Publications by authors named "Léa Brakier-Gingras"

26 Publications

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Ribosomal protein RPL22/eL22 regulates the cell cycle by acting as an inhibitor of the CDK4-cyclin D complex.

Cell Cycle 2019 Mar - Apr;18(6-7):759-770. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

a Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine , Université de Montréal , Montréal , Québec , Canada.

Senescence is a tumor suppressor program characterized by a stable growth arrest while maintaining cell viability. Senescence-associated ribogenesis defects (SARD) have been shown to regulate senescence through the ability of the ribosomal protein S14 (RPS14 or uS11) to bind and inhibit the cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4). Here we report another ribosomal protein that binds and inhibits CDK4 in senescent cells: L22 (RPL22 or eL22). Enforcing the expression of RPL22/eL22 is sufficient to induce an RB and p53-dependent cellular senescent phenotype in human fibroblasts. Mechanistically, RPL22/eL22 can interact with and inhibit CDK4-Cyclin D1 to decrease RB phosphorylation both in vitro and in cells. Briefly, we show that ribosome-free RPL22/eL22 causes a cell cycle arrest which could be relevant during situations of nucleolar stress such as cellular senescence or the response to cancer chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15384101.2019.1593708DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464582PMC
April 2020

Ribosomal Proteins Control Tumor Suppressor Pathways in Response to Nucleolar Stress.

Bioessays 2019 03 1;41(3):e1800183. Epub 2019 Feb 1.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada.

Ribosome biogenesis includes the making and processing of ribosomal RNAs, the biosynthesis of ribosomal proteins from their mRNAs in the cytosol and their transport to the nucleolus to assemble pre-ribosomal particles. Several stresses including cellular senescence reduce nucleolar rRNA synthesis and maturation increasing the availability of ribosome-free ribosomal proteins. Several ribosomal proteins can activate the p53 tumor suppressor pathway but cells without p53 can still arrest their proliferation in response to an imbalance between ribosomal proteins and mature rRNA production. Recent results on senescence-associated ribogenesis defects (SARD) show that the ribosomal protein S14 (RPS14 or uS11) can act as a CDK4/6 inhibitor linking ribosome biogenesis defects to the main engine of cell cycle progression. This work offers new insights into the regulation of the cell cycle and suggests novel avenues to design anticancer drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bies.201800183DOI Listing
March 2019

Senescence-associated ribosome biogenesis defects contributes to cell cycle arrest through the Rb pathway.

Nat Cell Biol 2018 07 25;20(7):789-799. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Cellular senescence is a tumour suppressor programme characterized by a stable cell cycle arrest. Here we report that cellular senescence triggered by a variety of stimuli leads to diminished ribosome biogenesis and the accumulation of both rRNA precursors and ribosomal proteins. These defects were associated with reduced expression of several ribosome biogenesis factors, the knockdown of which was also sufficient to induce senescence. Genetic analysis revealed that Rb but not p53 was required for the senescence response to altered ribosome biogenesis. Mechanistically, the ribosomal protein S14 (RPS14 or uS11) accumulates in the soluble non-ribosomal fraction of senescent cells, where it binds and inhibits CDK4 (cyclin-dependent kinase 4). Overexpression of RPS14 is sufficient to inhibit Rb phosphorylation, inducing cell cycle arrest and senescence. Here we describe a mechanism for maintaining the senescent cell cycle arrest that may be relevant for cancer therapy, as well as biomarkers to identify senescent cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41556-018-0127-yDOI Listing
July 2018

F protein increases CD4+CD25+ T cell population in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Pathog Dis 2015 Jun 9;73(4). Epub 2015 Apr 9.

Digestive Disease Research Center, Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 14117 Tehran, Iran.

HCV is a global health problem with an estimated 230 million chronically infected people worldwide. It has been reported that a 17-kd protein translated from core-encoding genomic region can contribute to immune-mediated mechanisms associated with the development of the chronic disease. Also, Treg cells can be contributed to an inadequate response against the viruses, leading to chronic infection. Here we evaluated the ability of protein F to modulate the frequency of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+T and IL-10+T cells in patients with chronic HCV infection. F gene was amplified and cloned in the expression vector. The protein was purified and used for stimulation of PBMCs in the HCV chronic patients and the control groups. The frequency of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T cell-like populations and IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ T cells was assessed in the HCV-infected patients and in the healthy controls by flow cytometry, which showed an increase of both CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T cell-like population and IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ T cells in the HCV-infected patients positive for anti-F antibody. Our results suggest the potential involvement of F and core antigens in increasing the frequency of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T cell-like population and IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ T cells which may be associated with HCV-persistent infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femspd/ftv022DOI Listing
June 2015

Targeting frameshifting in the human immunodeficiency virus.

