Single atom modification (O-->S) of tRNA confers ribosome binding.
Escherichia coli tRNALysSUU, as well as human tRNALys3SUU, has 2-thiouridine derivatives at wobble position 34 (s2U*34). Unlike the native tRNALysSUU, the full-length, unmodified transcript of human tRNALys3UUU and the unmodified tRNALys3UUU anticodon stem/loop (ASLLys3UUU) did not bind AAA- or AAG-programmed ribosomes. In contrast, the completely unmodified yeast tRNAPhe anticodon stem/loop (ASLPheGAA) had an affinity (Kd = 136+/-49 nM) similar to that of native yeast tRNAPheGmAA (Kd = 103+/-19 nM). We have found that the single, site-specific substitution of s2U34 for U34 to produce the modified ASLLysSUU was sufficient to restore ribosomal binding. The modified ASLLysSUU bound the ribosome with an affinity (Kd = 176+/-62 nM) comparable to that of native tRNALysSUU (Kd = 70+/-7 nM). Furthermore, in binding to the ribosome, the modified ASLLys3SUU produced the same 16S P-site tRNA footprint as did native E. coli tRNALysSUU, yeast tRNAPheGmAA, and the unmodified ASLPheGAA. The unmodified ASLLys3UUU had no footprint at all. Investigations of thermal stability and structure monitored by UV spectroscopy and NMR showed that the dynamic conformation of the loop of modified ASLLys3SUU was different from that of the unmodified ASLLysUUU, whereas the stems were isomorphous. Based on these and other data, we conclude that s2U34 in tRNALysSUU and in other s2U34-containing tRNAs is critical for generating an anticodon conformation that leads to effective codon interaction in all organisms. This is the first example of a single atom substitution (U34-->s2U34) that confers the property of ribosomal binding on an otherwise inactive tRNA. (+info
The presence of pseudouridine in the anticodon alters the genetic code: a possible mechanism for assignment of the AAA lysine codon as asparagine in echinoderm mitochondria.
It has been inferred from DNA sequence analyses that in echinoderm mitochondria not only the usual asparagine codons AAU and AAC, but also the usual lysine codon AAA, are translated as asparagine by a single mitochondrial (mt) tRNAAsn with the anticodon GUU. Nucleotide sequencing of starfish mt tRNAAsn revealed that the anticodon is GPsiU, U35 at the anticodon second position being modified to pseudouridine (Psi). In contrast, mt tRNALys, corresponding to another lysine codon, AAG, has the anticodon CUU. mt tRNAs possessing anti-codons closely related to that of tRNAAsn, but responsible for decoding only two codons each-tRNAHis, tRNAAsp and tRNATyr-were found to possess unmodified U35 in all cases, suggesting the importance of Psi35 for decoding the three codons. Therefore, the decoding capabilities of two synthetic Escherichia coli tRNAAla variants with the anticodon GPsiU or GUU were examined using an E.coli in vitro translation system. Both tRNAs could translate not only AAC and AAU with similar efficiency, but also AAA with an efficiency that was approximately 2-fold higher in the case of tRNAAlaGPsiU than tRNAAlaGUU. These findings imply that Psi35 of echinoderm mt tRNAAsn actually serves to decode the unusual asparagine codon AAA, resulting in the alteration of the genetic code in echinoderm mitochondria. (+info
A cytotoxic ribonuclease targeting specific transfer RNA anticodons.
The carboxyl-terminal domain of colicin E5 was shown to inhibit protein synthesis of Escherichia coli. Its target, as revealed through in vivo and in vitro experiments, was not ribosomes as in the case of E3, but the transfer RNAs (tRNAs) for Tyr, His, Asn, and Asp, which contain a modified base, queuine, at the wobble position of each anticodon. The E5 carboxyl-terminal domain hydrolyzed these tRNAs just on the 3' side of this nucleotide. Tight correlation was observed between the toxicity of E5 and the cleavage of intracellular tRNAs of this group, implying that these tRNAs are the primary targets of colicin E5. (+info
Secondary structure of the C-terminal domain of the tyrosyl-transfer RNA synthetase from Bacillus stearothermophilus: a novel type of anticodon binding domain?
The tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase catalyzes the activation of tyrosine and its coupling to the cognate tRNA. The enzyme is made of two domains: an N-terminal catalytic domain and a C-terminal domain that is necessary for tRNA binding and for which it was not possible to determine the structure by X-ray crystallography. We determined the secondary structure of the C-terminal domain of the tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase from Bacillus stearothermophilus by nuclear magnetic resonance methods and found that it is of the alpha+beta type. Its arrangement differs from those of the other anticodon binding domains whose structure is known. We also found that the isolated C-terminal domain behaves as a folded globular protein, and we suggest the presence of a flexible linker between the two domains. (+info
Differential import of nuclear-encoded tRNAGly isoacceptors into solanum Tuberosum mitochondria.
