases H with IC50 = 1.5 microM and 40 microM, respectively. Such a result highlights the importance of the 2,7-dihydroxy function of these tropolone analogs, possibly through a role in metal chelation at the RNase H active site. Inhibition of HIV-2 RT-associated RNase H indirectly indicates that these compounds do not occupy the nonnucleoside inhibitor-binding pocket in the vicinity of the DNA polymerase domain. Both beta-thujaplicinol and manicol failed to inhibit DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity of HIV-1 RT at a concentration of 50 microM, suggesting that they are specific for the C-terminal RNase H domain, while surface plasmon resonance studies indicated that the inhibition was not due to intercalation of the analog into the nucleic acid substrate. Finally, we have demonstrated synergy between beta-thujaplicinol and calanolide A, a nonnucleoside inhibitor of HIV-1 RT, raising the possibility that both enzymatic activities of HIV-1 RT can be simultaneously targeted.
    Nucleic Acids Research 02/2005; 33(4):1249-56. · 8.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
377.58 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
      Maryland, United States
    • National Eye Institute
      Maryland, United States
  • 1995–2008
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Molecular Biology
      • • Molecular Targets Laboratory
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1993–2008
    • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
      Maryland, United States
  • 2005
    • Institute of Human Genetics
      Amadavad, Gujarāt, India
  • 1997
    • Osaka University
      • Department of Beam Materials Science
      Ibaraki, Osaka-fu, Japan