Expert Opin Ther Targets 2012 Mar;16(3):249-58

Département de biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

Introduction: HIV-1 uses a programmed –1 ribosomal frameshift to generate Gag-Pol, the precursor of its enzymes, when its full-length mRNA is translated by the ribosomes of the infected cells. This change in the reading frame occurs at a so-called slippery sequence that is followed by a specific secondary structure, the frameshift stimulatory signal. This signal controls the frameshift efficiency. The synthesis of HIV-1 enzymes is critical for virus replication and therefore, the –1 ribosomal frameshift could be the target of novel antiviral drugs.

Areas Covered: Various approaches were used to select drugs interfering with the –1 frameshift of HIV-1. These include the selection and modification of chemical compounds that specifically bind to the frameshift stimulatory signal, the use of antisense oligonucleotides targeting this signal and the selection of compounds that modulate HIV-1 frameshift, by using bicistronic reporters where the expression of the second cistron depends upon HIV-1 frameshift.

Expert Opinion: The most promising approach is the selection and modification of compounds specifically targeting the HIV-1 frameshift stimulatory signal. The use of antisense oligonucleotides binding to the frameshift stimulatory signal is still questionable. The use of bicistronic reporters preferentially selects compounds that modulate the frameshift by targeting the ribosomes, which is less promising.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1517/14728222.2012.665879DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328590PMC
March 2012

The 5' UTR of HIV-1 full-length mRNA and the Tat viral protein modulate the programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift that generates HIV-1 enzymes.

RNA 2012 Mar 27;18(3):519-29. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

Département de biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec H3T1J4, Canada.

Translation of the full-length messenger RNA (mRNA) of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) generates the precursor of the viral enzymes via a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift. Here, using dual-luciferase reporters, we investigated whether the highly structured 5' untranslated region (UTR) of this mRNA, which interferes with translation initiation, can modulate HIV-1 frameshift efficiency. We showed that, when the 5' UTR of HIV-1 mRNA occupies the 5' end of the reporter mRNA, HIV-1 frameshift efficiency is increased about fourfold in Jurkat T-cells, compared with a control dual-luciferase reporter with a short unstructured 5' UTR. This increase was related to an interference with cap-dependent translation initiation by the TAR-Poly(A) region at the 5' end of the messenger. HIV-1 mRNA 5' UTR also contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES), but we showed that, when the cap-dependent initiation mode is available, the IRES is not used or is weakly used. However, when the ribosomes have to use the IRES to translate the dual-luciferase reporter, the frameshift efficiency is comparable to that of the control dual-luciferase reporter. The decrease in cap-dependent initiation and the accompanying increase in frameshift efficiency caused by the 5' UTR of HIV-1 mRNA is antagonized, in a dose-dependent way, by the Tat viral protein. Tat also stimulates the IRES-dependent initiation and decreases the corresponding frameshift efficiency. A model is presented that accounts for the variations in frameshift efficiency depending on the 5' UTR and the presence of Tat, and it is proposed that a range of frameshift efficiencies is compatible with the virus replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.030346.111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3285939PMC
March 2012

Mutational patterns in the frameshift-regulating site of HIV-1 selected by protease inhibitors.

Med Microbiol Immunol 2012 May 27;201(2):213-8. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

Institute of Virology, University of Cologne, Fürst-Pückler Str. 56, 50935, Cologne, Germany.

Sustained suppression of viral replication in HIV-1 infected patients is especially hampered by the emergence of HIV-1 drug resistance. The mechanisms of drug resistance mainly involve mutations directly altering the interaction of viral enzymes and inhibitors. However, protease inhibitors do not only select for mutations in the protease but also for mutations in the precursor Gag and Pol proteins. In this study, we analysed the frameshift-regulating site of HIV-1 subtype B isolates, which also encodes for Gag and Pol proteins, classified as either treatment-naïve (TN) or protease inhibitor resistant (PI-R). HIV-1 Gag cleavage site mutations (G435E, K436N, I437V, L449F/V) especially correlated with protease inhibitor resistance mutations, but also Pol cleavage site mutations (D05G, D05S) could be assigned to specific protease resistance profiles. Additionally, two Gag non-cleavage site mutations (S440F, H441P) were observed more often in HIV-1 isolates carrying protease resistance mutations. However, in dual luciferase assays, the frameshift efficiencies of specific clones did not reveal any effect from these mutations. Nevertheless, two patterns of mutations modestly increased the frameshift rates in vitro, but were not specifically accumulating in PI-resistant HIV-1 isolates. In summary, HIV-1 Gag cleavage site mutations were dominantly selected in PI-resistant HIV-1 isolates but also Pol cleavage site mutations influenced resistance profiles in the protease. Additionally, Gag non-cleavage site mutations accumulated in PI-resistant HIV-1 isolates, but were not related to an increased frameshift efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00430-011-0224-zDOI Listing
May 2012

The activity of the HIV-1 IRES is stimulated by oxidative stress and controlled by a negative regulatory element.

