Klebsiella pneumoniae causes neonatal sepsis and nosocomial infections. One of the strains, K. pneumoniae MGH 78578, shows high level of resistance to multiple microbial agents. In this study, domain family, amino acid sequence and topology analyses were performed on one of its hypothetical protein, YggG (KPN_03358). Structural bioinformatics approaches were used to predict the structure and functionality of YggG protein. The open reading frame (ORF) of yggG, which was a putative metalloprotease gene, was also cloned, expressed and characterized. The ORF was PCR amplified from K. pneumoniae MGH 78578 genomic DNA and cloned into a pET14-b vector for heterologous expression in Escherichia coli. The purified YggG protein was subsequently assayed for casein hydrolysis under different conditions. This protein was classified as peptidase M48 family and subclan gluzincin. It was predicted to contain one transmembrane domain by TMpred. Optimal protein expression was achieved by induction with 0.6 mM isopropyl thiogalactoside (IPTG) at 25 °C for six hours. YggG was purified as soluble protein and confirmed to be proteolytically active under the presence of 1.25 mM zinc acetate and showed optimum activity at 37 °C and pH 7.4. We confirmed for the first time that the yggG gene product is a zinc-dependent metalloprotease.
Klebsiella pneumoniae MGH 78578; yggG gene; KPN_03358; metalloprotease; HEXXH motif
The anonymous open reading frame yggA of Escherichia coli was identified in this study as a gene that is under the transcriptional control of argP (previously called iciA), which encodes a LysR-type transcriptional regulator protein. Strains with null mutations in either yggA or argP were supersensitive to the arginine analog canavanine, and yggA-lac expression in vivo exhibited argP+-dependent induction by arginine. Lysine supplementation phenocopied the argP null mutation in that it virtually abolished yggA expression, even in the argP+ strain. The dipeptides arginylalanine and lysylalanine behaved much like arginine and lysine, respectively, to induce and to turn off yggA transcription. Dominant missense mutations in argP (argPd) that conferred canavanine resistance and rendered yggA-lac expression constitutive were obtained. The protein deduced to be encoded by yggA shares similarity with a basic amino acid exporter (LysE) of Corynebacterium glutamicum, and we obtained evidence for increased arginine efflux from E. coli strains with either the argPd mutation or multicopy yggA+. The null yggA mutation abolished the increased arginine efflux from the argPd strain. Our results suggest that yggA encodes an ArgP-regulated arginine exporter, and we have accordingly renamed it argO (for “arginine outward transport”). We propose that the physiological function of argO may be either to prevent the accumulation to toxic levels of canavanine (which is a plant-derived antimetabolite) or arginine or to maintain an appropriate balance between the intracellular lysine and arginine concentrations.
Trypanosoma brucei lacks mitochondrial genes encoding tRNAs and must import nuclearly encoded tRNAs from the cytosol. The mechanism and specificity of this process remain unclear. We have identified a unique sequence motif, YGG(C/A)RRC, upstream of the genes encoding mitochondrially localized tRNAs in T. brucei. Both in vitro import studies and in vivo transfection studies indicate that deletion of the YGG(C/A)RRC sequence alters mitochondrial localization of tRNALeu, and in vivo studies also show a decrease in the cellular abundance of tRNALeu. These studies provide direct evidence for cis-acting RNA motifs within precursor tRNAs that facilitate the selection of tRNAs for mitochondrial import in trypanosomes. Furthermore, we found that mutations to the YGG(C/A)RRC sequence also altered the intracellular distribution of other endogenous tRNAs, suggesting a general role for this sequence in tRNA trafficking in trypanosomes.
tRNA (m7G46) methyltransferase from E. coli was overexpressed, purified and crystallized. Diffraction data were collected to 2.04 Å resolution.
