Native Tertiary Structure and Nucleoside Modifications Suppress tRNA's Intrinsic Ability to Activate the Innate Immune Sensor PKR

Subba Rao Nallagatla, Christie N. Jones, Saikat Kumar B. Ghosh, Suresh D. Sharma, Craig Eugene Cameron, Linda L. Spremulli, Philip C. Bevilacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Interferon inducible protein kinase PKR is an essential component of innate immunity. It is activated by long stretches of dsRNA and provides the first line of host defense against pathogens by inhibiting translation initiation in the infected cell. Many cellular and viral transcripts contain nucleoside modifications and/or tertiary structure that could affect PKR activation. We have previously demonstrated that a 5′-end triphosphate-a signature of certain viral and bacterial transcripts-confers the ability of relatively unstructured model RNA transcripts to activate PKR to inhibit translation, and that this activation is abrogated by certain modifications present in cellular RNAs. In order to understand the biological implications of native RNA tertiary structure and nucleoside modifications on PKR activation, we study here the heavily modified cellular tRNAs and the unmodified or the lightly modified mitochondrial tRNAs (mt-tRNA). We find that both a T7 transcript of yeast tRNAPhe and natively extracted total bovine liver mt-tRNA activate PKR in vitro, whereas native E. coli, bovine liver, yeast, and wheat tRNAPhe do not, nor do a variety of base- or sugar-modified T7 transcripts. These results are further supported by activation of PKR by a natively folded T7 transcript of tRNAPhe in vivo supporting the importance of tRNA modification in suppressing PKR activation in cells. We also examine PKR activation by a T7 transcript of the A14G pathogenic mutant of mt-tRNALeu, which is known to dimerize, and find that the misfolded dimeric form activates PKR in vitro while the monomeric form does not. Overall, the in vitro and in vivo findings herein indicate that tRNAs have an intrinsic ability to activate PKR and that nucleoside modifications and native RNA tertiary folding may function, at least in part, to suppress such activation, thus serving to distinguish self and non-self tRNA in innate immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere57905
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2013

Fingerprint

nucleosides
Transfer RNA
Nucleosides
Chemical activation
RNA
RNA, Transfer, Phe
translation (genetics)
Sensors
yeasts
liver
cattle
double-stranded RNA
interferons
messenger RNA
Innate Immunity
protein kinases
Liver
Yeast
Yeasts
RNA, Transfer, Leu

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Nallagatla, Subba Rao ; Jones, Christie N. ; Ghosh, Saikat Kumar B. ; Sharma, Suresh D. ; Cameron, Craig Eugene ; Spremulli, Linda L. ; Bevilacqua, Philip C. / Native Tertiary Structure and Nucleoside Modifications Suppress tRNA's Intrinsic Ability to Activate the Innate Immune Sensor PKR. In: PLoS One. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 3.
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abstract = "Interferon inducible protein kinase PKR is an essential component of innate immunity. It is activated by long stretches of dsRNA and provides the first line of host defense against pathogens by inhibiting translation initiation in the infected cell. Many cellular and viral transcripts contain nucleoside modifications and/or tertiary structure that could affect PKR activation. We have previously demonstrated that a 5′-end triphosphate-a signature of certain viral and bacterial transcripts-confers the ability of relatively unstructured model RNA transcripts to activate PKR to inhibit translation, and that this activation is abrogated by certain modifications present in cellular RNAs. In order to understand the biological implications of native RNA tertiary structure and nucleoside modifications on PKR activation, we study here the heavily modified cellular tRNAs and the unmodified or the lightly modified mitochondrial tRNAs (mt-tRNA). We find that both a T7 transcript of yeast tRNAPhe and natively extracted total bovine liver mt-tRNA activate PKR in vitro, whereas native E. coli, bovine liver, yeast, and wheat tRNAPhe do not, nor do a variety of base- or sugar-modified T7 transcripts. These results are further supported by activation of PKR by a natively folded T7 transcript of tRNAPhe in vivo supporting the importance of tRNA modification in suppressing PKR activation in cells. We also examine PKR activation by a T7 transcript of the A14G pathogenic mutant of mt-tRNALeu, which is known to dimerize, and find that the misfolded dimeric form activates PKR in vitro while the monomeric form does not. Overall, the in vitro and in vivo findings herein indicate that tRNAs have an intrinsic ability to activate PKR and that nucleoside modifications and native RNA tertiary folding may function, at least in part, to suppress such activation, thus serving to distinguish self and non-self tRNA in innate immunity.",
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Native Tertiary Structure and Nucleoside Modifications Suppress tRNA's Intrinsic Ability to Activate the Innate Immune Sensor PKR. / Nallagatla, Subba Rao; Jones, Christie N.; Ghosh, Saikat Kumar B.; Sharma, Suresh D.; Cameron, Craig Eugene; Spremulli, Linda L.; Bevilacqua, Philip C.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 3, e57905, 04.03.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Native Tertiary Structure and Nucleoside Modifications Suppress tRNA's Intrinsic Ability to Activate the Innate Immune Sensor PKR

