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1.  A novel strategy for the identification of genomic islands by comparative analysis of the contents and contexts of tRNA sites in closely related bacteria 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(1):e3.
We devised software tools to systematically investigate the contents and contexts of bacterial tRNA and tmRNA genes, which are known insertion hotspots for genomic islands (GIs). The strategy, based on MAUVE-facilitated multigenome comparisons, was used to examine 87 Escherichia coli MG1655 tRNA and tmRNA genes and their orthologues in E.coli EDL933, E.coli CFT073 and Shigella flexneri Sf301. Our approach identified 49 GIs occupying ∼1.7 Mb that mapped to 18 tRNA genes, missing 2 but identifying a further 30 GIs as compared with Islander [Y. Mantri and K. P. Williams (2004), Nucleic Acids Res., 32, D55–D58]. All these GIs had many strain-specific CDS, anomalous GC contents and/or significant dinucleotide biases, consistent with foreign origins. Our analysis demonstrated marked conservation of sequences flanking both empty tRNA sites and tRNA-associated GIs across all four genomes. Remarkably, there were only 2 upstream and 5 downstream deletions adjacent to the 328 loci investigated. In silico PCR analysis based on conserved flanking regions was also used to interrogate hotspots in another eight completely or partially sequenced E.coli and Shigella genomes. The tools developed are ideal for the analysis of other bacterial species and will lead to in silico and experimental discovery of new genomic islands.
doi:10.1093/nar/gnj005
PMCID: PMC1326021  PMID: 16414954
2.  The roles of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Pol protein and the primer binding site in the placement of primer tRNA(3Lys) onto viral genomic RNA. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(12):9075-9086.
Factors that modulate the placement of primer tRNA(3Lys) onto the viral RNA genome in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) were investigated through analysis of reverse-transcribed products that are extended from the tRNA(3Lys) primer. Mutations were introduced into the HIV-1 pol gene to result in the appearance of a stop codon in the open reading frame of the reverse transcriptase (RT) gene. These constructs, BH10-RT1 and BH10-RT2, yielded viruses with truncated Pol proteins. Alternatively, we altered the sequences involved in frameshifting by generating the construct BH10-FS. With each of these mutated viruses, we found that the primer tRNA(3Lys) that was placed onto viral genomic RNA was present in an unextended state. In contrast, as expected, tRNA(3Lys) in the case of wild-type BH10 virus had been extended by 2 bases. Furthermore, the amount of tRNA(3Lys) that was placed onto viral RNA in mutated viruses was significantly less than that placed in the wild-type virus. We also generated a mutant within the polymerase-active site of RT (D185H) (Asp-->His) that eliminated RT polymerase activity. We found that the placement of primer tRNA(3Lys) onto viral genomic RNA was independent of enzyme function; however, the tRNA(3Lys) that was placed was present in an unextended state due to the loss of RT activity. In contrast, the elimination of protease activity through a D25A (Asp-->Ala) point mutation in the protease-active site (construct BH10-PR) did cause a drop in the efficiency of tRNA(3Lys) placement. In this situation, a proportion of the placed tRNA(3Lys) was found to be extended by 2 bases, although not to the extent found with wild-type virus (BH10), due to a decrease in RT activity associated with unprocessed Gag-Pol protein that could not be cleaved because of the loss of protease activity. We also investigated the role of the primer binding site (PBS) in the placement of tRNA(3Lys) through a series of 2-, 4-, and 8-nucleotide (nt) deletions at the 3' end of the PBS, i.e., BH10-PBS2, BH10-PBS4, and BH10-PBS8, respectively. In mutated viruses BH10-PBS2 and BH10-PBS4, the 2-base-extended form of tRNA(3Lys) was still detected. However, less primer tRNA(3Lys) was placed onto viral genomic RNA as more nucleotides were deleted until the percentage of placement seen with wild-type BH10 virus dropped to only 4% in the virus with 8 nt deleted (BH10-PBS8). Consistently, these mutated viruses possessed decreased initial replication capacity compared with that of the wild-type virus, with the extent of incapacity corresponding to the size of the deletion. However, after several days, an increase in replication potential was accompanied by a reversion to a wild-type PBS.
PMCID: PMC230208  PMID: 9371564
3.  Tissue-Specific Differences in Human Transfer RNA Expression 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(12):e221.
Over 450 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes have been annotated in the human genome. Reliable quantitation of tRNA levels in human samples using microarray methods presents a technical challenge. We have developed a microarray method to quantify tRNAs based on a fluorescent dye-labeling technique. The first-generation tRNA microarray consists of 42 probes for nuclear encoded tRNAs and 21 probes for mitochondrial encoded tRNAs. These probes cover tRNAs for all 20 amino acids and 11 isoacceptor families. Using this array, we report that the amounts of tRNA within the total cellular RNA vary widely among eight different human tissues. The brain expresses higher overall levels of nuclear encoded tRNAs than every tissue examined but one and higher levels of mitochondrial encoded tRNAs than every tissue examined. We found tissue-specific differences in the expression of individual tRNA species, and tRNAs decoding amino acids with similar chemical properties exhibited coordinated expression in distinct tissue types. Relative tRNA abundance exhibits a statistically significant correlation to the codon usage of a collection of highly expressed, tissue-specific genes in a subset of tissues or tRNA isoacceptors. Our findings demonstrate the existence of tissue-specific expression of tRNA species that strongly implicates a role for tRNA heterogeneity in regulating translation and possibly additional processes in vertebrate organisms.
