The 3'-termini of tRNA are the point of amino acid linkage and thus crucial for their function in delivering amino acids to the ribosome and other enzymes. Therefore, to provide tRNA functionality, cells have to ensure the integrity of the 3'-terminal CCA-tail, which is generated during maturation by the 3'-trailer processing machinery and maintained by the CCA-adding enzyme. We developed a new tRNA sequencing method that is specifically tailored to assess the 3'-termini of E. coli tRNA. Intriguingly, we found a significant fraction of tRNAs with damaged CCA-tails under exponential growth conditions and, surprisingly, this fraction decreased upon transition into stationary phase. Interestingly, tRNAs bearing guanine as a discriminator base are generally unaffected by CCA-tail damage. In addition, we showed tRNA species-specific 3'-trailer processing patterns and reproduced in vitro findings on preferences of the maturation enzyme RNase T in vivo.
Keywords: CCA-adding enzyme; CCA-tail; RNase T; deep sequencing; tRNA integrity; tRNA maturation.
© 2020 Czech; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.
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