Loss of a Conserved tRNA Anticodon Modification Perturbs Plant Immunity

PLoS Genet. 2015 Oct 22;11(10):e1005586. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005586. eCollection 2015 Oct.


tRNA is the most highly modified class of RNA species, and modifications are found in tRNAs from all organisms that have been examined. Despite their vastly different chemical structures and their presence in different tRNAs, occurring in different locations in tRNA, the biosynthetic pathways of the majority of tRNA modifications include a methylation step(s). Recent discoveries have revealed unprecedented complexity in the modification patterns of tRNA, their regulation and function, suggesting that each modified nucleoside in tRNA may have its own specific function. However, in plants, our knowledge on the role of individual tRNA modifications and how they are regulated is very limited. In a genetic screen designed to identify factors regulating disease resistance and activation of defenses in Arabidopsis, we identified SUPPRESSOR OF CSB3 9 (SCS9). Our results reveal SCS9 encodes a tRNA methyltransferase that mediates the 2´-O-ribose methylation of selected tRNA species in the anticodon loop. These SCS9-mediated tRNA modifications enhance during the course of infection with the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae DC3000, and lack of such tRNA modification, as observed in scs9 mutants, severely compromise plant immunity against the same pathogen without affecting the salicylic acid (SA) signaling pathway which regulates plant immune responses. Our results support a model that gives importance to the control of certain tRNA modifications for mounting an effective immune response in Arabidopsis, and therefore expands the repertoire of molecular components essential for an efficient disease resistance response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Anticodon / genetics
  • Anticodon / immunology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / immunology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Methylation
  • Plant Immunity / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas syringae / immunology
  • Pseudomonas syringae / pathogenicity
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer / immunology
  • Ribose / metabolism
  • tRNA Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • tRNA Methyltransferases / metabolism


  • Anticodon
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Ribose
  • RNA, Transfer
  • SCS9 protein, Arabidopsis
  • tRNA Methyltransferases

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (grant 31100268 to PC) and the Spanish MINECO (BFU2012 to PV) and Generalitat Valenciana (Prometeo2014/020 to PV). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.