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Mol Cell. 2015 Dec 3;60(5):715-727. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.10.003. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Retrotransposition and Crystal Structure of an Alu RNP in the Ribosome-Stalling Conformation.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
2
Department of Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. Electronic address: oliver.weichenrieder@tuebingen.mpg.de.

Abstract

The Alu element is the most successful human genomic parasite affecting development and causing disease. It originated as a retrotransposon during early primate evolution of the gene encoding the signal recognition particle (SRP) RNA. We defined a minimal Alu RNA sufficient for effective retrotransposition and determined a high-resolution structure of its complex with the SRP9/14 proteins. The RNA adopts a compact, closed conformation that matches the envelope of the SRP Alu domain in the ribosomal translation elongation factor-binding site. Conserved structural elements in SRP RNAs support an ancient function of the closed conformation that predates SRP9/14. Structure-based mutagenesis shows that retrotransposition requires the closed conformation of the Alu ribonucleoprotein particle and is consistent with the recognition of stalled ribosomes. We propose that ribosome stalling is a common cause for the cis-preference of the mammalian L1 retrotransposon and for the efficiency of the Alu RNA in hijacking nascent L1 reverse transcriptase.

KEYWORDS:

LINE; RNA structure; SINE; mobile DNA; molecular evolution; translational control

PMID:
26585389
DOI:
10.1016/j.molcel.2015.10.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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