Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A role for polynucleotide phosphorylase in protecting cells and controlling RNA quality under oxidative stress
by Wu, Jinhua, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2008, 113; 3336071
Abstract (Summary)

RNA damage occurring under oxidative stress has been shown to cause RNA dysfunction and must be detrimental to cells and organisms. We propose that damaged RNA can be removed by specific RNA surveillance activities. In this work, we investigated the role of polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase), a 3'->5' exoribonuclease, in protecting the cells against oxidative stress and eliminating oxidatively-damaged RNA. Previously, it was reported that E. coli PNPase has a higher affinity to poly(8-oxoG:A). We further confirmed that E. coli PNPase can specifically bind to an oxidized RNA with a high affinity. An E. coli strain deficient in PNPase (pnp) is hypersensitive to hydrogen peroxide (H 2O2). Importantly, the level of H2O2-induced RNA damage, measured by the content of 8-hydroxyguanosine, increases significantly in the pnp mutant cells. Consistent with the notion that PNPase plays a direct role in these processes, introduction of the pnp gene encoding E. coli PNPase can restore the viability and RNA oxidation level of the pnp mutant cells in response to H2O2 treatment. Interestingly, degradosome-association is not required for PNPase to protect cell against oxidative stress.

PNPase is evolutionary conserved in most of organisms of all domains of life. The human polynucleotide phosphorylase (hPNPase) localizes mainly in mitochondria and plays pleiotropic roles in cell differentiation and has been previously shown to bind 8-oxoG-RNA with a high affinity. Here we show that similar to E. coli PNPase, hPNPase plays an indispensable role in protecting HeLa cells against oxidative stress. The viability in HeLa cell and 8-oxoG levels in RNA are inversely correlated in response to H 2O2-treatment. After removal of oxidative challenge, the elevated level of 8-oxoG in RNA decreases, suggesting the existence of surveillance mechanism(s) for cleaning up oxidized RNA. We have shown that hPNPase may be responsible for the surveillance of oxidized RNA in mammalian cells. Overexpression of hPNPase reduces RNA oxidation and increases HeLa cell viability against H2O2 insult. Conversely, hPNPase knockdown decreases the viability and increases 8-oxoG level in HeLa cells exposed to H2 O2. Taken together, our results suggest that RNA oxidation is a challenging problem for living organisms, and PNPase may play an important role in protecting both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells by limiting damage to RNA under oxidative stress.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Li, Zhongwei
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Molecular biology, Cellular biology
Keywords: Cell viability, Oxidative stress, Polynucleotide phosphorylase, Protecting cells, RNA quality
Publication Number: 3336071
ISBN: 978-0-549-90407-6
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