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. 2017 Jan 20;7(1):6.
doi: 10.3390/biom7010006.

Critical Minireview: The Fate of tRNA Cys During Oxidative Stress in Bacillus Subtilis

Free PMC article

Critical Minireview: The Fate of tRNA Cys During Oxidative Stress in Bacillus Subtilis

Juan Campos Guillen et al. Biomolecules. .
Free PMC article


Oxidative stress occurs when cells are exposed to elevated levels of reactive oxygen species that can damage biological molecules. One bacterial response to oxidative stress involves disulfide bond formation either between protein thiols or between protein thiols and low-molecular-weight (LMW) thiols. Bacillithiol was recently identified as a major low-molecular-weight thiol in Bacillus subtilis and related Firmicutes. Four genes (bshA, bshB1, bshB2, and bshC) are involved in bacillithiol biosynthesis. The bshA and bshB1 genes are part of a seven-gene operon (ypjD), which includes the essential gene cca, encoding CCA-tRNA nucleotidyltransferase. The inclusion of cca in the operon containing bacillithiol biosynthetic genes suggests that the integrity of the 3' terminus of tRNAs may also be important in oxidative stress. The addition of the 3' terminal CCA sequence by CCA-tRNA nucleotidyltransferase to give rise to a mature tRNA and functional molecules ready for aminoacylation plays an essential role during translation and expression of the genetic code. Any defects in these processes, such as the accumulation of shorter and defective tRNAs under oxidative stress, might exert a deleterious effect on cells. This review summarizes the physiological link between tRNACys regulation and oxidative stress in Bacillus.

Keywords: Bacillus; bacillithiol; oxidative stress; tRNA.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Possible relationship between tRNACys and bacillithiol biosynthesis. Genes involved in bacillithiol biosynthesis are indicated in the operon ypjD; bshB1 (N-acetyl-α-d-glucosaminyl l-malate deacetylase) and bshA (N-acetyl-α-d-glucosaminyl l-malate synthase). The bshB2 (N-acetyl-α-d-glucosaminyl l-malate deacetylase) gene is localized in the operon yoyC, while bshC (d-glucosaminyl l-malate cysteine ligase) is situated in the operon ylbQ. The cca (CCA, ATP (CTP): tRNA nucleotidyltransferase or CCAase) gene involved in tRNA maturation is indicated. A link between bacillithiol biosynthesis and tRNACys maturation or degradation could have physiological relevance for Bacillus subtilis under stress conditions. Thus, the free cysteine pool would be necessary both for the synthesis of bacillithiol and for the aminoacylation of the single tRNACys species in B. subtilis. The genes ypjD (pyrophosphohydrolase), dapB (dihydrodipicolinate reductase), mgsA (methylglyoxal synthase) and birA (biotin–protein ligase) are indicated in the operon. Polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) and 3′-to-5′ processing exoribonuclease (RNase R) are indicated.

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