Nucleic Acids Res 2011 Feb 8;39(3):902-12. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Département de biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec H3T 1J4, Canada.

Initiation of translation of the full-length messenger RNA of HIV-1, which generates the viral structural proteins and enzymes, is cap-dependent but can also use an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) located in the 5' untranslated region. Our aim was to define, through a mutational analysis, regions of HIV-1 IRES that are important for its activity. A dual-luciferase reporter construct where the Renilla luciferase (Rluc) translation is cap-dependent while the firefly luciferase (Fluc) translation depends on HIV-1 IRES was used. The Fluc/Rluc ratio was measured in lysates of Jurkat T cells transfected with the dual-luciferase plasmid bearing either the wild-type or a mutated IRES. Deletions or mutations in three regions decreased the IRES activity but deletion or mutations of a stem-loop preceding the primer binding site increased the IRES activity. The wild-type IRES activity, but not that of an IRES with a mutated stem-loop, was increased when cells were treated with agents that induce oxidative stress. Such stress is known to be caused by HIV-1 infection and we propose that this stem-loop is involved in a switch that stimulates the IRES activity in cells infected with HIV-1, supporting the suggestion that the IRES activity is up-regulated in the course of HIV-1 replication cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkq885DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035469PMC
February 2011

Evolution of protease inhibitor resistance in the gag and pol genes of HIV subtype G isolates.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2010 Jul 29;65(7):1472-6. Epub 2010 Apr 29.

Institute of Virology, University of Cologne, Fürst-Pückler Str. 56, 50935 Cologne, Germany.

Objectives: To analyse HIV Gag cleavage site (CS) and non-CS mutations in HIV non-B isolates from patients failing antiretroviral therapy.

Patients And Methods: Twenty-one HIV isolates were obtained from patients infected with HIV subtype G during an outbreak in Russia 20 years ago. Most patients were failing antiretroviral therapy when genotyping was performed.

Results: HIV Gag CS mutations accumulated in protease inhibitor (PI)-resistant HIV isolates and were correlated with the presence of three or more PI resistance mutations. Only 1 of 11 HIV isolates carrying major protease mutations did not harbour treatment-associated CS mutations. Natural polymorphism 453T, often found in HIV non-B subtypes, seems to favour the selection of CS mutation 453I rather than treatment-associated CS mutation 453L. Resistance-associated non-CS mutations (123E and 200I) were also observed in PI-resistant clinical isolates. Non-CS mutations in the frameshift-regulating site, which controls the synthesis of Gag-Pol, did not affect frameshift efficiency in dual luciferase assays. Of note, one of four HIV isolates from patients failing PI therapies without protease mutations harboured Gag mutations associated with PI resistance (123E and 436R) and reverse transcriptase inhibitor mutations conferring resistance to the backbone drug.

Conclusions: HIV Gag CS mutations commonly occurred in HIV isolates from patients failing PI therapies and natural polymorphisms at the same position influence their emergence. Non-CS mutations previously associated with PI resistance were also observed in clinical isolates. Gag mutations might indicate the evolution of PI resistance even in the absence of protease mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkq129DOI Listing
July 2010

Selection of peptides interfering with a ribosomal frameshift in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

RNA 2008 May 26;14(5):981-91. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal H3T 1J4, Québec, Canada.

The human immunodeficiency virus of type 1 (HIV-1) uses a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift to produce the precursor of its enzymes, and changes in frameshift efficiency reduce replicative fitness of the virus. We used a fluorescent two-reporter system to screen for peptides that reduce HIV-1 frameshift in bacteria, knowing that the frameshift can be reproduced in Escherichia coli. Expression of one reporter, the green fluorescent protein (GFP), requires the HIV-1 frameshift, whereas the second reporter, the red fluorescent protein (RFP), is used to assess normal translation. A peptide library biased for RNA binding was inserted into the sequence of the protein thioredoxin and expressed in reporter-containing bacteria, which were then screened by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). We identified peptide sequences that reduce frameshift efficiency by over 50% without altering normal translation. The identified sequences are also active against different frameshift stimulatory signals, suggesting that they bind a target important for frameshifting in general, probably the ribosome. Successful transfer of active sequences to a different scaffold in a eukaryotic test system demonstrates that the anti-frameshift activity of the peptides is neither due to scaffold-dependent conformation nor effects of the scaffold protein itself on frameshifting. The method we describe identifies peptides that will provide useful tools to further study the mechanism of frameshift and may permit the development of lead compounds of therapeutic interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.887008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2327360PMC
May 2008

The presence of the TAR RNA structure alters the programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift efficiency of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) by modifying the rate of translation initiation.

