Congratulations to the Pyle Lab for their publication in Science!
November 28, 2022
“Structures of a mobile intron retroelement poised to attack its structured DNA target.”
Kevin Chung*, Ling Xu*, Pengxin Chai, Junhui Peng, Swapnil C. Devarkar and Anna Marie Pyle (2022) Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.abq2844
Group II introns form RNP complexes with a specialized protein called a maturase which helps the intron RNP splice out of RNA and insert into new DNA sites. The most ancient class of group II intron retroelements recognize the shape and sequence of their unique DNA targets. In this article, Chung and Xu et al. used cryoEM to capture this agent of genomic invasion, the intact, full-length group II intron with its maturase protein and its structured DNA target, thereby revealing new molecular recognition strategies between RNPs and DNA. In parallel, by solving the structure of the isolated RNP, without the DNA target, they show that the group II intron RNP is primed to attack its DNA target without need for major conformational rearrangements. This study reveals design principles of a prototypical retroelement and sheds light on retroelement structure, function and proliferation.