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RNA. 2005 Apr;11(4):424-36.

An early step in wobble uridine tRNA modification requires the Elongator complex.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden.


Elongator has been reported to be a histone acetyltransferase complex involved in elongation of RNA polymerase II transcription. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mutations in any of the six Elongator protein subunit (ELP1-ELP6) genes or the three killer toxin insensitivity (KTI11-KTI13) genes cause similar pleiotropic phenotypes. By analyzing modified nucleosides in individual tRNA species, we show that the ELP1-ELP6 and KTI11-KTI13 genes are all required for an early step in synthesis of 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl (mcm5) and 5-carbamoylmethyl (ncm5) groups present on uridines at the wobble position in tRNA. Transfer RNA immunoprecipitation experiments showed that the Elp1 and Elp3 proteins specifically coprecipitate a tRNA susceptible to formation of an mcm5 side chain, indicating a direct role of Elongator in tRNA modification. The presence of mcm5U, ncm5U, or derivatives thereof at the wobble position is required for accurate and efficient translation, suggesting that the phenotypes of elp1-elp6 and kti11-kti13 mutants could be caused by a translational defect. Accordingly, a deletion of any ELP1-ELP6 or KTI11-KTI13 gene prevents an ochre suppressor tRNA that normally contains mcm5U from reading ochre stop codons.

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