Nucleic Acids Res 2008 Jan 5;36(1):30-40. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

HIV-1 uses a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift to synthesize the precursor of its enzymes, Gag-Pol. The frameshift efficiency that is critical for the virus replication, is controlled by an interaction between the ribosome and a specific structure on the viral mRNA, the frameshift stimulatory signal. The rate of cap-dependent translation initiation is known to be altered by the TAR RNA structure, present at the 5' and 3' end of all HIV-1 mRNAs. Depending upon its concentration, TAR activates or inhibits the double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR). We investigated here whether changes in translation initiation caused by TAR affect HIV-1 frameshift efficiency. CD4+ T cells and 293T cells were transfected with a dual-luciferase construct where the firefly luciferase expression depends upon the HIV-1 frameshift. Translation initiation was altered by adding TAR in cis or trans of the reporter mRNA. We show that HIV-1 frameshift efficiency correlates negatively with changes in the rate of translation initiation caused by TAR and mediated by PKR. A model is presented where changes in the rate of initiation affect the probability of frameshifting by altering the distance between elongating ribosomes on the mRNA, which influences the frequency of encounter between these ribosomes and the frameshift stimulatory signal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkm906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248755PMC
January 2008

The three transfer RNAs occupying the A, P and E sites on the ribosome are involved in viral programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift.

Nucleic Acids Res 2007 17;35(16):5581-92. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3T 1J4.

The -1 programmed ribosomal frameshifts (PRF), which are used by many viruses, occur at a heptanucleotide slippery sequence and are currently thought to involve the tRNAs interacting with the ribosomal P- and A-site codons. We investigated here whether the tRNA occupying the ribosomal E site that precedes a slippery site influences -1 PRF. Using the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) frameshift region, we found that mutating the E-site codon altered the -1 PRF efficiency. When the HIV-1 slippery sequence was replaced with other viral slippery sequences, mutating the E-site codon also altered the -1 PRF efficiency. Because HIV-1 -1 PRF can be recapitulated in bacteria, we used a bacterial ribosome system to select, by random mutagenesis, 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) mutations that modify the expression of a reporter requiring HIV-1 -1 PRF. Three mutants were isolated, which are located in helices 21 and 22 of 16S rRNA, a region involved in translocation and E-site tRNA binding. We propose a novel model where -1 PRF is triggered by an incomplete translocation and depends not only on the tRNAs interacting with the P- and A-site codons, but also on the tRNA occupying the E site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkm578DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2018615PMC
September 2007

A novel substrate-based HIV-1 protease inhibitor drug resistance mechanism.

PLoS Med 2007 Jan;4(1):e36

Eijkman Winkler Center, Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Background: HIV protease inhibitor (PI) therapy results in the rapid selection of drug resistant viral variants harbouring one or two substitutions in the viral protease. To combat PI resistance development, two approaches have been developed. The first is to increase the level of PI in the plasma of the patient, and the second is to develop novel PI with high potency against the known PI-resistant HIV protease variants. Both approaches share the requirement for a considerable increase in the number of protease mutations to lead to clinical resistance, thereby increasing the genetic barrier. We investigated whether HIV could yet again find a way to become less susceptible to these novel inhibitors.

Methods And Findings: We have performed in vitro selection experiments using a novel PI with an increased genetic barrier (RO033-4649) and demonstrated selection of three viruses 4- to 8-fold resistant to all PI compared to wild type. These PI-resistant viruses did not have a single substitution in the viral protease. Full genomic sequencing revealed the presence of NC/p1 cleavage site substitutions in the viral Gag polyprotein (K436E and/or I437T/V) in all three resistant viruses. These changes, when introduced in a reference strain, conferred PI resistance. The mechanism leading to PI resistance is enhancement of the processing efficiency of the altered substrate by wild-type protease. Analysis of genotypic and phenotypic resistance profiles of 28,000 clinical isolates demonstrated the presence of these NC/p1 cleavage site mutations in some clinical samples (codon 431 substitutions in 13%, codon 436 substitutions in 8%, and codon 437 substitutions in 10%). Moreover, these cleavage site substitutions were highly significantly associated with reduced susceptibility to PI in clinical isolates lacking primary protease mutations. Furthermore, we used data from a clinical trial (NARVAL, ANRS 088) to demonstrate that these NC/p1 cleavage site changes are associated with virological failure during PI therapy.

Conclusions: HIV can use an alternative mechanism to become resistant to PI by changing the substrate instead of the protease. Further studies are required to determine to what extent cleavage site mutations may explain virological failure during PI therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1769415PMC
January 2007

[The structure of the frameshift stimulatory signal in HIV-1 RNA: a potential target for the treatment of patients infected with HIV].

Med Sci (Paris) 2006 Nov;22(11):969-72

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, 2900, Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal (Québec) H3T 1J4, Canada.

