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Evolution of initiator tRNAs and selection of methionine as the initiating amino acid

Bhattacharyya, Souvik and Varshney, Umesh (2016) Evolution of initiator tRNAs and selection of methionine as the initiating amino acid. In: RNA BIOLOGY, 13 (9). pp. 810-819.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2016.1195943


Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) have been important in shaping biomolecular evolution. Initiator tRNAs (tRNA(i)), a special class of tRNAs, carry methionine (or its derivative, formyl-methionine) to ribosomes to start an enormously energy consuming but a highly regulated process of protein synthesis. The processes of tRNA(i) evolution, and selection of methionine as the universal initiating amino acid remain an enigmatic problem. We constructed phylogenetic trees using the whole sequence, the acceptor-TC arm ('minihelix'), and the anticodon-dihydrouridine arm regions of tRNA(i) from 158 species belonging to all 3 domains of life. All the trees distinctly assembled into 3 domains of life. Large trees, generated using data for all the tRNAs of a vast number of species, fail to reveal the major evolutionary events and identity of the probable elongator tRNA sequences that could be ancestor of tRNA(i). Therefore, we constructed trees using the minihelix or the whole sequence of species specific tRNAs, and iterated our analysis on 50 eubacterial species. We identified tRNA(Pro), tRNA(Glu), or tRNA(Thr) (but surprisingly not elongator tRNA(Met)) as probable ancestors of tRNA(i). We then determined the factors imposing selection of methionine as the initiating amino acid. Overall frequency of occurrence of methionine, whose metabolic cost of synthesis is the highest among all amino acids, remains almost unchanged across the 3 domains of life. Our correlation analysis shows that its high metabolic cost is independent of many physicochemical properties of the side chain. Our results indicate that selection of methionine, as the initiating amino acid was possibly a consequence of the evolution of one-carbon metabolism, which plays an important role in regulating translation initiation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: RNA BIOLOGY
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC, 530 WALNUT STREET, STE 850, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19106 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Microbiology & Cell Biology
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 07:31
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2016 07:31
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/55182

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