A novel member of the RNase D exoribonuclease family functions in mitochondrial guide RNA metabolism in Trypanosoma brucei

Sara L. Zimmer, Sarah M. McEvoy, Jun Li, Jun Qu, Laurie K. Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

RNA turnover and RNA editing are essential for regulation of mitochondrial gene expression in Trypanosoma brucei. RNA turnover is controlled in part by RNA 3′ adenylation and uridylation status, with trans-acting factors also impacting RNA homeostasis. However, little is known about the mitochondrial degradation machinery or its regulation in T. brucei. We have identified a mitochondrial exoribonuclease, TbRND, whose expression is highly up-regulated in the insect proliferative stage of the parasite. TbRND shares sequence similarity with RNase D family enzymes but differs from all reported members of this family in possessing a CCHC zinc finger domain. In vitro, TbRND exhibits 3′ to 5′ exoribonuclease activity, with specificity toward uridine homopolymers, including the 3′ oligo(U) tails of guide RNAs (gRNAs) that provide the sequence information for RNA editing. Several lines of evidence generated from RNA-imediated knockdown and overexpression cell lines indicate that TbRND functions in gRNA metabolism in vivo. First, TbRND depletion results in gRNA tails extended by 2-3 nucleotides on average. Second, overexpression of wild type but not catalytically inactive TbRND results in a substantial decrease in the total gRNA population and a consequent inhibition of RNA editing. The observed effects on the gRNA population are specific as rRNAs, which are also 3′-uridylated, are unaffected by TbRND depletion or overexpression. Finally, we show that gRNA binding proteins co-purify with TbRND. In summary, TbRND is a novel 3′ to 5′ exoribonuclease that appears to have evolved a function highly specific to the mitochondrion of trypanosomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10329-10340
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume286
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 25 2011

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