Stress-induced angiogenin (ANG)-mediated tRNA cleavage promotes a cascade of cellular events that starts with production of tRNA-derived stress-induced RNAs (tiRNAs) and culminates with enhanced cell survival. This stress response program relies on a subset tiRNAs that inhibit translation initiation and induce the assembly of stress granules (SGs), cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein complexes with cytoprotective and pro-survival properties. SG-promoting tiRNAs bear oligoguanine motifs at their 5'-ends, assemble G-quadruplex-like structures and interact with the translational silencer YB-1. We used CRISPR/Cas9-based genetic manipulations and biochemical approaches to examine the role of YB-1 in tiRNA-mediated translational repression and SG assembly. We found that YB-1 directly binds to tiRNAs via its cold shock domain. This interaction is required for packaging of tiRNA-repressed mRNAs into SGs but is dispensable for tiRNA-mediated translational repression. Our studies reveal the functional role of YB-1 in the ANG-mediated stress response program.
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.