Single-Molecule Imaging Reveals that Argonaute Reshapes the Binding Properties of Its Nucleic Acid Guides

Cell. 2015 Jul 2;162(1):84-95. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.029.

Abstract

Argonaute proteins repress gene expression and defend against foreign nucleic acids using short RNAs or DNAs to specify the correct target RNA or DNA sequence. We have developed single-molecule methods to analyze target binding and cleavage mediated by the Argonaute:guide complex, RISC. We find that both eukaryotic and prokaryotic Argonaute proteins reshape the fundamental properties of RNA:RNA, RNA:DNA, and DNA:DNA hybridization—a small RNA or DNA bound to Argonaute as a guide no longer follows the well-established rules by which oligonucleotides find, bind, and dissociate from complementary nucleic acid sequences. Argonautes distinguish substrates from targets with similar complementarity. Mouse AGO2, for example, binds tighter to miRNA targets than its RNAi cleavage product, even though the cleaved product contains more base pairs. By re-writing the rules for nucleic acid hybridization, Argonautes allow oligonucleotides to serve as specificity determinants with thermodynamic and kinetic properties more typical of RNA-binding proteins than of RNA or DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins / chemistry
  • Argonaute Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization*
  • RNA, Guide / metabolism
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / metabolism
  • Thermodynamics
  • Thermus thermophilus / metabolism

Substances

  • Ago2 protein, mouse
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Guide
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex
  • mirnlet7 microRNA, mouse