Synopsis
Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) translate the genetic code of genes into the amino acid sequence of proteins. Most amino acids have two or more codons. Every organism has multiple tRNA species reading the codons for the same amino acid (tRNA isoacceptors). In bacteria and yeast, differences in the relative abundance of tRNA isoacceptors have been found to affect the level of highly expressed proteins. This tRNA abundance–codon distribution relationship can have predictive power on the expression of genes based on their codon usages. Approximately 450 tRNA genes consisting of 49 isoacceptors and 274 different sequences have been annotated in the human genome. This work describes the first comparative analysis of tRNA expression levels in eight human tissues using microarray methods. The authors find significant, tissue-specific differences in the expression of tRNA species and coordinated expression among tRNAs decoding amino acids with similar chemical properties in distinct tissue types. Correlation of relative tRNA abundance versus the codon usage of highly expressed, tissue-specific genes can be found among a subset of tissues or tRNA isoacceptors. Differential tRNA expression in human tissues suggests that tRNA may play a unique role in regulating translation and possibly other processes in humans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020221
PMCID: PMC1713254  PMID: 17194224
4.  tRNA Signatures Reveal a Polyphyletic Origin of SAR11 Strains among Alphaproteobacteria 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(2):e1003454.
Molecular phylogenetics and phylogenomics are subject to noise from horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and bias from convergence in macromolecular compositions. Extensive variation in size, structure and base composition of alphaproteobacterial genomes has complicated their phylogenomics, sparking controversy over the origins and closest relatives of the SAR11 strains. SAR11 are highly abundant, cosmopolitan aquatic Alphaproteobacteria with streamlined, A+T-biased genomes. A dominant view holds that SAR11 are monophyletic and related to both Rickettsiales and the ancestor of mitochondria. Other studies dispute this, finding evidence of a polyphyletic origin of SAR11 with most strains distantly related to Rickettsiales. Although careful evolutionary modeling can reduce bias and noise in phylogenomic inference, entirely different approaches may be useful to extract robust phylogenetic signals from genomes. Here we develop simple phyloclassifiers from bioinformatically derived tRNA Class-Informative Features (CIFs), features predicted to target tRNAs for specific interactions within the tRNA interaction network. Our tRNA CIF-based model robustly and accurately classifies alphaproteobacterial genomes into one of seven undisputed monophyletic orders or families, despite great variability in tRNA gene complement sizes and base compositions. Our model robustly rejects monophyly of SAR11, classifying all but one strain as Rhizobiales with strong statistical support. Yet remarkably, conventional phylogenetic analysis of tRNAs classifies all SAR11 strains identically as Rickettsiales. We attribute this discrepancy to convergence of SAR11 and Rickettsiales tRNA base compositions. Thus, tRNA CIFs appear more robust to compositional convergence than tRNA sequences generally. Our results suggest that tRNA-CIF-based phyloclassification is robust to HGT of components of the tRNA interaction network, such as aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. We explain why tRNAs are especially advantageous for prediction of traits governing macromolecular interactions from genomic data, and why such traits may be advantageous in the search for robust signals to address difficult problems in classification and phylogeny.
Author Summary
If gene products work well in the networks of foreign cells, their genes may transfer horizontally between unrelated genomes. What factors dictate the ability to integrate into foreign networks? Different RNAs and proteins must interact specifically in order to function well as a system. For example, tRNA functions are determined by the interactions they have with other macromolecules. We have developed ways to predict, from genomic data alone, how tRNAs distinguish themselves to their specific interaction partners. Here, as proof of concept, we built a robust computational model from these bioinformatic predictions in seven lineages of Alphaproteobacteria. We validated our model by classifying hundreds of diverse alphaproteobacterial taxa and tested it on eight strains of SAR11, a phylogenetically controversial group that is highly abundant in the world's oceans. We found that different strains of SAR11 are more distantly related, both to each other and to mitochondria, than widely believed. We explain conflicting results about SAR11 as an artifact of bias created by the variability in base contents of alphaproteobacterial genomes. While this bias affects tRNAs too, our classifier appears unexpectedly robust to it. More broadly, our results suggest that traits governing macromolecular interactions may be more faithfully vertically inherited than the macromolecules themselves.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003454
PMCID: PMC3937112  PMID: 24586126
5.  A Pseudo-tRNA Modulates Antibiotic Resistance in Bacillus cereus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41248.
Bacterial genomic islands are often flanked by tRNA genes, which act as sites for the integration of foreign DNA into the host chromosome. For example, Bacillus cereus ATCC14579 contains a pathogenicity island flanked by a predicted pseudo-tRNA, tRNAOther, which does not function in translation. Deletion of tRNAOther led to significant changes in cell wall morphology and antibiotic resistance and was accompanied by changes in the expression of numerous genes involved in oxidative stress responses, several of which contain significant complementarities to sequences surrounding tRNAOther. This suggested that tRNAOther might be expressed as part of a larger RNA, and RACE analysis subsequently confirmed the existence of several RNA species that significantly extend both the 3′ and 5′-ends of tRNAOther. tRNAOther expression levels were found to be responsive to changes in extracellular iron concentration, consistent with the presence of three putative ferric uptake regulator (Fur) binding sites in the 5′ leader region of one of these larger RNAs. Taken together with previous data, this study now suggests that tRNAOther may function by providing a tRNA-like structural element within a larger regulatory RNA. These findings illustrate that while integration of genomic islands often leaves tRNA genes intact and functional, in other instances inactivation may generate tRNA-like elements that are then recruited to other functions in the cell.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041248
PMCID: PMC3399842  PMID: 22815980
6.  Genome-Based Identification of Chromosomal Regions Specific for Salmonella spp.  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(5):2351-2360.
Acquisition of genomic elements by horizontal gene transfer represents an important mechanism in the evolution of bacterial species. Pathogenicity islands are a subset of horizontally acquired elements present in various pathogens. These elements are frequently located adjacent to tRNA genes. We performed a comparative genome analysis of Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Typhimurium and Escherichia coli and scanned tRNA loci for the presence of species-specific, horizontally acquired genomic elements. A large number of species-specific elements were identified. Here, we describe the characteristics of four large chromosomal insertions at tRNA genes of Salmonella spp. The tRNA-associated elements harbor various genes previously identified as single virulence genes, indicating that these genes have been acquired with large chromosomal insertions. Southern blot analyses confirmed that the tRNA-associated elements are specific to Salmonella and also indicated a heterogeneous distribution within the salmonellae. Systematic scanning for insertions at tRNA genes thus represents a tool for the identification of novel pathogenicity islands.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.5.2351-2360.2002
PMCID: PMC127916  PMID: 11953370
7.  Frameshift suppressor mutations outside the anticodon in yeast proline tRNAs containing an intervening sequence. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1985;5(7):1760-1771.
