Effect of the disease-causing mutations identified in human ribonuclease (RNase) H2 on the activities and stabilities of yeast RNase H2 and archaeal RNase HII

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Eukaryotic ribonuclease (RNase) H2 consists of one catalytic and two accessory subunits. Several single mutations in any one of these subunits of human RNase H2 cause Aicardi–Goutières syndrome. To examine whether these mutations affect the complex stability and activity of RNase H2, three mutant proteins of His-tagged Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNase H2 (Sc-RNase H2*) were constructed. Sc-G42S*, Sc-L52R*, and Sc-K46W* contain single mutations in Sc-Rnh2Ap*, Sc-Rnh2Bp*, and Sc-Rnh2Cp*, respectively. The genes encoding the three subunits were coexpressed in Escherichia coli, and Sc-RNase H2* and its derivatives were purified in a heterotrimeric form. All of these mutant proteins exhibited enzymatic activity. However, only the enzymatic activity of Sc-G42S* was greatly reduced compared to that of the wild-type protein. Gly42 is conserved as Gly10 in Thermococcus kodakareansis RNase HII. To analyze the role of this residue, four mutant proteins, Tk-G10S, Tk-G10A, Tk-G10L, and Tk-G10P, were constructed. All mutant proteins were less stable than the wild-type protein by 2.9–7.6 °C in Tm. A comparison of their enzymatic activities, substrate binding affinities, and CD spectra suggests that the introduction of a bulky side chain into this position induces a local conformational change, which is unfavorable for both activity and substrate binding. These results indicate that Gly10 is required to make the protein fully active and stable.

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