i-tRAP (individual tRNA acylation PCR): A convenient method for selective quantification of tRNA charging

RNA. 2022 Oct 25;29(1):111-122. doi: 10.1261/rna.079323.122. Online ahead of print.


Each transfer RNA (tRNA) is aminoacylated (charged) with a genetic codon-specific amino acid at its 3' end. Charged tRNAs are primarily used for translation, whereas fluctuations in charged tRNA fractions are known to reflect cellular response to stress. Here we report the development of individual tRNA-acylation using PCR (i-tRAP), a convenient PCR-based method that can specifically quantify individual tRNA charging ratio. In this i-tRAP method, demethylases remove base methylations which are problematic for reverse transcription reaction, and β-elimination reaction specifically removes the 3' end of adenine residue in uncharged tRNA. Subsequent TaqMan MGB qRT-PCR can distinguish between cDNA of charged tRNA and uncharged tRNA. By using this method, we revealed that the charging ratio of tRNAGln(CUG) was changed in response to amino acid starvation and also the charging ratio of tRNAGln(CUG) in senescent cells was lower than in young cells under starvation conditions. i-tRAP can be applicable to the quantification of charging ratio of various tRNAs, and provides a simple and convenient method for analyzing tRNA charging.

Keywords: PCR; aminoaclylation; charging; quantification; tRNA.