Ribosomal frameshift is used by HIV-1 to synthesize the precursor of its enzymes. The frameshift stimulator is a peculiar structure in the viral messenger RNA coding for this precursor, which increases the probability that this frameshift occurs. It was proposed to be either a triplex structure or an irregular stem-loop. Recently, two NMR groups independently showed that the frameshift stimulatory signal of HIV-1 is an extended stem-loop, with an internal three-purine bulge separating two helical regions. However, it remains unclear how such a structure promotes frameshifting. It is proposed that frameshifting results from a specific interaction between the stimulatory signal and either a hypothetical protein factor or the ribosome. The characterization of the structure of the frameshift stimulatory signal paves the way to the rational design of novel antiviral drugs, which, by binding to this signal, could interfere with frameshifting and viral replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/medsci/20062211969DOI Listing
November 2006

Decreasing the frameshift efficiency translates into an equivalent reduction of the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

Virology 2006 Feb 25;345(1):127-36. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, 2900 Boul. Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T1J4.

The Gag-Pol polyprotein of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the precursor of the virus enzymatic activities and is produced via a programmed -1 translational frameshift. In this study, we altered the frameshift efficiency by introducing mutations within the slippery sequence and the frameshift stimulatory signal, the two elements that control the frameshift. These mutations decreased the frameshift efficiency to different degrees, ranging from approximately 0.3% to 70% of the wild-type efficiency. These values were mirrored by a reduced incorporation of Gag-Pol into virus-like particles, as assessed by a decrease in the reverse transcriptase activity associated to these particles. Analysis of Gag processing in infectious mutant virions revealed processing defects to various extents, with no clear correlation with frameshift decrease. Nevertheless, the observed frameshift reductions translated into equivalently reduced viral infectivity and replication kinetics. Our results show that even moderate variations in frameshift efficiency, as obtained with mutations in the frameshift stimulatory signal, reduce viral replication. Therapeutic targeting of this structure may therefore result in the attenuation of virus replication and in clinical benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2005.08.048DOI Listing
February 2006

A functional relationship between helix 1 and the 900 tetraloop of 16S ribosomal RNA within the bacterial ribosome.

RNA 2005 Jun 4;11(6):906-13. Epub 2005 May 4.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.

The conserved 900 tetraloop that caps helix 27 of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) interacts with helix 24 of 16S rRNA and also with helix 67 of 23S rRNA, forming the intersubunit bridge B2c, proximal to the decoding center. In previous studies, we investigated how the interaction between the 900 tetraloop and helix 24 participates in subunit association and translational fidelity. In the present study, we investigated whether the 900 tetraloop is involved in other undetected interactions with different regions of the Escherichia coli 16S rRNA. Using a genetic complementation approach, we selected mutations in 16S rRNA that compensate for a 900 tetraloop mutation, A900G, which severely impairs subunit association and translational fidelity. Mutations were randomly introduced in 16S rRNA, using either a mutagenic XL1-Red E. coli strain or an error-prone PCR strategy. Gain-offunction mutations were selected in vivo with a specialized ribosome system. Two mutations, the deletion of U12 and the U12C substitution, were thus independently selected in helix 1 of 16S rRNA. This helix is located in the vicinity of helix 27, but does not directly contact the 900 tetraloop in the crystal structures of the ribosome. Both mutations correct the subunit association and translational fidelity defects caused by the A900G mutation, revealing an unanticipated functional interaction between these two regions of 16S rRNA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.2160405DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1370775PMC
June 2005

The virion-associated Gag-Pol is decreased in chimeric Moloney murine leukemia viruses in which the readthrough region is replaced by the frameshift region of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

Virology 2005 Apr;334(2):342-52

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, 2900, Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit, D-353, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T 1J4.

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires a programmed -1 translational frameshift event to synthesize the precursor of its enzymes, Gag-Pol, when ribosomes from the infected cells translate the full-length viral messenger RNA. Translation of the same RNA according to conventional translational rules produces Gag, the precursor of the structural proteins of the virus. The efficiency of the frameshift controls the ratio of Gag-Pol to Gag, which is critical for viral infectivity. The Moloney murine leukemia virus (MoMuLV) uses a different strategy, the programmed readthrough of a stop codon, to synthesize Gag-Pol. In this study, we investigated whether different forms of the HIV-1 frameshift region can functionally replace the readthrough signal in MoMuLV. Chimeric proviral DNAs were obtained by inserting into the MoMuLV genome the HIV-1 frameshift region encompassing the slippery sequence where the frameshift occurs, followed by the frameshift stimulatory signal. The inserted signal was either a simple stem-loop, previously considered as the stimulatory signal, or a longer bulged helix, now shown to be the complete stimulatory signal, or a mutated version of the complete signal with a three-nucleotide deletion. Although the three chimeric viruses can propagate essentially as the wild-type virus in NIH 3T3 cells, single-round infectivity assays revealed that the infectivity of the chimeric virions is about three to fivefold lower than that of the wild-type virions, depending upon the nature of the frameshift signal. It was also observed that the Gag-Pol to Gag ratio was decreased about two to threefold in chimeric virions. Comparison of the readthrough efficiency of MoMuLV to the HIV-1 frameshift efficiency, by monitoring the expression of a luciferase reporter in cultured cells, revealed that the frameshift efficiencies were only 30-60% of the readthrough efficiency. Altogether, these observations indicate that replacement of the readthrough region of MoMuLV with the frameshift region of HIV-1 results in virions that are replication competent, although less infectious than wild-type MoMuLV. This type of chimera could provide an interesting tool for in vivo studies of novel drugs targeted against the HIV-1 frameshift event.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2005.01.044DOI Listing
April 2005