Transfer RNA (tRNA) (m7G46) methyltransferase (TrmB) belongs to the Rossmann-fold methyltransferase (RFM) family and uses S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) as the methyl-group donor to catalyze the formation of N
7-methylguanosine (m7G) at position 46 in the variable loop of tRNAs. After attempts to crystallize full-length Escherichia coli TrmB (EcTrmB) failed, a truncated protein lacking the first 32 residues of the N-terminus but with an additional His6 tag at the C-terminus was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG 3350) as precipitant at 283 K. An X-ray diffraction data set was collected using a single flash-cooled crystal that belonged to space group P21.
tRNA (m7G46) methyltransferase; Rossmann-fold methyltransferase family
Genomic studies with bacteria have identified redox-responsive genes without known roles in counteracting oxidative damage. Previous transcriptional profiling showed that expression of one such gene, yggX, was activated by superoxide stress in Escherichia coli. Here we show that this activation could be mimicked by artificial expression of the regulatory protein SoxS. Northern analysis confirmed the transcriptional activation of yggX by oxidative stress or SoxS expression but not in response to the related MarA or Rob proteins. Northern analysis showed that mltC, which codes for a peptidoglycan hydrolase and is positioned immediately downstream of yggX, was also regulated by oxidative stress or ectopic expression of SoxS. Purified SoxS protein bound to the predicted yggX promoter region, between positions 223 and 163 upstream from the yggX translational start site. Within this region, a 20-bp sequence was found to be necessary for oxidative stress-mediated activation of yggX transcription. A yggX deletion strain was hypersensitive to the redox-cycling agent paraquat, and a plasmid expressing YggX complemented the sensitivity of the deletion strain. Under exposure to paraquat, the yggX deletion strain showed a deficiency in aconitase activity compared to the isogenic wild-type strain, while expression of YggX from a multicopy plasmid increased the aconitase levels above those of the wild-type strain. These results demonstrate the direct regulation of the yggX gene by the redox-sensing SoxRS system and provide further evidence for the involvement of yggX in protection of iron-sulfur proteins against oxidative damage.
Unlike other transfer RNAs (tRNA)-modifying enzymes from the SPOUT methyltransferase superfamily, the tRNA (Um34/Cm34) methyltransferase TrmL lacks the usual extension domain for tRNA binding and consists only of a SPOUT domain. Both the catalytic and tRNA recognition mechanisms of this enzyme remain elusive. By using tRNAs purified from an Escherichia coli strain with the TrmL gene deleted, we found that TrmL can independently catalyze the methyl transfer from S-adenosyl-L-methionine to and isoacceptors without the involvement of other tRNA-binding proteins. We have solved the crystal structures of TrmL in apo form and in complex with S-adenosyl-homocysteine and identified the cofactor binding site and a possible active site. Methyltransferase activity and tRNA-binding affinity of TrmL mutants were measured to identify residues important for tRNA binding of TrmL. Our results suggest that TrmL functions as a homodimer by using the conserved C-terminal half of the SPOUT domain for catalysis, whereas residues from the less-conserved N-terminal half of the other subunit participate in tRNA recognition.
Formation of 5-methyluridine (ribothymidine) at position 54 of the T-psi loop of tRNA is catalyzed by site-specific tRNA methyltransferases (tRNA:m5U-54 MTase). In all Eukarya and many Gram-negative Bacteria, the methyl donor for this reaction is S-adenosyl-l-methionine (S-AdoMet), while in several Gram-positive Bacteria, the source of carbon is N5, N10-methylenetetrahydrofolate (CH2H4folate). We have identified the gene for Bacillus subtilis tRNA:m5U-54 MTase. The encoded recombinant protein contains tightly bound flavin and is active in Escherichia coli mutant lacking m5U-54 in tRNAs and in vitro using T7 tRNA transcript as substrate. This gene is currently annotated gid in Genome Data Banks and it is here renamed trmFO. TrmFO (Gid) orthologs have also been identified in many other bacterial genomes and comparison of their amino acid sequences reveals that they are phylogenetically distinct from either ThyA or ThyX class of thymidylate synthases, which catalyze folate-dependent formation of deoxyribothymine monophosphate, the universal DNA precursor.
