Formation of the conserved pseudouridine at position 55 in archaeal tRNA

Nucleic Acids Res. 2006;34(15):4293-301. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkl530. Epub 2006 Aug 18.


Pseudouridine (Psi) located at position 55 in tRNA is a nearly universally conserved RNA modification found in all three domains of life. This modification is catalyzed by TruB in bacteria and by Pus4 in eukaryotes, but so far the Psi55 synthase has not been identified in archaea. In this work, we report the ability of two distinct pseudouridine synthases from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus to specifically modify U55 in tRNA in vitro. These enzymes are (pfu)Cbf5, a protein known to play a role in RNA-guided modification of rRNA, and (pfu)PsuX, a previously uncharacterized enzyme that is not a member of the TruB/Pus4/Cbf5 family of pseudouridine synthases. (pfu)PsuX is hereafter renamed (pfu)Pus10. Both enzymes specifically modify tRNA U55 in vitro but exhibit differences in substrate recognition. In addition, we find that in a heterologous in vivo system, (pfu)Pus10 efficiently complements an Escherichia coli strain deficient in the bacterial Psi55 synthase TruB. These results indicate that it is probable that (pfu)Cbf5 or (pfu)Pus10 (or both) is responsible for the introduction of pseudouridine at U55 in tRNAs in archaea. While we cannot unequivocally assign the function from our results, both possibilities represent unexpected functions of these proteins as discussed herein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Pseudouridine / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Phe / chemistry*


  • RNA, Transfer, Phe
  • Pseudouridine
  • RNA, Transfer