A cytidine deaminase edits C to U in transfer RNAs in Archaea.

Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 06/2009; 324(5927):657-9. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170123
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT All canonical transfer RNAs (tRNAs) have a uridine at position 8, involved in maintaining tRNA tertiary structure. However, the hyperthermophilic archaeon Methanopyrus kandleri harbors 30 (out of 34) tRNA genes with cytidine at position 8. Here, we demonstrate C-to-U editing at this location in the tRNA's tertiary core, and present the crystal structure of a tRNA-specific cytidine deaminase, CDAT8, which has the cytidine deaminase domain linked to a tRNA-binding THUMP domain. CDAT8 is specific for C deamination at position 8, requires only the acceptor stem hairpin for activity, and belongs to a unique family within the "cytidine deaminase-like" superfamily. The presence of this C-to-U editing enzyme guarantees the proper folding and functionality of all M. kandleri tRNAs.

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    ABSTRACT: The methanogenic archaeon Methanopyrus kandleri grows near the upper temperature limit for life. Genome analyses revealed strategies to adapt to these harsh conditions and elucidated a unique transfer RNA (tRNA) C-to-U editing mechanism at base 8 for 30 different tRNA species. Here, RNA-Seq deep sequencing methodology was combined with computational analyses to characterize the small RNome of this hyperthermophilic organism and to obtain insights into the RNA metabolism at extreme temperatures. A large number of 132 small RNAs were identified that guide RNA modifications, which are expected to stabilize structured RNA molecules. The C/D box guide RNAs were shown to exist as circular RNA molecules. In addition, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats RNA processing and potential regulatory RNAs were identified. Finally, the identification of tRNA precursors before and after the unique C8-to-U8 editing activity enabled the determination of the order of tRNA processing events with termini truncation preceding intron removal. This order of tRNA maturation follows the compartmentalized tRNA processing order found in Eukaryotes and suggests its conservation during evolution.
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