The structure of transcription termination factor Nrd1 reveals an original mode for GUAA recognition

Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Sep 29;45(17):10293-10305. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx685.


Transcription termination of non-coding RNAs is regulated in yeast by a complex of three RNA binding proteins: Nrd1, Nab3 and Sen1. Nrd1 is central in this process by interacting with Rbp1 of RNA polymerase II, Trf4 of TRAMP and GUAA/G terminator sequences. We lack structural data for the last of these binding events. We determined the structures of Nrd1 RNA binding domain and its complexes with three GUAA-containing RNAs, characterized RNA binding energetics and tested rationally designed mutants in vivo. The Nrd1 structure shows an RRM domain fused with a second α/β domain that we name split domain (SD), because it is formed by two non-consecutive segments at each side of the RRM. The GUAA interacts with both domains and with a pocket of water molecules, trapped between the two stacking adenines and the SD. Comprehensive binding studies demonstrate for the first time that Nrd1 has a slight preference for GUAA over GUAG and genetic and functional studies suggest that Nrd1 RNA binding domain might play further roles in non-coding RNAs transcription termination.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Domains
  • Protein Folding
  • RNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • RNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Transcription Termination, Genetic*


  • NRD1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins