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Wobble modifications and other features in transfer RNA important for decoding and reading frame maintenance

by Näsvall, Joakim

Abstract (Summary)
Transfer RNA (tRNA) is the adaptor molecule responsible for bringing the correct amino acid to the ribosome during protein synthesis. tRNA contains a number of modified nucleosides, which are derivatives of the four normal nucleosides. A great variety of modifications are found in the anticodon loop, especially at the first (wobble) position of the anticodon. According to Crick’s wobble hypothesis, a uridine at the wobble position of tRNA recognize codons ending with A and G. Uridine-5-oxyacetic acid (cmo5U34), found at the wobble position of six species of tRNA in Salmonella enterica, have been predicted to expand the codon recognition of uridine to include U-ending, but not C-ending codons.To study the function of cmo5U34 we have identified two genes, cmoA and cmoB, which are required for the synthesis of cmo5U34 in tRNA. We have shown that the proline, alanine and valine tRNAs containing cmo5U34 are capable of reading codons ending with any of the four nucleotides, while the threonine tRNA is not, and the importance of having cmo5U is different for the different tRNAs. In addition, we found that cmo5U is important for efficient reading of G-ending codons, which is surprising considering the wobble hypothesis, which states that uridine should read G-ending codons.The dominant +1 frameshift suppressor sufY suppresses the hisC3737 +1 frameshift mutation. We have demonstrated that sufY induces frameshifting at CCC-CAA (Pro-Gln), when tRNAPro[cmo5UGG] occupies the P-site. sufY mutants accumulate novel modified nucleosides at the wobble position of tRNAs that should normally have (c)mnm5s2U34. The presence of an extra sidechain (C10H17) on the wobble nucleoside of tRNAGln[(c)mnm5s2U] leads to slow decoding of CAA codons, inducing a translational pause that allows the P-site peptidyl-tRNAPro[cmo5UGG] to slip into the +1 frame.We have characterized 108 independent frameshift suppressor mutants in the gene encoding tRNAPro[cmo5UGG]. The altered tRNAs are still able to read all four proline codons in the A-site, but induce frameshifts after translocation into the P-site. Some of the mutations are in regions of the tRNA that are involved in interactions with components of the P-site. We hypothesize that the ribosomal P-site keeps a “grip” of the peptidyl-tRNA to prevent loss of the reading frame.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Biochemistry; Molecular biology; Transfer RNA; Modified nucleosides; Decoding; Reading frame maintenance

ISBN:978-91-7264-437-3

Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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