Conserved Amino Acid Moieties of Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator MazF Determine Ribonuclease Activity and Specificity

Tamiya-Ishitsuka et al. (2021). Frontiers in Microbiology 12
Names (1)
Desulforudis audaxviator Ts
Microbiology Microbiology (medical)
The toxin-antitoxin (TA) system, inherent to various prokaryotes, plays a critical role in survival and adaptation to diverse environmental stresses. The toxin MazF, belonging to the type II TA system, functions as a sequence-specific ribonuclease that recognizes 3 to 7 bases. In recent studies, crystallographic analysis of MazFs from several species have suggested the presence of amino acid sites important for MazF substrate RNA binding and for its catalytic activity. Herein, we characterized MazF obtained from Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator (MazF-Da) and identified the amino acid residues necessary for its catalytic function. MazF-Da, expressed using a cell-free protein synthesis system, is a six-base-recognition-specific ribonuclease that preferentially cleaves UACAAA sequences and weakly cleaves UACGAA and UACUAA sequences. We found that MazF-Da exhibited the highest activity at around 60°C. Analysis using mutants with a single mutation at an amino acid residue site that is well conserved across various MazF toxins showed that G18, E20, R25, and P26 were important for the ribonuclease activity of MazF-Da. The recognition sequence of the N36A mutant differed from that of the wild type. This mutant cleaved UACAAG sequences in addition to UACAAA sequences, but did not cleave UACGAA or UACUAA sequences, suggesting that Asn36 affects the loosening and narrowing of MazF-Da cleavage sequence recognition. Our study posits UACAAA as the recognition sequence of MazF-Da and provides insight into the amino acid sites that are key to its unique enzymatic properties.
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