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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006 Apr 5;34(6):1816-35. Print 2006.

The RNA polymerase III-dependent family of genes in hemiascomycetes: comparative RNomics, decoding strategies, transcription and evolutionary implications.

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  • 1Service de Biochimie et de Génétique Moléculaire, Bât 144. CEA/Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


We present the first comprehensive analysis of RNA polymerase III (Pol III) transcribed genes in ten yeast genomes. This set includes all tRNA genes (tDNA) and genes coding for SNR6 (U6), SNR52, SCR1 and RPR1 RNA in the nine hemiascomycetes Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces castellii, Candida glabrata, Kluyveromyces waltii, Kluyveromyces lactis, Eremothecium gossypii, Debaryomyces hansenii, Candida albicans, Yarrowia lipolytica and the archiascomycete Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We systematically analysed sequence specificities of tRNA genes, polymorphism, variability of introns, gene redundancy and gene clustering. Analysis of decoding strategies showed that yeasts close to S.cerevisiae use bacterial decoding rules to read the Leu CUN and Arg CGN codons, in contrast to all other known Eukaryotes. In D.hansenii and C.albicans, we identified a novel tDNA-Leu (AAG), reading the Leu CUU/CUC/CUA codons with an unusual G at position 32. A systematic 'p-distance tree' using the 60 variable positions of the tRNA molecule revealed that most tDNAs cluster into amino acid-specific sub-trees, suggesting that, within hemiascomycetes, orthologous tDNAs are more closely related than paralogs. We finally determined the bipartite A- and B-box sequences recognized by TFIIIC. These minimal sequences are nearly conserved throughout hemiascomycetes and were satisfactorily retrieved at appropriate locations in other Pol III genes.

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