Dynamic modulation of Dnmt2-dependent tRNA methylation by the micronutrient queuine

Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Dec 15;43(22):10952-62. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv980. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Dnmt2 enzymes are cytosine-5 methyltransferases that methylate C38 of several tRNAs. We report here that the activities of two Dnmt2 homologs, Pmt1 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe and DnmA from Dictyostelium discoideum, are strongly stimulated by prior queuosine (Q) modification of the substrate tRNA. In vivo tRNA methylation levels were stimulated by growth of cells in queuine-containing medium; in vitro Pmt1 activity was enhanced on Q-containing RNA; and queuine-stimulated in vivo methylation was abrogated by the absence of the enzyme that inserts queuine into tRNA, eukaryotic tRNA-guanine transglycosylase. Global analysis of tRNA methylation in S. pombe showed a striking selectivity of Pmt1 for tRNA(Asp) methylation, which distinguishes Pmt1 from other Dnmt2 homologs. The present analysis also revealed a novel Pmt1- and Q-independent tRNA methylation site in S. pombe, C34 of tRNA(Pro). Notably, queuine is a micronutrient that is scavenged by higher eukaryotes from the diet and gut microflora. This work therefore reveals an unanticipated route by which the environment can modulate tRNA modification in an organism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Dictyostelium / enzymology
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Guanine / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Micronutrients / metabolism*
  • Pentosyltransferases / metabolism
  • RNA, Transfer / metabolism*
  • RNA, Transfer, Asp / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism*


  • Micronutrients
  • RNA, Transfer, Asp
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Guanine
  • queuine
  • RNA, Transfer
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • Pmt1 protein, S pombe
  • Pentosyltransferases
  • queuine tRNA-ribosyltransferase