Translation of the F protein of hepatitis C virus is initiated at a non-AUG codon in a +1 reading frame relative to the polyprotein.

Nucleic Acids Res 2005 8;33(5):1474-86. Epub 2005 Mar 8.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal 2900 Blvd Edouard-Monpetit, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T 1J4.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) followed by a large open reading frame coding for a polyprotein that is cleaved into 10 proteins. An additional HCV protein, the F protein, was recently suggested to result from a +1 frameshift by a minority of ribosomes that initiated translation at the HCV AUG initiator codon of the polyprotein. In the present study, we reassessed the mechanism accounting for the synthesis of the F protein by measuring the expression in cultured cells of a luciferase reporter gene with an insertion encompassing the IRES plus the beginning of the HCV-coding region preceding the luciferase-coding sequence. The insertion was such that luciferase expression was either in the +1 reading frame relative to the HCV AUG initiator codon, mimicking the expression of the F protein, or in-frame with this AUG, mimicking the expression of the polyprotein. Introduction of a stop codon at various positions in-frame with the AUG initiator codon and substitution of this AUG with UAC inhibited luciferase expression in the 0 reading frame but not in the +1 reading frame, ruling out that the synthesis of the F protein results from a +1 frameshift. Introduction of a stop codon at various positions in the +1 reading frame identified the codon overlapping codon 26 of the polyprotein in the +1 reading frame as the translation start site for the F protein. This codon 26(+1) is either GUG or GCG in the viral variants. Expression of the F protein strongly increased when codon 26(+1) was replaced with AUG, or when its context was mutated into an optimal Kozak context, but was severely decreased in the presence of low concentrations of edeine. These observations are consistent with a Met-tRNA(i)-dependent initiation of translation at a non-AUG codon for the synthesis of the F protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gki292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1062877PMC
March 2005

A reassessment of the response of the bacterial ribosome to the frameshift stimulatory signal of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

RNA 2004 Aug 9;10(8):1225-35. Epub 2004 Jul 9.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, 2900, boul. Edouard-Montpetit, D-353, Québec, H3T 1J4, Canada.

HIV-1 uses a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift to produce the precursor of its enzymes. This frameshift occurs at a specific slippery sequence followed by a stimulatory signal, which was recently shown to be a two-stem helix, for which a three-purine bulge separates the upper and lower stems. In the present study, we investigated the response of the bacterial ribosome to this signal, using a translation system specialized for the expression of a firefly luciferase reporter. The HIV-1 frameshift region was inserted at the beginning of the coding sequence of the luciferase gene, such that its expression requires a -1 frameshift. Mutations that disrupt the upper or the lower stem of the frameshift stimulatory signal or replace the purine bulge with pyrimidines decreased the frameshift efficiency, whereas compensatory mutations that re-form both stems restored the frame-shift efficiency to near wild-type level. These mutations had the same effect in a eukaryotic translation system, which shows that the bacterial ribosome responds like the eukaryote ribosome to the HIV-1 frameshift stimulatory signal. Also, we observed, in contrast to a previous report, that a stop codon immediately 3' to the slippery sequence does not decrease the frameshift efficiency, ruling out a proposal that the frameshift involves the deacylated-tRNA and the peptidyl-tRNA in the E and P sites of the ribosome, rather than the peptidyl-tRNA and the aminoacyl-tRNA in the P and A sites, as commonly assumed. Finally, mutations in 16S ribosomal RNA that facilitate the accommodation of the incoming aminoacyl-tRNA in the A site decreased the frameshift efficiency, which supports a previous suggestion that the frameshift occurs when the aminoacyl-tRNA occupies the A/T entry site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.7670704DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1370612PMC
August 2004

Study of the functional interaction of the 900 Tetraloop of 16S ribosomal RNA with helix 24 within the bacterial ribosome.