In potato ( Solanum tuberosum ) mitochondria, about two-thirds of the tRNAs are encoded by the mitochondrial genome and one-third is imported from the cytosol. In the case of tRNAGly isoacceptors, a mitochondrial-encoded tRNAGly(GCC) was found in potato mitochondria, but this is likely to be insufficient to decode the four GGN glycine codons. In this work, we identified a cytosolic tRNAGly(UCC), which was found to be present in S.tuberosum mitochondria. The cytosolic tRNAGly(CCC) was also present in mitochondria, but to a lesser extent. By contrast, the cytosolic tRNAGly(GCC) could not be detected in mitochondria. This selective import of tRNAGly isoacceptors into S. tuberosum mitochondria raises further questions about the mechanism under-lying the specificity of the import process. (+info
The peculiar architectural framework of tRNASec is fully recognized by yeast AspRS.
The wild-type transcript of Escherichia coli tRNASec, characterized by a peculiar core architecture and a large variable region, was shown to be aspartylatable by yeast AspRS. Similar activities were found for tRNASec mutants with methionine, leucine, and tryptophan anticodons. The charging efficiency of these molecules was found comparable to that of a minihelix derived from tRNAAsp and is accounted for by the presence of the discriminator residue G73, which is a major aspartate identity determinant. Introducing the aspartate identity elements from the anticodon loop (G34, U35, C36, C38) into tRNASec transforms this molecule into an aspartate acceptor with kinetic properties identical to tRNAAsp. Expression of the aspartate identity set in tRNASec is independent of the size of its variable region. The functional study was completed by footprinting experiments with four different nucleases as structural probes. Protection patterns by AspRS of transplanted tRNASec and tRNAAsp were found similar. They are modified, particularly in the anticodon loop, upon changing the aspartate anticodon into that of methionine. Altogether, it appears that recognition of a tRNA by AspRS is more governed by the presence of the aspartate identity set than by the structural framework that carries this set. (+info
The uridine in "U-turn": contributions to tRNA-ribosomal binding.
"U-turns" represent an important class of structural motifs in the RNA world, wherein a uridine is involved in an abrupt change in the direction of the polynucleotide backbone. In the crystal structure of yeast tRNAPhe, the invariant uridine at position 33 (U33), adjacent to the anticodon, stabilizes the exemplar U-turn with three non-Watson-Crick interactions: hydrogen bonding of the 2'-OH to N7 of A35 and the N3-H to A36-phosphate, and stacking between C32 and A35-phosphate. The functional importance of each noncanonical interaction was determined by assaying the ribosomal binding affinities of tRNAPhe anticodon stem and loop domains (ASLs) with substitutions at U33. An unsubstituted ASL bound 30S ribosomal subunits with an affinity (Kd = 140+/-50 nM) comparable to that of native yeast tRNAPhe (Kd = 100+/-20 nM). However, the binding affinities of ASLs with dU-33 (no 2'-OH) and C-33 (no N3-H) were significantly reduced (2,930+/-140 nM and 2,190+/-300 nM, respectively). Surprisingly, the ASL with N3-methyluridine-33 (no N3-H) bound ribosomes with a high affinity (Kd = 220+/-20 nM). In contrast, ASLs constructed with position 33 uridine analogs in nonstacking, nonnative, and constrained conformations, dihydrouridine (C2'-endo), 6-methyluridine (syn) and 2'O-methyluridine (C3'-endo) had almost undetectable binding. The inability of ASLs with 6-methyluridine-33 and 2'O-methyluridine-33 to bind ribosomes was not attributable to any thermal instability of the RNAs. These results demonstrate that proton donations by the N3-H and 2'OH groups of U33 are not absolutely required for ribosomal binding. Rather, the results suggest that the overall uridine conformation, including a dynamic (C3'-endo > C2'-endo) sugar pucker, anti conformation, and ability of uracil to stack between C32 and A35-phosphate, are the contributing factors to a functional U-turn. (+info
A single uridine modification at the wobble position of an artificial tRNA enhances wobbling in an Escherichia coli cell-free translation system.
5-Methoxyuridine was introduced into the first position of the anticodon of the unmodified form of tRNA(1Ser) from Escherichia coli. The codon reading efficiencies of this tRNA (tRNA(5-methoxyuridine UGA)) relative to those of the unmodified counterpart (tRNA(UGA)) were measured in a cell-free translation system. tRNA(5-methoxyuridine UGA) was more efficient than tRNA(UGA) in the reading of the UCU and UCG codons and was less efficient in the reading of the UCA codon. Thus, the single modification of U to 5-methoxyuridine can enhance the wobble readings. (+info