Purified bulk tRNA from Methanococcus vanielii (carbon source, formate) showed variation in the modified nucleoside pattern reported for Escherichia coli as analyzed by both ion-exchange and thin-layer chromatography. Ribothymidine and 7-methylguanosine were absent; 1-methyladenosine, 1-methylguanosine, N2-methylguanosine, N2,N2-dimethylguanosine, thiolated nucleosides, pseudouridine, dihydrouridine, and O2'-methylcytidine were quantitated. In vitro methylation by M. Vannielii extracts with S-adenosylmethionine and undermethylated E. coli tRNA revealed active tRNA methyltransferases for formation of methylated residues found in native M. vannielii tRNA, but none for the formation of 7-methylguanosine or ribothymidine. The native M. vannielii tRNA became methylated in the 7-methylguanosine position by E. Coli extracts, but ribothymidine was not formed. Both M. vannielii and E. coli tRNA methyltransferases produced unidentified methylated residues in tRNA's lacking or deficient in ribothymidine.
The 5-methyluridine is invariably found at position 54 in the TΨC loop of tRNAs of most organisms. In Pyrococcus abyssi, its formation is catalyzed by the S-adenosyl-l-methionine-dependent tRNA (uracil-54, C5)-methyltransferase (PabTrmU54), an enzyme that emerged through an ancient horizontal transfer of an RNA (uracil, C5)-methyltransferase-like gene from bacteria to archaea. The crystal structure of PabTrmU54 in complex with S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine at 1.9 Å resolution shows the protein organized into three domains like Escherichia coli RumA, which catalyzes the same reaction at position 1939 of 23S rRNA. A positively charged groove at the interface between the three domains probably locates part of the tRNA-binding site of PabTrmU54. We show that a mini-tRNA lacking both the D and anticodon stem-loops is recognized by PabTrmU54. These results were used to model yeast tRNAAsp in the PabTrmU54 structure to get further insights into the different RNA specificities of RumA and PabTrmU54. Interestingly, the presence of two flexible loops in the central domain, unique to PabTrmU54, may explain the different substrate selectivities of both enzymes. We also predict that a large TΨC loop conformational change has to occur for the flipping of the target uridine into the PabTrmU54 active site during catalysis.
Seven transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) methylase mutants were isolated from Escherichia coli K-12 by examining the ability of RNA prepared from clones of unselected mutagenized cells to accept methyl groups from S-adenosylmethionine catalyzed by crude enzymes from wild-type cells. Five of the mutants had an altered uracil-tRNA methylase; consequently their tRNA's lacked ribothymidine. One mutant had tRNA deficient in 7-methylguanosine, and one mutant contained tRNA lacking 2-thio-5-methylaminomethyluridine. The genetic loci of the three tRNA methylase mutants were distributed over the E. coli genome. The mutant strain deficient in 7-methylguanosine biosynthesis showed a reduced efficiency in the suppression of amber mutations carried by T4 or lambda phages.
DNA microarray analysis showed that yfiD, yggB, and yggE genes were up-regulated when superoxide dismutase (SOD)-deficient Escherichia coli IM303 (I4) was cultivated under the oxidative stress generated by photoexcited TiO2, and pYFD, pYGB, and pYGE were constructed by inserting the respective genes into a pUC 19 vector. The content of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in IM303 (I4) cells carrying pYGE was reduced to 31% of ROS content in the control cells with pUC 19. In the culture of wild-type strain, E. coli MM294, in the medium with paraquat (10 μmol/l), maximum specific growth rate of the cells with pYGE was about five times higher than that of the control cells, with a decreased ROS content in the former cells. The introduction of pYGE also suppressed the occurrence of the cells with altered amino acid requirement in the culture of MM294 cells with paraquat.
