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      tRNA Modifications: Impact on Structure and Thermal Adaptation

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          Abstract

          Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are central players in translation, functioning as adapter molecules between the informational level of nucleic acids and the functional level of proteins. They show a highly conserved secondary and tertiary structure and the highest density of post-transcriptional modifications among all RNAs. These modifications concentrate in two hotspots—the anticodon loop and the tRNA core region, where the D- and T-loop interact with each other, stabilizing the overall structure of the molecule. These modifications can cause large rearrangements as well as local fine-tuning in the 3D structure of a tRNA. The highly conserved tRNA shape is crucial for the interaction with a variety of proteins and other RNA molecules, but also needs a certain flexibility for a correct interplay. In this context, it was shown that tRNA modifications are important for temperature adaptation in thermophilic as well as psychrophilic organisms, as they modulate rigidity and flexibility of the transcripts, respectively. Here, we give an overview on the impact of modifications on tRNA structure and their importance in thermal adaptation.

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          tRNAdb 2009: compilation of tRNA sequences and tRNA genes

          One of the first specialized collections of nucleic acid sequences in life sciences was the ‘compilation of tRNA sequences and sequences of tRNA genes’ (http://www.trna.uni-bayreuth.de). Here, an updated and completely restructured version of this compilation is presented (http://trnadb.bioinf.uni-leipzig.de). The new database, tRNAdb, is hosted and maintained in cooperation between the universities of Leipzig, Marburg, and Strasbourg. Reimplemented as a relational database, tRNAdb will be updated periodically and is searchable in a highly flexible and user-friendly way. Currently, it contains more than 12 000 tRNA genes, classified into families according to amino acid specificity. Furthermore, the implementation of the NCBI taxonomy tree facilitates phylogeny-related queries. The database provides various services including graphical representations of tRNA secondary structures, a customizable output of aligned or un-aligned sequences with a variety of individual and combinable search criteria, as well as the construction of consensus sequences for any selected set of tRNAs.
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            RNA methylation by Dnmt2 protects transfer RNAs against stress-induced cleavage.

            Dnmt2 proteins are the most conserved members of the DNA methyltransferase enzyme family, but their substrate specificity and biological functions have been a subject of controversy. We show here that, in addition to tRNA(Asp-GTC), tRNA(Val-AAC) and tRNA(Gly-GCC) are also methylated by Dnmt2. Drosophila Dnmt2 mutants showed reduced viability under stress conditions, and Dnmt2 relocalized to stress granules following heat shock. Strikingly, stress-induced cleavage of tRNAs was Dnmt2-dependent, and Dnmt2-mediated methylation protected tRNAs against ribonuclease cleavage. These results uncover a novel biological function of Dnmt2-mediated tRNA methylation, and suggest a role for Dnmt2 enzymes during the biogenesis of tRNA-derived small RNAs.
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              Universal rules and idiosyncratic features in tRNA identity.

              Correct expression of the genetic code at translation is directly correlated with tRNA identity. This survey describes the molecular signals in tRNAs that trigger specific aminoacylations. For most tRNAs, determinants are located at the two distal extremities: the anticodon loop and the amino acid accepting stem. In a few tRNAs, however, major identity signals are found in the core of the molecule. Identity elements have different strengths, often depend more on k cat effects than on K m effects and exhibit additive, cooperative or anti-cooperative interplay. Most determinants are in direct contact with cognate synthetases, and chemical groups on bases or ribose moieties that make functional interactions have been identified in several systems. Major determinants are conserved in evolution; however, the mechanisms by which they are expressed are species dependent. Recent studies show that alternate identity sets can be recognized by a single synthetase, and emphasize the importance of tRNA architecture and anti-determinants preventing false recognition. Identity rules apply to tRNA-like molecules and to minimalist tRNAs. Knowledge of these rules allows the manipulation of identity elements and engineering of tRNAs with switched, altered or multiple specificities.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Biomolecules
                Biomolecules
                biomolecules
                Biomolecules
                MDPI
                2218-273X
                04 April 2017
                June 2017
                : 7
                : 2
                : 35
                Affiliations
                Institute of Biochemistry, Leipzig University, Brüderstraße 34, 04103 Leipzig, Germany; christian.lorenz@ 123456uni-leipzig.de (C.L.); christina.luense@ 123456uni-leipzig.de (C.E.L.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: mario.moerl@ 123456uni-leipzig.de ; Tel.: +49-341-9736-911
                Article
                biomolecules-07-00035
                10.3390/biom7020035
                5485724
                28375166
                e323579e-b46d-42af-87af-1551d55b6cfe
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 05 March 2017
                : 28 March 2017
                Categories
                Review

                post-transcriptional modifications,pseudouridine,dihydrouridine,dimethylguanosine,methyladenosine,archaeosine,lysidine,methylguanosine,trna,trna structure

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