J Mol Biol 2004 May;338(4):683-93

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Qué., Canada H3T 1J4.

The 900 tetraloop that caps helix 27 of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is amongst the most conserved regions of rRNA. This tetraloop forms a GNRA motif that docks into the minor groove of three base-pairs at the bottom of helix 24 of 16S rRNA in the 30S subunit. Both the tetraloop and its receptor in helix 24 contact the 23S rRNA, forming the intersubunit bridge B2c. Here, we investigated the interaction between the 900 tetraloop and its receptor by genetic complementation. We used a specialized ribosome system in combination with an in vivo instant evolution approach to select mutations in helix 24 compensating for a mutation in the 900 tetraloop (A900G) that severely decreases ribosomal activity, impairing subunit association and translational fidelity. We selected two mutants where the G769-C810 base-pair of helix 24 was substituted with either U-A or C x A. When these mutations in helix 24 were investigated in the context of a wild-type 900 tetraloop, the C x A but not the U-A mutation severely impaired ribosome activity, interfering with subunit association and decreasing translational fidelity. In the presence of the A900G mutation, both mutations in helix 24 increased the ribosome activity to the same extent. Subunit association and translational fidelity were increased to the same level. Computer modeling was used to analyze the effect of the mutations in helix 24 on the interaction between the tetraloop and its receptor. This study demonstrates the functional importance of the interaction between the 900 tetraloop and helix 24.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2004.03.024DOI Listing
May 2004

Efficiency of a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift in the different subtypes of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 group M.

RNA 2003 Oct;9(10):1246-53

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3T 1J4.

The synthesis of the Gag-Pol polyprotein, the precursor of the enzymes of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), requires a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift. This frameshift has been investigated so far only for subtype B of HIV-1 group M. In this subtype, the frameshift stimulatory signal was found to be a two-stem helix, in which a three-purine bulge interrupts the two stems. In this study, using a luciferase reporter system, we compare, for the first time, the frameshift efficiency of all the subtypes of group M. Mutants of subtype B, including a natural variant were also investigated. Our results with mutants of subtype B confirm that the bulge and the lower stem of the frameshift stimulatory signal contribute to the frameshift in addition to the upper stem-loop considered previously as the sole participant. Our results also show that the frameshift stimulatory signal of all of the other subtypes of group M can be folded into the same structure as in subtype B, despite sequence variations. Moreover, the frameshift efficiency of these subtypes, when assessed in cultured cells, falls within a narrow window (the maximal deviation from the mean value calculated from the experimental values of all the subtypes being approximately 35%), although the predicted thermodynamic stability of the frameshift stimulatory signal differs between the subtypes (from -17.2 kcal/mole to -26.2 kcal/mole). The fact that the frameshift efficiencies fall within a narrow range for all of the subtypes of HIV-1 group M stresses the potential of the frameshift event as an antiviral target.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1370488PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.5113603DOI Listing
October 2003

A functional interaction between ribosomal proteins S7 and S11 within the bacterial ribosome.

J Biol Chem 2003 Nov 22;278(45):44913-20. Epub 2003 Aug 22.

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada.

In this study, we used site-directed mutagenesis to disrupt an interaction that had been detected between ribosomal proteins S7 and S11 in the crystal structure of the bacterial 30 S subunit. This interaction, which is located in the E site, connects the head of the 30 S subunit to the platform and is involved in the formation of the exit channel through which passes the 30 S-bound messenger RNA. Neither mutations in S7 nor mutations in S11 prevented the incorporation of the proteins into the 30 S subunits but they perturbed the function of the ribosome. In vivo assays showed that ribosomes with either mutated S7 or S11 were altered in the control of translational fidelity, having an increased capacity for frameshifting, readthrough of a nonsense codon and codon misreading. Toeprinting and filter-binding assays showed that 30 S subunits with either mutated S7 or S11 have an enhanced capacity to bind mRNA. The effects of the S7 and S11 mutations can be related to an increased flexibility of the head of the 30 S, to an opening of the mRNA exit channel and to a perturbation of the proposed allosteric coupling between the A and E sites. Altogether, our results demonstrate that S7 and S11 interact in a functional manner and support the notion that protein-protein interactions contribute to the dynamics of the ribosome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M306534200DOI Listing
November 2003

The frameshift stimulatory signal of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 group O is a pseudoknot.

J Mol Biol 2003 Aug;331(3):571-83

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, 2900 Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal, Qué., Canada H3T 1J4.

