tRNA Gene Structures in Bacteria

by Pettersson, B. M.

Abstract (Summary)

In bacteria, tRNA molecules are produced as precursors with additional nucleotides both upstream and downstream of the tRNA coding sequence. To generate a mature tRNA, the endoribonuclease RNase P removes the upstream sequence, while a number of enzymes can remove the downstream sequence.

In this thesis, the influence of such upstream and downstream sequences on the expression of mature functional tRNA was studied. It was found that in Escherichia coli, the presence of an upstream sequence positively influences tRNA expression. Furthermore, it was shown that the identity of the nucleotide immediatedly 5' of the canonical RNase P cleavage site in a tRNA precursor influenced RNase P cleavage site selection in vivo in E. coli, but not in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Additionally, a stem-loop in the precursor just downstream of the tRNA increased this "miscleavage". This stem-loop resembled a rho-independent transcription terminator and overlapped the trpT gene in P. aeruginosa, but it only marginally influenced the expression of the downstream secE gene. The trpT and secE genes were found to be cotranscribed. The trpT-secE gene order was also conserved in the majority of bacteria investigated.

The expression of tRNA genes during development in Streptomyces coelicolor was also studied. Here, the expression of most tRNA genes tested increased with time during development. Similarly, the expression of the RNase P RNA increased. The relative increase was quantified and correlated with different criteria related to gene structure and gene organisation, but no significant differences could be found. Moreover, a tRNALeuCAA UUA codon suppressor as well as the cognate bldA tRNA could restore differentiation to a developmentally blocked bldA deletion strain. For both tRNAs, the efficiency of restoration depended on the 5'- and 3'-flanks.

In conclusion, both 5'- and 3'-flanking sequences influence tRNA expression, and bacteria respond differently to changes in their tRNA gene structures.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Cell and molecular biology; mikrobiologi; Microbiology


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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