Xenopus laevis zygote arrest 2 (zar2) encodes a zinc finger RNA-binding protein that binds to the translational control sequence in the maternal Wee1 mRNA and regulates translation

Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, 80217, USA.
Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.55). 06/2012; 369(2):177-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.06.012
Source: PubMed


Zygote arrest (Zar) proteins are crucial for early embryonic development, but their molecular mechanism of action is unknown. The Translational Control Sequence (TCS) in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of the maternal mRNA, Wee1, mediates translational repression in immature Xenopus oocytes and translational activation in mature oocytes, but the protein that binds to the TCS and mediates translational control is not known. Here we show that Xenopus laevis Zar2 (encoded by zar2) binds to the TCS in maternal Wee1 mRNA and represses translation in immature oocytes. Using yeast 3 hybrid assays and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, Zar2 was shown to bind specifically to the TCS in the Wee1 3'UTR. RNA binding required the presence of Zn(2+) and conserved cysteines in the C-terminal domain, suggesting that Zar2 contains a zinc finger. Consistent with regulating maternal mRNAs, Zar2 was present throughout oogenesis, and endogenous Zar2 co-immunoprecipitated endogenous Wee1 mRNA from immature oocytes, demonstrating the physiological significance of the protein-RNA interaction. Interestingly, Zar2 levels decreased during oocyte maturation. Dual luciferase reporter tethered assays showed that Zar2 repressed translation in immature oocytes. Translational repression was relieved during oocyte maturation and this coincided with degradation of Zar2 during maturation. This is the first report of a molecular function of zygote arrest proteins. These data show that Zar2 contains a zinc finger and is a trans-acting factor for the TCS in maternal mRNAs in immature Xenopus oocytes.

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Available from: Amanda Charlesworth, Jun 25, 2014
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    • "Besides CPEB, however, other RNA-binding proteins specific to each mRNA are required for the accurate timings of translation. For example, the strict temporal order of mos, cyclin B1 and wee1 mRNA translation, which is important to ensure the normal progression of oocyte maturation, is regulated by CPEB in cooperation with certain partners , Musashi for mos [5], Pumilio1 for cyclin B1 [6] and Zar2 for wee1 [7]. Fish oocytes are characterized by the micropyle, a sperm entry hole on the egg chorion at the animal pole (Supplementary Fig. 1A), while amphibian (Xenopus) oocytes lack it. "
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    ABSTRACT: In immature zebrafish oocytes, dormant cyclin B1 mRNAs localize to the animal polar cytoplasm as aggregates. After hormonal stimulation, cyclin B1 mRNAs are dispersed and translationally activated, which are necessary and sufficient for the induction of zebrafish oocyte maturation. Besides cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding protein (CPEB) and cis-acting elements in the 3' untranslated region (UTR), Pumilio1 and a cis-acting element in the coding region of cyclin B1 mRNA are important for the subcellular localization and timing of translational activation of the mRNA. However, mechanisms underlying the spatio-temporal control of cyclin B1 mRNA translation during oocyte maturation are not fully understood. We report that insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding protein 3 (IMP3), which was initially described as a protein bound to Vg1 mRNA localized to the vegetal pole of Xenopus oocytes, binds to the 3' UTR of cyclin B1 mRNA that localizes to the animal pole of zebrafish oocytes. IMP3 and cyclin B1 mRNA co-localize to the animal polar cytoplasm of immature oocytes, but in mature oocytes, IMP3 dissociates from the mRNA despite the fact that its protein content and phosphorylation state are unchanged during oocyte maturation. IMP3 interacts with Pumilio1 and CPEB in an mRNA-dependent manner in immature oocytes but not in mature oocytes. Overexpression of IMP3 and injection of anti-IMP3 antibody delayed the progression of oocyte maturation. On the basis of these results, we propose that IMP3 represses the translation of cyclin B1 mRNA in immature zebrafish oocytes and that its release from the mRNA triggers the translational activation.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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    • "Fish were not as easily categorized and just six amino acid differences could distinguish between Zar1 and Zar2: Y213, V230, Q231, F241, V276 and F301. Because the C-terminal domain is the RNA-binding domain [9], these conserved amino acid changes could be predicted to influence RNA-binding characteristics. There was also a block of homology in the N-terminal domain of Zar proteins. "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal mRNAs are translationally regulated during early development. Zar1 and its closely related homolog, Zar2, are both crucial in early development. Xenopus laevis Zygote arrest 2 (Zar2) binds to the Translational Control Sequence (TCS) in maternal mRNAs and regulates translation. The molecular mechanism of Zar1 has not been described. Here we report similarities and differences between Xenopus Zar1 and Zar2. Analysis of Zar sequences in vertebrates revealed two Zar family members with conserved, characteristic amino acid differences in the C-terminal domain. The presence of only two vertebrate Zar proteins was supported by analyzing Zar1 synteny. We propose that the criteria for naming Zar sequences is based on the characteristic amino acids and the chromosomal context. We also propose reclassification of some Zar sequences. We found that Zar1 is expressed throughout oogenesis and is stable during oocyte maturation. The N-terminal domain of Zar1 repressed translation of a reporter construct in immature oocytes. Both Zar1 and Zar2 bound to the TCS in the Wee1 and Mos 3' UTRs using a zinc finger in the C-terminal domain. However, Zar1 had much higher affinity for RNA than Zar2. To show the functional significance of the conserved amino acid substitutions, these residues in Zar2 were mutated to those found in Zar1. We show that these residues contributed to the different RNA binding characteristics of Zar1 compared to Zar2. Our study shows that Zar proteins have generally similar molecular functions in the translational regulation of maternal mRNAs, but they may have different roles in early development.
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