Extragenic suppressors of +1 frameshift mutations in proline codons map in genes encoding two major proline tRNA isoacceptors. We have shown previously that one isoacceptor encoded by the SUF2 gene (chromosome 3) contains no intervening sequence. SUF2 suppressor mutations result from the base insertion of a G within a 3'-GGA-5' anticodon, allowing the tRNA to read a 4-base code word. In this communication we describe suppressor mutations in genes encoding a second proline tRNA isoacceptor (wild-type anticodon 3'-GGU-5') that result in a novel mechanism for translation of a 4-base genetic code word. The genes that encode this isoacceptor include SUF7 (chromosome 13), SUF8 (chromosome 8), trn1 (chromosome 1), and at least two additional unmapped genes, all of which contain an intervening sequence. We show that suppressor mutations in the SUF7 and SUF8 genes result in G-to-U base substitutions at position 39 that disrupted the normal G . C base pairing in the last base pair of the anticodon stem adjacent to the anticodon loop. These anticodon stem mutations might alter the size of the anticodon loop and permit the use of a 3'-GGGU-5' sequence within the loop to read 4-base proline codons. Uncertainty regarding the exact structure of the mature suppressor tRNAs results from the possibility that anticodon stem mutations might affect sites of intervening sequence removal. The possible role of the intervening sequence in the generation of mature suppressor tRNA is discussed. Besides an analysis of suppressor tRNA genes, we have extended previous observations of the apparent relationship between tRNA genes and repetitive delta sequences found as solo elements or in association with the transposable element TY1. Hybridization studies and a computer analysis of the DNA sequence surrounding the SUF7 gene revealed two incomplete, inverted delta sequences that form a stem and loop structure located 165 base pairs from the 5' end of the tRNA gene. In addition, sequences beginning 164 base pairs from the 5' end of the trn1 gene also exhibit partial homology to delta. These observations provide further evidence for a nonrandom association between tRNA genes and delta sequences.
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PMCID: PMC367295  PMID: 3894935
8.  tRNA over-expression in breast cancer and functional consequences 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(21):7268-7280.
Increased proliferation and elevated levels of protein synthesis are characteristics of transformed and tumor cells. Though components of the translation machinery are often misregulated in cancers, what role tRNA plays in cancer cells has not been explored. We compare genome-wide tRNA expression in cancer-derived versus non-cancer-derived breast cell lines, as well as tRNA expression in breast tumors versus normal breast tissues. In cancer-derived versus non-cancer-derived cell lines, nuclear-encoded tRNAs increase by up to 3-fold and mitochondrial-encoded tRNAs increase by up to 5-fold. In tumors versus normal breast tissues, both nuclear- and mitochondrial-encoded tRNAs increase up to 10-fold. This tRNA over-expression is selective and coordinates with the properties of cognate amino acids. Nuclear- and mitochondrial-encoded tRNAs exhibit distinct expression patterns, indicating that tRNAs can be used as biomarkers for breast cancer. We also performed association analysis for codon usage-tRNA expression for the cell lines. tRNA isoacceptor expression levels are not geared towards optimal translation of house-keeping or cell line specific genes. Instead, tRNA isoacceptor expression levels may favor the translation of cancer-related genes having regulatory roles. Our results suggest a functional consequence of tRNA over-expression in tumor cells. tRNA isoacceptor over-expression may increase the translational efficiency of genes relevant to cancer development and progression.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkp787
PMCID: PMC2790902  PMID: 19783824
9.  Transfer RNAs of potato (Solanum tuberosum) mitochondria have different genetic origins. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1990;18(13):3689-3696.
Total transfer RNAs were extracted from highly purified potato mitochondria. From quantitative measurements, the in vivo tRNA concentration in mitochondria was estimated to be in the range of 60 microM. Total potato mitochondrial tRNAs were fractionated by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Thirty one individual tRNAs, which could read all sense codons, were identified by aminoacylation, sequencing or hybridization to specific oligonucleotides. The tRNA population that we have characterized comprises 15 typically mitochondrial, 5 'chloroplast-like' and 11 nuclear-encoded species. One tRNA(Ala), 2 tRNAs(Arg), 1 tRNA(Ile), 5 tRNAs(Leu) and 2 tRNAs(Thr) were shown to be coded for by nuclear DNA. A second, mitochondrial-encoded, tRNA(Ile) was also found. Five 'chloroplast-like' tRNAs, tRNA(Trp), tRNA(Asn), tRNA(His), tRNA(Ser)(GGA) and tRNA(Met)m, presumably transcribed from promiscuous chloroplast DNA sequences inserted in the mitochondrial genome, were identified, but, in contrast to wheat (1), potato mitochondria do not seem to contain 'chloroplast-like' tRNA(Cys) and tRNA(Phe). The two identified tRNAs(Val), as well as the tRNA(Gly), were found to be coded for by the mitochondrial genome, which again contrasts with the situation in wheat, where the mitochondrial genome apparently contains no tRNA(Val) or tRNA(Gly) gene (2).
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PMCID: PMC331066  PMID: 2374706
10.  Islander: a database of integrative islands in prokaryotic genomes, the associated integrases and their DNA site specificities 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(Database issue):D55-D58.