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift to produce Gag-Pol, the precursor of its enzymatic activities. This frameshift occurs at a slippery sequence on the viral messenger RNA and is stimulated by a specific structure, downstream of the shift site. While in group M, the most abundant HIV-1 group, the frameshift stimulatory signal is an extended bulged stem-loop, we show here, using a combination of mutagenesis and probing studies, that it is a pseudoknot in group O. The mutagenesis and probing studies coupled to an in silico analysis show that group O pseudoknot is a hairpin-type pseudoknot with two coaxially stacked stems of eight base-pairs (stem 1 and stem 2), connected by single-stranded loops of 2nt (loop 1) and 20nt (loop 2). Mutations impairing formation of stem 1 or stem 2 of the pseudoknot reduce frameshift efficiency, whereas compensatory changes that allow re-formation of these stems restore the frameshift efficiency to near wild-type level. The difference between the frameshift stimulatory signal of group O and group M supports the hypothesis that these groups originate from a different monkey to human transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0022-2836(03)00784-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7127721PMC
August 2003

Replacement of murine leukemia virus readthrough mechanism by human immunodeficiency virus frameshift allows synthesis of viral proteins and virus replication.

J Virol 2003 Mar;77(5):3345-50

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7.

Retroviruses use unusual recoding strategies to synthesize the Gag-Pol polyprotein precursor of viral enzymes. In human immunodeficiency virus, ribosomes translating full-length viral RNA can shift back by 1 nucleotide at a specific site defined by the presence of both a slippery sequence and a downstream stimulatory element made of an extensive secondary structure. This so-called frameshift mechanism could become a target for the development of novel antiviral strategies. A different recoding strategy is used by other retroviruses, such as murine leukemia viruses, to synthesize the Gag-Pol precursor; in this case, a stop codon is suppressed in a readthrough process, again due to the presence of a specific structure adopted by the mRNA. Development of antiframeshift agents will greatly benefit from the availability of a simple animal and virus model. For this purpose, the murine leukemia virus readthrough region was rendered inactive by mutagenesis and the frameshift region of human immunodeficiency virus was inserted to generate a chimeric provirus. This substitution of readthrough by frameshift allows the synthesis of viral proteins, and the chimeric provirus sequence was found to generate infectious viruses. This system could be a most interesting alternative to study ribosomal frameshift in the context of a virus amenable to the use of a simple animal model.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC149774PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jvi.77.5.3345-3350.2003DOI Listing
March 2003

Characterization of the frameshift stimulatory signal controlling a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshift in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

Nucleic Acids Res 2002 Dec;30(23):5094-102

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, 2900 Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal, Québec H3T 1J4, Canada.

Synthesis of the Gag-Pol protein of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires a programmed -1 ribosomal frameshifting when ribosomes translate the unspliced viral messenger RNA. This frameshift occurs at a slippery sequence followed by an RNA structure motif that stimulates frameshifting. This motif is commonly assumed to be a simple stem-loop for HIV-1. In this study, we show that the frameshift stimulatory signal is more complex than believed and consists of a two-stem helix. The upper stem-loop corresponds to the classic stem-loop, and the lower stem is formed by pairing the spacer region following the slippery sequence and preceding this classic stem-loop with a segment downstream of this stem-loop. A three-purine bulge interrupts the two stems. This structure was suggested by enzymatic probing with nuclease V1 of an RNA fragment corresponding to the gag/pol frameshift region of HIV-1. The involvement of the novel lower stem in frameshifting was supported by site-directed mutagenesis. A fragment encompassing the gag/pol frameshift region of HIV-1 was inserted in the beginning of the coding sequence of a reporter gene coding for the firefly luciferase, such that expression of luciferase requires a -1 frameshift. When the reporter was expressed in COS cells, mutations that disrupt the capacity to form the lower stem reduced frameshifting, whereas compensatory changes that allow re-formation of this stem restored the frameshift efficiency near wild-type level. The two-stem structure that we propose for the frameshift stimulatory signal of HIV-1 differs from the RNA triple helix structure recently proposed.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC137970PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkf657DOI Listing
December 2002

Functional studies of the 900 tetraloop capping helix 27 of 16S ribosomal RNA.

J Mol Biol 2002 Jul;320(5):979-89

Département de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

The 900 tetraloop (positions 898-901) of Escherichia coli 16S rRNA caps helix 27, which is involved in a conformational switch crucial for the decoding function of the ribosome. This tetraloop forms a GNRA motif involved in intramolecular RNA-RNA interactions with its receptor in helix 24 of 16S rRNA. It is involved also in an intersubunit bridge, via an interaction with helix 67 in domain IV of 23S rRNA. Using a specialized ribosome system and an instant-evolution procedure, the four nucleotides of this loop were randomized and 15 functional mutants were selected in vivo. Positions 899 and 900, responsible for most of the tetraloop/receptor interactions, were found to be the most critical for ribosome activity. Functional studies showed that mutations in the 900 tetraloop impair subunit association and decrease translational fidelity. Computer modeling of the mutations allows correlation of the effect of mutations with perturbations of the tetraloop/receptor interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0022-2836(02)00550-8DOI Listing
July 2002
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