RNA



Single atom modification (O [rightward arrow] S) of tRNA confers ribosome binding


S. SALMAN  ASHRAF a1, ELZBIETA  SOCHACKA a2, ROBERT  CAIN a1, RICHARD  GUENTHER a1, ANDRZEJ  MALKIEWICZ a2 and PAUL F.  AGRIS a1c1
a1 Department of Biochemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA
a2 Institute of Organic Chemistry, Technical University, 90-924 Lodz, Poland

Abstract

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 [rightward arrow] s2U34) that confers the property of ribosomal binding on an otherwise inactive tRNA.

(Received August 26 1998)
(Revised October 8 1998)
(Accepted October 16 1998)


Key Words: 2-thiouridine; anticodon conformation; anticodon stem/loop analogs; nucleoside modifications; ribosome; translation; tRNALys.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Paul F. Agris, 128 Polk Hall, Department of Biochemistry, NCSU Box 7622, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7622, USA; e-mail: agris@bchserver.bch.ncsu.edu.