"tRNA gene number and arrangement are of interest to genome biologists (1–7) because tRNA abundance is matched to codon usage (3) and tRNA genes affect nuclear and genome organization [(8,9), reviewed in ref. 10, and see ref. 11]. Biased codon usage in functionally related mRNAs suggests that the relative levels of tRNA isoacceptors may reflect a means of genetic control (12–15). Most eukaryotes contain a variable number of tRNA genes, from ∼200 to several thousand (4). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We used a genetic screen based on tRNA-mediated suppression (TMS) in a Schizosaccharomyces pombe La protein (Sla1p) mutant. Suppressor pre-tRNA(Ser)UCA-C47:6U with a debilitating substitution in its variable arm fails to produce tRNA in a sla1-rrm mutant deficient for RNA chaperone-like activity. The parent strain and spontaneous mutant were analyzed using Solexa sequencing. One synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), unrelated to the phenotype, was identified. Further sequence analyses found a duplication of the tRNA(Ser)UCA-C47:6U gene, which was shown to cause the phenotype. Ninety percent of 28 isolated mutants contain duplicated tRNA(Ser)UCA-C47:6U genes. The tRNA gene duplication led to a disproportionately large increase in tRNA(Ser)UCA-C47:6U levels in sla1-rrm but not sla1-null cells, consistent with non-specific low-affinity interactions contributing to the RNA chaperone-like activity of La, similar to other RNA chaperones. Our analysis also identified 24 SNPs between ours and S. pombe 972h- strain yFS101 that was recently sequenced using Solexa. By including mitochondrial (mt) DNA in our analysis, overall coverage increased from 52% to 96%. mtDNA from our strain and yFS101 shared 14 mtSNPs relative to a 'reference' mtDNA, providing the first identification of these S. pombe mtDNA discrepancies. Thus, strain-specific and spontaneous phenotypic mutations can be mapped in S. pombe by Solexa sequencing.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2011; 39(11):4728-42. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkr066 · 9.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: tRNA nucleosides are extensively modified to ensure their proper function in translation. However, many of the enzymes responsible for tRNA modifications in mammals await identification. Here, we show that human AlkB homolog 8 (ABH8) catalyzes tRNA methylation to generate 5-methylcarboxymethyl uridine (mcm(5)U) at the wobble position of certain tRNAs, a critical anticodon loop modification linked to DNA damage survival. We find that ABH8 interacts specifically with tRNAs containing mcm(5)U and that purified ABH8 complexes methylate RNA in vitro. Significantly, ABH8 depletion in human cells reduces endogenous levels of mcm(5)U in RNA and increases cellular sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents. Moreover, DNA-damaging agents induce ABH8 expression in an ATM-dependent manner. These results expand the role of mammalian AlkB proteins beyond that of direct DNA repair and support a regulatory mechanism in the DNA damage response pathway involving modulation of tRNA modification.
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