Plumbagin is found in many herbal plants and inhibits the growth of various bacteria. Escherichia coli strains are relatively resistant to this drug. The mechanism of resistance is not clear. Previous findings showed that plumbagin treatment triggered up-regulation of many genes in E. coli including ahpC, mdaB, nfnB, nfo, sodA, yggX and ygfZ. By analyzing minimal inhibition concentration and inhibition zones of plumbagin in various gene-disruption mutants, ygfZ and sodA were found critical for the bacteria to resist plumbagin toxicity. We also found that the roles of YgfZ and SodA in detoxifying plumbagin are independent of each other. This is because of the fact that ectopically expressed SodA reduced the superoxide stress but not restore the resistance of bacteria when encountering plumbagin at the absence of ygfZ. On the other hand, an ectopically expressed YgfZ was unable to complement and failed to rescue the plumbagin resistance when sodA was perturbed. Furthermore, mutagenesis analysis showed that residue Cys228 within YgfZ fingerprint region was critical for the resistance of E. coli to plumbagin. By solvent extraction and HPLC analysis to follow the fate of the chemical, it was found that plumbagin vanished apparently from the culture of YgfZ-expressing E. coli. A less toxic form, methylated plumbagin, which may represent one of the YgfZ-dependent metabolites, was found in the culture supernatant of the wild type E. coli but not in the ΔygfZ mutant. Our results showed that the presence of ygfZ is not only critical for the E coli resistance to plumbagin but also facilitates the plumbagin degradation.
Strains of Salmonella enterica lacking YggX and the cellular reductant glutathione exhibit defects similar to those resulting from iron deficiency and oxidative stress. Mutant strains are sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and superoxide, deregulate the expression of the Fur-regulated gene entB, and fail to grow on succinate medium. Suppression of some yggX gshA mutant phenotypes by the cell-permeable iron chelator deferoxamine allowed the conclusion that increased levels of cellular Fenton chemistry played a role in the growth defects. The data presented are consistent with a scenario in which glutathione acts as a physiological chelator of the labile iron pool and in which YggX acts upstream of the labile iron pool by preventing superoxide toxicity.
This paper describes the regulation of a transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) biosynthetic enzyme, the tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase (EC 188.8.131.52). This enzyme catalyzes the formation of 5-methyluridine (m5U, ribothymidine) in all tRNA chains of Escherichia coli. Partial deprivation of charged tRNAVal can be imposed by shifting strains carrying a temperature-sensitive valyl-tRNA ligase from a permissive to a semipermissive temperature. By using two such strains differing only in the allelic state of the relA gene, it was possible to show the tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase to be stringently regulated. Upon partial deprivation of charged tRNAVal, the differential rate of tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase synthesis was found to decrease in a strain with stringent RNA control (relA+), whereas it increased in the strain carrying the relA allele. This increase of accumulation of tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase activity required protein synthesis. Thus, when tRNA is partially uncharged in the cell, the relA gene product influences the expression of tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase gene.
Escherichia coli encodes a bifunctional oxidase/methyltransferase catalyzing the final steps of methylaminomethyluridine (mnm5U) formation in tRNA wobble positions.
Aquifex aeolicus encodes only a monofunctional aminomethyluridine-dependent methyltransferase, lacking the oxidase domain.
Conclusion: An alternative pathway exists for mnm5U biogenesis.
Significance: Information about how an organism modifies the wobble base of its tRNA is important for understanding the emergence of the genetic code.
Post-transcriptional modifications of the wobble uridine (U34) of tRNAs play a critical role in reading NNA/G codons belonging to split codon boxes. In a subset of Escherichia coli tRNA, this wobble uridine is modified to 5-methylaminomethyluridine (mnm5U34) through sequential enzymatic reactions. Uridine 34 is first converted to 5-carboxymethylaminomethyluridine (cmnm5U34) by the MnmE-MnmG enzyme complex. The cmnm5U34 is further modified to mnm5U by the bifunctional MnmC protein. In the first reaction, the FAD-dependent oxidase domain (MnmC1) converts cmnm5U into 5-aminomethyluridine (nm5U34), and this reaction is immediately followed by the methylation of the free amino group into mnm5U34 by the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent domain (MnmC2). Aquifex aeolicus lacks a bifunctional MnmC protein fusion and instead encodes the Rossmann-fold protein DUF752, which is homologous to the methyltransferase MnmC2 domain of Escherichia coli MnmC (26% identity). Here, we determined the crystal structure of the A. aeolicus DUF752 protein at 2.5 Å resolution, which revealed that it catalyzes the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methylation of nm5U in vitro, to form mnm5U34 in tRNA. We also showed that naturally occurring tRNA from A. aeolicus contains the 5-mnm group attached to the C5 atom of U34. Taken together, these results support the recent proposal of an alternative MnmC1-independent shortcut pathway for producing mnm5U34 in tRNAs.