Prokaryotic chromosomes often contain islands, such as temperate phages or pathogenicity islands, delivered by site-specific integrases. Integration usually occurs within a tRNA or tmRNA gene, splitting the gene, yet sequences within the island restore the disrupted gene. The regenerated RNA gene and the displaced fragment of that gene thus mark the endpoints of the island. We applied this principle to search for islands in genomic DNA sequences. Our algorithm generates a list of tRNA and tmRNA genes, uses each as the query for a BLAST search of the starting DNA and removes unlikely hits through a series of filters. A search for islands in 106 whole bacterial genomes produced 143 candidates, with the search itself providing an estimate of three false candidates among these. Preliminary phylogenetic analysis of the associated integrases reduced this set to 89 cases of independently evolved site specificity, which showed strong bias for the tmRNA gene. The website Islander (http://www.indiana.edu/~islander) presents the candidate islands in GenBank-style files and correlates integrase phylogeny with site specificity.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkh059
PMCID: PMC308793  PMID: 14681358
11.  The Challenge of Regulation in a Minimal Photoautotroph: Non-Coding RNAs in Prochlorococcus 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(8):e1000173.
Prochlorococcus, an extremely small cyanobacterium that is very abundant in the world's oceans, has a very streamlined genome. On average, these cells have about 2,000 genes and very few regulatory proteins. The limited capability of regulation is thought to be a result of selection imposed by a relatively stable environment in combination with a very small genome. Furthermore, only ten non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), which play crucial regulatory roles in all forms of life, have been described in Prochlorococcus. Most strains also lack the RNA chaperone Hfq, raising the question of how important this mode of regulation is for these cells. To explore this question, we examined the transcription of intergenic regions of Prochlorococcus MED4 cells subjected to a number of different stress conditions: changes in light qualities and quantities, phage infection, or phosphorus starvation. Analysis of Affymetrix microarray expression data from intergenic regions revealed 276 novel transcriptional units. Among these were 12 new ncRNAs, 24 antisense RNAs (asRNAs), as well as 113 short mRNAs. Two additional ncRNAs were identified by homology, and all 14 new ncRNAs were independently verified by Northern hybridization and 5′RACE. Unlike its reduced suite of regulatory proteins, the number of ncRNAs relative to genome size in Prochlorococcus is comparable to that found in other bacteria, suggesting that RNA regulators likely play a major role in regulation in this group. Moreover, the ncRNAs are concentrated in previously identified genomic islands, which carry genes of significance to the ecology of this organism, many of which are not of cyanobacterial origin. Expression profiles of some of these ncRNAs suggest involvement in light stress adaptation and/or the response to phage infection consistent with their location in the hypervariable genomic islands.
Author Summary
Prochlorococcus is the most abundant phototroph in the vast, nutrient-poor areas of the ocean. It plays an important role in the ocean carbon cycle, and is a key component of the base of the food web. All cells share a core set of about 1,200 genes, augmented with a variable number of “flexible” genes. Many of the latter are located in genomic islands—hypervariable regions of the genome that encode functions important in differentiating the niches of “ecotypes.” Of major interest is how cells with such a small genome regulate cellular processes, as they lack many of the regulatory proteins commonly found in bacteria. We show here that contrary to the regulatory proteins, ncRNAs are present at levels typical of bacteria, revealing that they might have a disproportional regulatory role in Prochlorococcus—likely an adaptation to the extremely low-nutrient conditions of the open oceans, combined with the constraints of a small genome. Some of the ncRNAs were differentially expressed under stress conditions, and a high number of them were found to be associated with genomic islands, suggesting functional links between these RNAs and the response of Prochlorococcus to particular environmental challenges.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000173
PMCID: PMC2518516  PMID: 18769676
12.  The Conserved Cys-X1-X2-Cys Motif Present in the TtcA Protein Is Required for the Thiolation of Cytidine in Position 32 of tRNA from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(3):750-757.
The modified nucleoside 2-thiocytidine (s2C) has so far been found in tRNA from organisms belonging to the phylogenetic domains Archaea and Bacteria. In the bacteria Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, s2C is present in position 32 of only four tRNA species—\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{ICG}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document}, \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{CCG}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document}, \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{mnm^{5}UCU}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document}, and \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{GCU}^{Ser}\end{equation*}\end{document}. An in-frame deletion of an S. enterica gene (designated ttcA, for “two-thio-cytidine”) was constructed, and such a mutant has no detectable s2C in its tRNA. The TtcA protein family is characterized by the existence of both a PP-loop and a Cys-X1-X2-Cys motif in the central region of the protein but can be divided into two distinct groups based on the presence and location of additional Cys-X1-X2-Cys motifs in terminal regions of the sequence. Mutant analysis showed that both cysteines in this central conserved Cys-X1-X2-Cys motif are required for the formation of s2C. The ΔttcA1 mutant grows at the same rate as the congenic wild-type strain, and no growth disadvantage caused by the lack of s2C was observed in a mixed-population experiment. Lack of s2C32 did not reduce the selection rate at the ribosomal aminoacyl-tRNA site (A-site) for \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}Arg-tRNA_{ICG}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document} at any of its cognate CGN codons, whereas A-site selection at AGG by \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}Arg-tRNA_{mnm^{5}UCU}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document} was dependent on the presence of s2C32. The presence of s2C32 in peptidyl-\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{CCU}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document} or in peptidyl-\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{mnm^{5}UCU}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document} interfered with decoding in the A-site. The presence of s2C32 in \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document} \begin{equation*}tRNA_{ICG}^{Arg}\end{equation*}\end{document} decreased the rate of translation of the CGA codon but not that of the CGU codon.
doi:10.1128/JB.186.3.750-757.2004
PMCID: PMC321475  PMID: 14729701
13.  Pseudouridine in the anticodon G psi A of plant cytoplasmic tRNA(Tyr) is required for UAG and UAA suppression in the TMV-specific context. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1992;20(22):5911-5918.
