tRNA 3' shortening by LCCR4 as a response to stress in Trypanosoma brucei

Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Feb 22;49(3):1647-1661. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa1261.


Sensing of environmental cues is crucial for cell survival. To adapt to changes in their surroundings cells need to tightly control the repertoire of genes expressed at any time. Regulation of translation is key, especially in organisms in which transcription is hardly controlled, like Trypanosoma brucei. In this study, we describe the shortening of the bulk of the cellular tRNAs during stress at the expense of the conserved 3' CCA-tail. This tRNA shortening is specific for nutritional stress and renders tRNAs unsuitable substrates for translation. We uncovered the nuclease LCCR4 (Tb927.4.2430), a homologue of the conserved deadenylase Ccr4, as being responsible for tRNA trimming. Once optimal growth conditions are restored tRNAs are rapidly repaired by the trypanosome tRNA nucleotidyltransferase thus rendering the recycled tRNAs amenable for translation. This mechanism represents a fast and efficient way to repress translation during stress, allowing quick reactivation with a low energy input.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Transfer / chemistry
  • RNA, Transfer / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / enzymology*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics


  • RNA, Transfer
  • Ribonucleases