Crystal Structure; RNA Methyltransferase; RNA Modification; S-Adenosylmethionine (AdoMet); Transfer RNA (tRNA); Genetic Code; tRNA Anticodon; Wobble Uridine
Enzymes catalyzing the transfer of methyl groups from S-adenosyl-l-methionine to a precursor transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) and forming 5-methyluridine (m5U), 1-methylguanine (m1G), or 5-methylaminomethyl-2-thio-uridine (mam5s2U) are denoted tRNA(m5U)-(EC 184.108.40.206), tRNA(m1G)-(EC 220.127.116.11), and tRNA(mam5s2U)methyltransferase. We have studied the regulation of these tRNA biosynthetic enzymes in Escherichia coli under various physiological conditions and in bacterial mutants known to affect the regulation of components of the translational apparatus. Such studies have revealed that tRNA(m5U)-methyltransferase increases with the growth rate in the same fashion as stable RNA, whereas the activity of two other tRNA methyltransferases remains constant in relation to the growth rate. Thus, these tRNA biosynthetic enzymes were not coordinately regulated. Regulation of both tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase and stable RNA was similar during shift-up and shift-down experiments. This enzyme showed a stringent regulation in relA+ strain (T. Ny and G. R. Björk, J. Bacteriol. 130:635–641, 1977) but also in two temperature-sensitive mutants, fusA and fusB, known to influence the accumulation of guanosine 5′-diphosphate 3′-diphosphate and RNA synthesis at nonpermissive temperatures. The tRNA(m5U)methyltransferase showed a gene dose effect when its structural gene, trmA, was carried on a plasmid or on λ transducing phages. Although the regulation of tRNA-(m5U)methyltransferase was surprisingly coupled to that of stable RNA, this enzyme was expressed at a much lower level.
A 7-methylguanine (m7G) specific tRNA methyltransferase from E. coli MRE 600 was purified about 1000 fold by affinity chromatography on Sepharose bound with normal E. coli tRNA. The purified enzyme catalyzes exclusively the formation of m7G in submethylated bulk tRNA of E. coli K12 met- rel-. The purified enzyme transfers the methyl group from S-adenosyl-methionine to initiator tRNA of B. subtilis and 0.8 moles m7G residues are formed per mole tRNA. It is suggested that the enzyme specifically recognizes the extra arm unpaired guanylate residue.
The S-adenosyl-l-methionine dependent methylation of adenine 58 in the T-loop of tRNAs is essential for cell growth in yeast or for adaptation to high temperatures in thermophilic organisms. In contrast to bacterial and eukaryotic tRNA m1A58 methyltransferases that are site-specific, the homologous archaeal enzyme from Pyrococcus abyssi catalyzes the formation of m1A also at the adjacent position 57, m1A57 being a precursor of 1-methylinosine. We report here the crystal structure of P. abyssi tRNA m1A57/58 methyltransferase (PabTrmI), in complex with S-adenosyl-l-methionine or S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine in three different space groups. The fold of the monomer and the tetrameric architecture are similar to those of the bacterial enzymes. However, the inter-monomer contacts exhibit unique features. In particular, four disulfide bonds contribute to the hyperthermostability of the archaeal enzyme since their mutation lowers the melting temperature by 16.5°C. His78 in conserved motif X, which is present only in TrmIs from the Thermococcocales order, lies near the active site and displays two alternative conformations. Mutagenesis indicates His78 is important for catalytic efficiency of PabTrmI. When A59 is absent in tRNAAsp, only A57 is modified. Identification of the methylated positions in tRNAAsp by mass spectrometry confirms that PabTrmI methylates the first adenine of an AA sequence.