AU - Nallagatla, Subba Rao

AU - Jones, Christie N.

AU - Ghosh, Saikat Kumar B.

AU - Sharma, Suresh D.

AU - Cameron, Craig Eugene

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AU - Bevilacqua, Philip C.

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N2 - Interferon inducible protein kinase PKR is an essential component of innate immunity. It is activated by long stretches of dsRNA and provides the first line of host defense against pathogens by inhibiting translation initiation in the infected cell. Many cellular and viral transcripts contain nucleoside modifications and/or tertiary structure that could affect PKR activation. We have previously demonstrated that a 5′-end triphosphate-a signature of certain viral and bacterial transcripts-confers the ability of relatively unstructured model RNA transcripts to activate PKR to inhibit translation, and that this activation is abrogated by certain modifications present in cellular RNAs. In order to understand the biological implications of native RNA tertiary structure and nucleoside modifications on PKR activation, we study here the heavily modified cellular tRNAs and the unmodified or the lightly modified mitochondrial tRNAs (mt-tRNA). We find that both a T7 transcript of yeast tRNAPhe and natively extracted total bovine liver mt-tRNA activate PKR in vitro, whereas native E. coli, bovine liver, yeast, and wheat tRNAPhe do not, nor do a variety of base- or sugar-modified T7 transcripts. These results are further supported by activation of PKR by a natively folded T7 transcript of tRNAPhe in vivo supporting the importance of tRNA modification in suppressing PKR activation in cells. We also examine PKR activation by a T7 transcript of the A14G pathogenic mutant of mt-tRNALeu, which is known to dimerize, and find that the misfolded dimeric form activates PKR in vitro while the monomeric form does not. Overall, the in vitro and in vivo findings herein indicate that tRNAs have an intrinsic ability to activate PKR and that nucleoside modifications and native RNA tertiary folding may function, at least in part, to suppress such activation, thus serving to distinguish self and non-self tRNA in innate immunity.

AB - Interferon inducible protein kinase PKR is an essential component of innate immunity. It is activated by long stretches of dsRNA and provides the first line of host defense against pathogens by inhibiting translation initiation in the infected cell. Many cellular and viral transcripts contain nucleoside modifications and/or tertiary structure that could affect PKR activation. We have previously demonstrated that a 5′-end triphosphate-a signature of certain viral and bacterial transcripts-confers the ability of relatively unstructured model RNA transcripts to activate PKR to inhibit translation, and that this activation is abrogated by certain modifications present in cellular RNAs. In order to understand the biological implications of native RNA tertiary structure and nucleoside modifications on PKR activation, we study here the heavily modified cellular tRNAs and the unmodified or the lightly modified mitochondrial tRNAs (mt-tRNA). We find that both a T7 transcript of yeast tRNAPhe and natively extracted total bovine liver mt-tRNA activate PKR in vitro, whereas native E. coli, bovine liver, yeast, and wheat tRNAPhe do not, nor do a variety of base- or sugar-modified T7 transcripts. These results are further supported by activation of PKR by a natively folded T7 transcript of tRNAPhe in vivo supporting the importance of tRNA modification in suppressing PKR activation in cells. We also examine PKR activation by a T7 transcript of the A14G pathogenic mutant of mt-tRNALeu, which is known to dimerize, and find that the misfolded dimeric form activates PKR in vitro while the monomeric form does not. Overall, the in vitro and in vivo findings herein indicate that tRNAs have an intrinsic ability to activate PKR and that nucleoside modifications and native RNA tertiary folding may function, at least in part, to suppress such activation, thus serving to distinguish self and non-self tRNA in innate immunity.

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