RNA pseudouridylation: new insights into an old modification

Trends Biochem Sci. 2013 Apr;38(4):210-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Pseudouridine is the most abundant post-transcriptionally modified nucleotide in various stable RNAs of all organisms. Pseudouridine is derived from uridine via base-specific isomerization, resulting in an extra hydrogen-bond donor that distinguishes it from other nucleotides. In eukaryotes, uridine-to-pseudouridine isomerization is catalyzed primarily by box H/ACA RNPs, ribonucleoproteins that act as pseudouridylases. When introduced into RNA, pseudouridine contributes significantly to RNA-mediated cellular processes. It was recently discovered that pseudouridylation can be induced by stress, suggesting a regulatory role for pseudouridine. It has also been reported that pseudouridine can be artificially introduced into mRNA by box H/ACA RNPs and that such introduction can mediate nonsense-to-sense codon conversion, thus demonstrating a new means of generating coding or protein diversity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Pairing*
  • Codon / genetics
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Pseudouridine / genetics
  • Pseudouridine / metabolism*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / genetics
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Spliceosomes / genetics
  • Spliceosomes / metabolism


  • Codon
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Pseudouridine