We have evidence that the open reading frame previously denoted spoU is necessary for tRNA (Gm18) 2'-O-methyltransferase activity. The spoU gene is located in the gmk-rpoZ-spoT-spoU-recG operon at 82 minutes on the Escherichia coli chromosome. The deduced amino acid sequence of spoU shows strong similarities to previously characterized 2'-O-methyltransferases. Comparison of the nucleoside modification pattern of hydrolyzed tRNA, 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA from wild-type and spoU null mutants showed that the modified nucleoside 2'-O-methylguanosine (Gm), present in a subset of E. coli tRNAs at residue 18, is completely absent in the spoU mutant, suggesting that spoU encodes tRNA (Gm18) 2'-O-methyltransferase. Nucleoside modification of 16S and 23S rRNA was unaffected in the spoU mutant. Insertions in the downstream recG gene did not affect RNA modification. Absence of Gm18 in tRNA does not influence growth rate under the tested conditions and does not interfere with activity of the SupF amber suppressor, a suppressor tRNA that normally has the Gm18 modification. We suggest that the spoU gene be renamed trmH (tRNA methylation).
As components involved in Fe-S cluster metabolism are described, the challenge becomes defining the integrated process that occurs in vivo based on the individual functions characterized in vitro. Strains lacking yggX have been used here to mimic chronic oxidative stress and uncover subtle defects in Fe-S cluster metabolism. We describe the in vivo similarities and differences between isc mutants, which have a known function in cluster assembly, and mutants disrupted in four additional loci, gshA, apbC, apbE, and rseC. The latter mutants share similarities with isc mutants: (i) a sensitivity to oxidative stress, (ii) a thiamine auxotrophy in the absence of the YggX protein, and (iii) decreased activities of Fe-S proteins, including aconitase, succinate dehydrogenase, and MiaB. However, they differ from isc mutants by displaying a phenotypic dependence on metals and a distinct defect in the SoxRS response to superoxides. Results presented herein support the proposed role of YggX in iron trafficking and protection against oxidative stress, describe additional phenotypes of isc mutants, and suggest a working model in which the ApbC, ApbE, and RseC proteins and glutathione participate in Fe-S cluster repair.
An unusual class of wheat germ tRNAs has been isolated which completely lacks ribothymidine (rT) and contains an unmodified uridine in its place. We discuss here the isolation, identification and properties of these tRNAs. The rT-lacking tRNAs of wheat germ are essentially limited to the glycine isoacceptors (a minimum of five identifiable species), three threonine and at least, one tyrosine tRNA. All tRNAs were obtained 70-100% pure by chromatographic methods, and were detected by their ability to be methylated by E. coli rT-forming uracil methyltransferase with methyl-labeled S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) as the methyl donor. In vitro methylation of each of the tRNAs resulted in the formation of 1 mole of rT per mole of tRNA. In the one case analyzed in detail (tRNA1Gly), all of the rT was found to be located at the 23rd position from the 3' end of the tRNA molecule. Following complete digestion of four highly purified glycine isoacceptors (tRNAGly1,4,5,6) to nucleosides and subsequent periodate oxidation and 3H potassium borohydride reduction, all were found to contain an unusually high level of 5-methylcytidine (m5C) (3-4 residues per molecule), and all contained no rT. The possible correlation between the presence of m5C and the absence of rT is discussed. All of the chromatographically purified glycine tRNAs function in a wheat germ cell-free protein synthesizing system and polymerize glycine in response to either poly G or poly (G, U).