We have previously isolated and sequenced Nicotiana cytoplasmic tRNA(Tyr) with G psi A anticodon which promotes readthrough over the leaky UAG termination codon at the end of the 126 K cistron of tobacco mosaic virus RNA and we have demonstrated that tRNA(Tyr) with Q psi A anticodon is no UAG suppressor. Here we show that the nucleotide in the middle of the anticodon (i.e., psi 35) also contributes to the suppressor efficiency displayed by cytoplasmic tRNA(Tyr). A tRNA(Tyr) with GUA anticodon was synthesized in vitro using T7 RNA polymerase transcription. This tRNA(Tyr) was unable to suppress the UAG codon, indicating that nucleotide modifications in the anticodon of tRNA(Tyr) have either stimulating (i.e., psi 35) or inhibitory (i.e., Q34) effects on suppressor activity. Furthermore, we have shown that the UAA but not the UGA stop codon is also efficiently recognized by tobacco tRNA(G psi ATyr), if placed in the TMV context. Hence this is the first naturally occurring tRNA for which UAA suppressor activity has been demonstrated. In order to study the influence of neighbouring nucleotides on the readthrough capacity of tRNA(Tyr), we have established a system, in which part of the sequence around the leaky UAG codon of TMV RNA was inserted into a zein pseudogene which naturally harbours an UAG codon in the middle of the gene. The construct was cloned into the vector pSP65 and in vitro transcripts, generated by SP6 RNA polymerase, were translated in a wheat germ extract depleted of endogenous mRNAs and tRNAs. A number of mutations in the codons flanking the UAG were introduced by site-directed mutagenesis. It was found that changes at specific positions of the two downstream codons completely abolished the readthrough over the UAG by Nicotiana tRNA(Tyr), indicating that this tRNA needs a very specific codon context for its suppressor activity.
Images
PMCID: PMC334454  PMID: 1461724
14.  The cost of wobble translation in fungal mitochondrial genomes: integration of two traditional hypotheses 
Background
Fungal and animal mitochondrial genomes typically have one tRNA for each synonymous codon family. The codon-anticodon adaptation hypothesis predicts that the wobble nucleotide of a tRNA anticodon should evolve towards maximizing Watson-Crick base pairing with the most frequently used codon within each synonymous codon family, whereas the wobble versatility hypothesis argues that the nucleotide at the wobble site should be occupied by a nucleotide most versatile in wobble pairing, i.e., the tRNA wobble nucleotide should be G for NNY codon families, and U for NNR and NNN codon families (where Y stands for C or U, R for A or G and N for any nucleotide).
Results
We here integrate these two traditional hypotheses on tRNA anticodons into a unified model based on an analysis of the wobble costs associated with different wobble base pairs. This novel approach allows the relative cost of wobble pairing to be qualitatively evaluated. A comprehensive study of 36 fungal genomes suggests very different costs between two kinds of U:G wobble pairs, i.e., (1) between a G at the wobble site of a tRNA anticodon and a U at the third codon position (designated MU3:G) and (2) between a U at the wobble site of a tRNA anticodon and a G at the third codon position (designated MG3:U).
Conclusion
In general, MU3:G is much smaller than MG3:U, suggesting no selection against U-ending codons in NNY codon families with a wobble G in the tRNA anticodon but strong selection against G-ending codons in NNR codon families with a wobble U at the tRNA anticodon. This finding resolves several puzzling observations in fungal genomics and corroborates previous studies showing that U3:G wobble is energetically more favorable than G3:U wobble.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-211
PMCID: PMC2488353  PMID: 18638409
15.  Circularly permuted tRNA genes: their expression and implications for their physiological relevance and development 
A number of genome analyses and searches using programs that focus on the RNA-specific bulge-helix-bulge (BHB) motif have uncovered a wide variety of disrupted tRNA genes. The results of these analyses have shown that genetic information encoding functional RNAs is described in the genome cryptically and is retrieved using various strategies. One such strategy is represented by circularly permuted tRNA genes, in which the sequences encoding the 5′-half and 3′-half of the specific tRNA are separated and inverted on the genome. Biochemical analyses have defined a processing pathway in which the termini of tRNA precursors (pre-tRNAs) are ligated to form a characteristic circular RNA intermediate, which is then cleaved at the acceptor-stem to generate the typical cloverleaf structure with functional termini. The sequences adjacent to the processing site located between the 3′-half and the 5′-half of pre-tRNAs potentially form a BHB motif, which is the dominant recognition site for the tRNA-intron splicing endonuclease, suggesting that circularization of pre-tRNAs depends on the splicing machinery. Some permuted tRNAs contain a BHB-mediated intron in their 5′- or 3′-half, meaning that removal of an intron, as well as swapping of the 5′- and 3′-halves, are required during maturation of their pre-tRNAs. To date, 34 permuted tRNA genes have been identified from six species of unicellular algae and one archaeon. Although their physiological significance and mechanism of development remain unclear, the splicing system of BHB motifs seems to have played a key role in the formation of permuted tRNA genes. In this review, current knowledge of circularly permuted tRNA genes is presented and some unanswered questions regarding these species are discussed.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2014.00063
PMCID: PMC3978253  PMID: 24744771
tRNA gene; circular gene permutation; BHB motif; tRNA-splicing endonuclease; intron
16.  Altered tRNA characteristics and 3′ maturation in bacterial symbionts with reduced genomes 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(16):7870-7884.
