Publication – Heckel, Soppa, Wöhnert

Identification of the enzyme responsible for N1-methylation of pseudouridine 54 in archaeal tRNAs.

Wurm JP, Griese M, Bahr U, Held M, Heckel A, Karas M, Soppa J, Wöhnert J. RNA, 2012 Jan 24. Abstract or full publication here.

tRNAs from all three kingdoms of life contain a variety of modified nucleotides required for their stability, proper folding, and accurate decoding. One prominent example is the eponymous ribothymidine (rT) modification at position 54 in the T-arm of eukaryotic and bacterial tRNAs. In contrast, in most archaea this position is occupied by another hypermodified nucleotide: the isosteric N1-methylated pseudouridine. While the enzyme catalyzing pseudouridine formation at this position is known, the pseudouridine N1-specific methyltransferase responsible for this modification has not yet been experimentally identified. Here, we present biochemical and genetic evidence that the two homologous proteins, Mja_1640 (COG 1901, Pfam DUF358) and Hvo_1989 (Pfam DUF358) from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii and Haloferax volcanii, respectively, are representatives of the methyltransferase responsible for this modification. However, the in-frame deletion of the pseudouridine N1-methyltransferase gene in H. volcanii did not result in a discernable phenotype in line with similar observations for knockouts of other T-arm methylating enzymes.