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PLoS Genet. 2013 Aug;9(8):e1003767. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003767. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Reversible and rapid transfer-RNA deactivation as a mechanism of translational repression in stress.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany.


Stress-induced changes of gene expression are crucial for survival of eukaryotic cells. Regulation at the level of translation provides the necessary plasticity for immediate changes of cellular activities and protein levels. In this study, we demonstrate that exposure to oxidative stress results in a quick repression of translation by deactivation of the aminoacyl-ends of all transfer-RNA (tRNA). An oxidative-stress activated nuclease, angiogenin, cleaves first within the conserved single-stranded 3'-CCA termini of all tRNAs, thereby blocking their use in translation. This CCA deactivation is reversible and quickly repairable by the CCA-adding enzyme [ATP(CTP):tRNA nucleotidyltransferase]. Through this mechanism the eukaryotic cell dynamically represses and reactivates translation at low metabolic costs.

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