Translational efficiency is controlled by tRNAs and other genome-encoded mechanisms. In organelles, translational processes are dramatically altered because of genome shrinkage and horizontal acquisition of gene products. The influence of genome reduction on translation in endosymbionts is largely unknown. Here, we investigate whether divergent lineages of Buchnera aphidicola, the reduced-genome bacterial endosymbiont of aphids, possess altered translational features compared with their free-living relative, Escherichia coli. Our RNAseq data support the hypothesis that translation is less optimal in Buchnera than in E. coli. We observed a specific, convergent, pattern of tRNA loss in Buchnera and other endosymbionts that have undergone genome shrinkage. Furthermore, many modified nucleoside pathways that are important for E. coli translation are lost in Buchnera. Additionally, Buchnera’s A + T compositional bias has resulted in reduced tRNA thermostability, and may have altered aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase recognition sites. Buchnera tRNA genes are shorter than those of E. coli, as the majority no longer has a genome-encoded 3' CCA; however, all the expressed, shortened tRNAs undergo 3′ CCA maturation. Moreover, expression of tRNA isoacceptors was not correlated with the usage of corresponding codons. Overall, our data suggest that endosymbiont genome evolution alters tRNA characteristics that are known to influence translational efficiency in their free-living relative.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks503
PMCID: PMC3439896  PMID: 22689638
17.  How are tRNAs and mRNA arranged in the ribosome? An attempt to correlate the stereochemistry of the tRNA-mRNA interaction with constraints imposed by the ribosomal topography. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1992;20(11):2627-2637.
Two tRNA molecules at the ribosomal A- and P-sites, with a relatively small angle between the planes of the L-shaped molecules, can be arranged in two mutually exclusive orientations. In one (the 'R'-configuration), the T-loop of the A-site tRNA faces the D-loop of the P-site tRNA, whereas in the other (the 'S'-configuration) the D-loop of the A-site tRNA faces the T-loop of the P-site tRNA. A number of stereochemical arguments, based on the crystal structure of 'free' tRNA, favour the R-configuration. In the ribosome, the CCA-ends of the tRNA molecules are 'fixed' at the base of the central protuberance (the peptidyl transferase centre) of the 50S subunit, and the anticodon loops lie in the neck region (the decoding site) of the 30S subunit. The translocation step is essentially a rotational movement of the tRNA from the A- to the P-site, and there is convincing evidence that the A-site must be located nearest to the L7/L12 protuberance of the 50S subunit. The mRNA in the two codon-anticodon duplexes lies on the 'inside' of the 'elbows' of the tRNA molecules (in both the S-type and R-type configurations), and runs up between the two molecules from the A- to the P-site in the 3' to 5'-direction. These considerations have the consequence that in the S-configuration the mRNA in the codon-anticodon duplexes is directed towards the 50S subunit, whereas in the R-configuration it is directed towards the 30S subunit. The results of site-directed cross-linking experiments, in particular cross-links to mRNA at positions within or very close to the codons interacting with A- or P-site tRNA, favour the latter situation. This conclusion is in direct contradiction to other current models for the arrangement of mRNA and tRNA on the ribosome.
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PMCID: PMC336901  PMID: 1614849
18.  Signature proteins for the major clades of Cyanobacteria 
Background
The phylogeny and taxonomy of cyanobacteria is currently poorly understood due to paucity of reliable markers for identification and circumscription of its major clades.
Results
A combination of phylogenomic and protein signature based approaches was used to characterize the major clades of cyanobacteria. Phylogenetic trees were constructed for 44 cyanobacteria based on 44 conserved proteins. In parallel, Blastp searches were carried out on each ORF in the genomes of Synechococcus WH8102, Synechocystis PCC6803, Nostoc PCC7120, Synechococcus JA-3-3Ab, Prochlorococcus MIT9215 and Prochlor. marinus subsp. marinus CCMP1375 to identify proteins that are specific for various main clades of cyanobacteria. These studies have identified 39 proteins that are specific for all (or most) cyanobacteria and large numbers of proteins for other cyanobacterial clades. The identified signature proteins include: (i) 14 proteins for a deep branching clade (Clade A) of Gloebacter violaceus and two diazotrophic Synechococcus strains (JA-3-3Ab and JA2-3-B'a); (ii) 5 proteins that are present in all other cyanobacteria except those from Clade A; (iii) 60 proteins that are specific for a clade (Clade C) consisting of various marine unicellular cyanobacteria (viz. Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus); (iv) 14 and 19 signature proteins that are specific for the Clade C Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus strains, respectively; (v) 67 proteins that are specific for the Low B/A ecotype Prochlorococcus strains, containing lower ratio of chl b/a2 and adapted to growth at high light intensities; (vi) 65 and 8 proteins that are specific for the Nostocales and Chroococcales orders, respectively; and (vii) 22 and 9 proteins that are uniquely shared by various Nostocales and Oscillatoriales orders, or by these two orders and the Chroococcales, respectively. We also describe 3 conserved indels in flavoprotein, heme oxygenase and protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase proteins that are specific for either Clade C cyanobacteria or for various subclades of Prochlorococcus. Many other conserved indels for cyanobacterial clades have been described recently.
Conclusions
These signature proteins and indels provide novel means for circumscription of various cyanobacterial clades in clear molecular terms. Their functional studies should lead to discovery of novel properties that are unique to these groups of cyanobacteria.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-24
PMCID: PMC2823733  PMID: 20100331
19.  Effects of alterations of primer-binding site sequences on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(10):6198-6206.
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 genomic RNA primer-binding site (PBS) sequence comprises 18 nucleotides which are complementary to those at the 3' end of the replication initiation primer tRNA(3Lys). To investigate the role of the PBS in viral replication, we either deleted the original wild-type PBS (complementary to tRNA(3Lys) or replaced it with DNA sequences complementary to either tRNA(1,2Lys) or tRNA(Phe). Transfection of COS cells with such molecular constructs yielded similar levels of viral progeny that were indistinguishable with regard to viral proteins and tRNA content. Virus particles derived from PBS-deleted molecular clones were noninfectious for MT-4, Jurkat, and CEM-T4 cells. However, infectious viruses were derived from constructs in which the PBS had been altered to sequences complementary to either tRNA(1,2Lys) or tRNA(Phe), although mutated forms showed significant lags in replication efficiency in comparison with wild types. Molecular analysis of reverse-transcribed DNA in cells infected by the mutated viruses indicated that both tRNA(1,2Lys) and tRNA(Phe) could function as primers for reverse transcription during the early stages of infection. Sequencing of full-length proviral DNA, obtained 6 days after infection, revealed the mutated PBS, indicating that a complete cycle of reverse transcription had occurred. During subsequent rounds of infection, reversion of the mutated PBS to wild-type sequences was observed, accompanied by increased production of viral gene products. Reversion to wild-type PBS sequences was confirmed both by specific PCR analysis, using distinct primer pairs, and by direct sequencing of amplified segments. We also performed endogenous in vitro reverse transcription experiments in which synthesis of minus-strand strong-stop viral DNA was primed from a synthetic RNA template containing a PBS complementary to various tRNA isoacceptors. These results showed that tRNA(3Lys) was a much more efficient primer of such reactions than either tRNA(1,2Lys) or tRNA(Phe).