Two tRNA methyltransferase mutants, isolated as described in the accompanying paper (G.R. Björk and K. Kjellin-Stråby, J. Bacteriol. 133:499-207, 1978), are biochemicaaly and genetically characterized. tRNA from mutant IB13 lacks 5-methylaminomethyl-2-thio-uridine in vivo due to a permanently nonfunctional methyltransferase. Thus tRNA from this mutant is a specific substrate for the corresponding tRNA methyltransferase in vitro. In spite of this defect in tRNA, such a mutant is viable. Mutant IB11 is conditionally defective in the biosynthesis of 1-methylguanosine in tRNA due to a temperature-sensitive tRNA (1-methyl-guanosine) methyltransferase. In mutant cells grown at a high temperature, the level of 1-methylguanosine in bulk tRNA is 20% of that of the wild type, demonstrating that in this mutant an 80% deficiency of 1-methylguanosine in tRNA is not lethal. Genetically these two distinct lesions, trmC2, causing 5=methylaminomethyl-2-thio-uridine deficiency, and trmD1, giving a temperature-sensitive tRNA (1-methylguanosine)methyltransferase, are both located between 50 and 61 min on the Escherichia coli chromosome.
The tRNA(m5U54)methyltransferase, whose structural gene is designated trmA, catalyzes the formation of 5-methyluridine in position 54 of all tRNA species in Escherichia coli. The synthesis of this enzyme has previously been shown to be both growth rate dependent and stringently regulated, suggesting regulatory features similar to those of rRNA. We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the trmA operon in E. coli and the sequence of the trmA promoter region in Salmonella typhimurium and also analyzed the transcriptional regulation of the gene. The trmA and the btuB (encoding the vitamin B12 outer membrane receptor protein) promoters are divergent promoters separated by 102 bp between the transcriptional start sites. The trmA promoters of both E. coli and S. typhimurium share promoter elements with the rRNA P1 promoter. The sequence downstream from the -10 region of the trmA promoter is homologous to the discriminatory region found in stringently regulated promoters. Next to and upstream from the -10 region is a sequence, TCCC, in the trmA promoter that is present in all of the seven rRNA P1 promoters and in some tRNA promoters but not in any other sigma 70 promoter. However, a similar motif is also found in promoters transcribed by the heat shock sigma factor sigma 32. The trmA gene is transcribed as a monocistronic operon, and the 3' end of the transcript is shown to be located downstream from a dyad symmetry region not followed by a poly(U) stretch. Using a trmA-cat operon fusion, we show that the growth rate-dependent regulation of trmA resembles that of rRNA and operates at the level of transcription.
The Escherichia coli trmA gene encodes the tRNA(m5U54)methyltransferase, which catalyses the formation of m5U54 in tRNA. During the synthesis of m5U54, a covalent 62-kDa TrmA-tRNA intermediate is formed between the amino acid C324 of the enzyme and the 6-carbon of uracil. We have analysed the formation of this TrmA-tRNA intermediate and m5U54 in vivo, using mutants with altered TrmA. We show that the amino acids F188, Q190, G220, D299, R302, C324 and E358, conserved in the C-terminal catalytic domain of several RNA(m5U)methyltransferases of the COG2265 family, are important for the formation of the TrmA-tRNA intermediate and/or the enzymatic activity. These amino acids seem to have the same function as the ones present in the catalytic domain of RumA, whose structure is known, and which catalyses the formation of m5U in position 1939 of E. coli 23 S rRNA. We propose that the unusually high in vivo level of the TrmA-tRNA intermediate in wild-type cells may be due to a suboptimal cellular concentration of SAM, which is required to resolve this intermediate. Our results are consistent with the modular evolution of RNA(m5U)methyltransferases, in which the specificity of the enzymatic reaction is achieved by combining the conserved catalytic domain with different RNA-binding domains.
The minor base composition of Mycobacterium smegmatis tRNA has been studied. Thin-layer chromatographic patterns of a ribonuclease T2 digest of mycobacterial tRNA indicated the presence of appreciable amounts of 1-methyladenosine (which is commonly present only in eucaryotic tRNA), dihydrouridine, and 7-methylguanosine. Ribothymidine was absent. The S-adenosylmethionine-dependent tRNA methylases of M. smegmatis catalyzed the formation of 1-methyladenosine when Escherichia coli tRNA was used as acceptor. Similarly, E. coli extracts methylated the tRNA of M. smegmatis, forming ribothymidine.