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PMCID: PMC237039  PMID: 7521916
20.  A Comprehensive tRNA Deletion Library Unravels the Genetic Architecture of the tRNA Pool 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(1):e1004084.
Deciphering the architecture of the tRNA pool is a prime challenge in translation research, as tRNAs govern the efficiency and accuracy of the process. Towards this challenge, we created a systematic tRNA deletion library in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, aimed at dissecting the specific contribution of each tRNA gene to the tRNA pool and to the cell's fitness. By harnessing this resource, we observed that the majority of tRNA deletions show no appreciable phenotype in rich medium, yet under more challenging conditions, additional phenotypes were observed. Robustness to tRNA gene deletion was often facilitated through extensive backup compensation within and between tRNA families. Interestingly, we found that within tRNA families, genes carrying identical anti-codons can contribute differently to the cellular fitness, suggesting the importance of the genomic surrounding to tRNA expression. Characterization of the transcriptome response to deletions of tRNA genes exposed two disparate patterns: in single-copy families, deletions elicited a stress response; in deletions of genes from multi-copy families, expression of the translation machinery increased. Our results uncover the complex architecture of the tRNA pool and pave the way towards complete understanding of their role in cell physiology.
Author Summary
Transfer RNAs are an important component of the translation machinery. Despite extensive biochemical investigations, a systems-level investigation of tRNAs' functional roles in physiology, and genetic interactions among them, is lacking. We created a comprehensive tRNA deletion library in yeast and assessed the essentiality of each tRNA in multiple conditions. The majority of tRNA deletions showed no appreciable fitness defect when such strains were grown on rich medium. More challenging environmental conditions, however, revealed a richer set of specific-tRNA phenotypic defects. Co-deletion of tRNA combinations revealed that tRNAs with essential function can be compensated by members of the same or different anti-codon families. We often saw that identical tRNA gene copies contribute deferentially to fitness, suggesting that the genomic context of each gene can affect functionality. Genome-wide expression changes in response to tRNA deletions revealed two different responses. When a deleted tRNA belongs to a family which contains multiple genes with the same anti-codon, the affected cells responded by up-regulating the translation machinery, but upon deletion of singleton tRNAs, the cellular response resembled that of proteotoxic stress. Our tRNA deletion library is a unique resource that paves the way towards fully characterizing the tRNA pool and their role in cell physiology.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004084
PMCID: PMC3894157  PMID: 24453985
21.  Identification of tRNAs incorporated into wild-type and mutant human immunodeficiency virus type 1. 
Journal of Virology  1993;67(6):3246-3253.
We have identified the tRNAs which are incorporated into both wild-type human immunodeficiency virus type 1 strain IIIB (HIV-1IIIB) produced in COS-7 cells transfected with HIV-1 proviral DNA and mutant, noninfectious HIV-1Lai particles produced in a genetically engineered Vero cell line. The mutant proviral DNA contains nucleotides 678 to 8944; i.e., both long terminal repeats and the primer binding site are absent. As analyzed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, both mutant and wild-type HIV-1 contain four major-abundance tRNA species, which include tRNA(1,2Lys), tRNA(3Lys) (the putative primer for HIV-1 reverse transcriptase) and tRNA(Ile). Identification was accomplished by comparing the electrophoretic mobilities and RNase T1 digests with those of tRNA(3Lys) and tRNA(1,2Lys) purified from human placenta and comparing the partial nucleotide sequence at the 3' end of each viral tRNA species with published tRNA sequences. Thus, the absence of the primer binding site in the mutant virus does not affect tRNA(Lys) incorporation into HIV-1. However, only the wild-type virus contains tRNA(3Lys) tightly associated with the viral RNA genome. The identification of the tightly associated tRNA as tRNA(3Lys) is based upon an electrophoretic mobility identical to that of tRNA(3Lys) and the ability of this RNA to hybridize with a tRNA(3Lys)-specific DNA probe. In addition to the four wild-type tRNA species, the mutant HIV-1-like particle contains two tRNA(His) species and three tRNA-sized species that we have been unable to identify. Their absence in wild-type virus makes it unlikely that they are required for viral infectivity.
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PMCID: PMC237665  PMID: 8497049
22.  Preferential Completion of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Proviruses Initiated with tRNA3Lys rather than tRNA1,2Lys 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(7):5464-5471.
All retroviral genomes contain a nucleotide sequence designated as the primer binding site (PBS) which is complementary to the tRNA used for initiation of reverse transcription. For human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), all naturally occurring genomes have a PBS complementary to tRNA3Lys. However, within HIV-1 virions, there are approximately equal amounts of tRNA1Lys, tRNA2Lys, and tRNA3Lys. We have used an endogenous reverse transcription-PCR technique specific for the tRNA species within isolated HIV-1 virions to demonstrate that in addition to tRNA3Lys, tRNA1Lys and tRNA2Lys could be used for initiation of HIV-1 reverse transcription. Using a single-round infection assay which employed an HIV-1 genome with a gpt gene encoding xanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase in place of the env gene, we generated cell lines resistant to mycophenolic acid. Analysis of the U5-PBS from single-cell clones revealed PBS complementary to tRNA3Lys, not tRNA1Lys or tRNA2Lys. A mutant HIV-1 genome was then created which would favor the completion of reverse transcription with tRNA1,2Lys. Using this provirus in the complementation system, we again found only genomes with a PBS complementary to tRNA3Lys from proviral DNA isolated from gpt-resistant single-cell colonies. Finally, infection of cells with a mutant HIV genome with a PBS complementary to tRNA1,2Lys resulted in gpt- resistant cell colonies which contained integrated provirions with a PBS complementary to tRNA1,2Lys. The results of these studies suggest that the selection of tRNA3Lys for initiation of HIV-1 reverse transcription occurs both at the initiation and at a postinitiation step in reverse transcription prior to integration of the proviral DNA.
PMCID: PMC110184  PMID: 9621002
23.  Mitochondrial tRNA 3′ end metabolism and human disease 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(18):5430-5441.
Over 150 mutations in the mitochondrial genome have been shown to be associated with human disease. Remarkably, two-thirds of them are found in tRNA genes, which constitute only one-tenth of the mitochondrial genome. A total of 22 tRNAs punctuate the genome and are produced together with 11 mRNAs and 2 rRNAs from long polycistronic primary transcripts with almost no spacers. Pre-tRNAs thus require precise endonucleolytic excision. Furthermore, the CCA triplet which forms the 3′ end of all tRNAs is not encoded, but must be synthesized by the CCA-adding enzyme after 3′ end cleavage. Amino acid attachment to the CCA of mature tRNA is performed by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, which, like the preceding processing enzymes, are nuclear-encoded and imported into mitochondria. Here, we critically review the effectiveness and reliability of evidence obtained from reactions with in vitro transcripts that pathogenesis-associated mutant mitochondrial tRNAs can lead to deficiencies in tRNA 3′ end metabolism (3′ end cleavage, CCA addition and aminoacylation) toward an understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying human tRNA disorders. These defects probably contribute, individually and cumulatively, to the progression of human mitochondrial diseases.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkh884
PMCID: PMC524294  PMID: 15477393
24.  Minimal sequence requirements of a functional human immunodeficiency virus type 1 primer binding site. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(3):1605-1614.
The initiation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcription occurs by the extension of a tRNA(3Lys) primer bound near the 5' end of the genomic RNA at a position termed the primer binding site (PBS). The PBS is an 18-nucleotide sequence of the HIV-1 genome which is complementary to the 3'-terminal 18 nucleotides of the tRNA(3Lys). To investigate the sequence specificity of the interaction between tRNA(3Lys) and the PBS, we have constructed proviral genomes containing mutations in the PBS region. A mutant PBS was constructed in which the 18 nucleotides complementary to tRNA(3Lys) were substituted with 18 nucleotides predicted to be complementary to the 3'-terminal bases of a tRNA(Phe) molecule [pHXB2PBS(phe)]. A second proviral genome was constructed in which the PBS complementary to tRNA(Phe) was changed such that the first six nucleotides correspond to the wild-type PBS [pHXB2PBS(pheC)]. In all models of reverse transcription, the complementarity between the minus- and plus-strand PBS DNA facilitates the template switch and elongation of plus-strand DNA, resulting in a complete proviral genome. To test this model, we have inserted a five-nucleotide sequence 6 bp 3' of the mutant PBSs, which corresponds to the last five nucleotides of the wild-type PBSs [pHXB2PBS(phe+5) and pHXB2PBS(pheC+5)]. Transfection of plasmids containing the wild-type or mutant proviral genomes into COS-1 cells resulted in similar levels of intracellular expression of HIV-1 gag and env gene products as determined by immunoprecipitation with sera from AIDS patients and release of virus as determined by p24 assay. Transfection of pHXB2PBS(phe) or pHXB2PBS(phe+5) did not result in the production of infectious virus, while replication-competent viruses from cells transfected with pHXB2PBS(pheC) were detected very infrequently. Transfection of pHXB2PBS(pheC+5), however, consistently resulted in the production of infectious virus, although the appearance of the virus was delayed compared with those from cells transfected with pHXB2(wild type). Reinfection of SupT1 cells with equal amounts of p24 antigen resulted in similar kinetics of replication. PCR was used to amplify the PBS, and individual DNA products were subcloned into M13mp18. Sequence analysis of the PBS region of integrated proviruses derived from transfection of pHXB2PBS(pheC+5) revealed that the 18-nucleotide PBS complementary to tRNA(3Lys) was regenerated with a deletion of 6 bp 3' to the PBS region in all phage clones examined.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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PMCID: PMC236618  PMID: 7508999
25.  Effect of intron mutations on processing and function of Saccharomyces cerevisiae SUP53 tRNA in vitro and in vivo. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1986;6(7):2663-2673.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae leucine-inserting amber suppressor tRNA gene SUP53 (a tRNALeu3 allele) was used to investigate the relationship between precursor tRNA structure and mature tRNA function. This gene encodes a pre-tRNA which contains a 32-base intron. The mature tRNASUP53 contains a 5-methylcytosine modification of the anticodon wobble base. Mutations were made in the SUP53 intron. These mutant genes were transcribed in an S. cerevisiae nuclear extract preparation. In this extract, primary tRNA gene transcripts are end-processed and base modified after addition of cofactors. The base modifications made in vitro were examined, and the mutant pre-tRNAs were analyzed for their ability to serve as substrates for partially purified S. cerevisiae tRNA endonuclease and ligase. Finally, the suppressor function of these mutant tRNA genes was assayed after their integration into the S. cerevisiae genome. Mutant analysis showed that the totally intact precursor tRNA, rather than any specific sequence or structure of the intron, was necessary for efficient nonsense suppression by tRNASUP53. Less efficient suppressor activity correlated with the absence of the 5-methylcytosine modification. Most of the intron-altered precursor tRNAs were successfully spliced in vitro, indicating that modifications are not critical for recognition by the tRNA endonuclease and ligase.
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PMCID: PMC367823  PMID: 3537724

Results 1-25 (840768)