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Genes Cells. 2007 Mar;12(3):285-97.

Cytoplasmic splicing of tRNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Research Center for Materials Science, Nagoya University, Japan.


The splicing of nuclear encoded RNAs, including tRNAs, has been widely believed to occur in the nucleus. However, we recently found that one of the tRNA splicing enzymes, splicing endonuclease, is localized to the outer surface of mitochondria in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These results suggested the unexpected possibility of tRNA splicing in the cytoplasm. To investigate this possibility, we examined whether cytoplasmic pre-tRNAs are bona fide intermediates for tRNA maturation in vivo. We isolated a new reversible allele of temperature-sensitive (ts) sen2 (HA-sen2-42), which encodes a mutant form of one of the catalytic subunits of yeast splicing endonuclease. The HA-sen2-42 cells accumulated large amounts of pre-tRNAs in the cytoplasm at a restrictive temperature, but the pre-tRNAs were diminished when the cells were transferred to a permissive temperature. Using pulse-chase/hybrid-precipitation techniques, we showed that the pre-tRNAs were not degraded but rather converted into mature tRNAs during incubation at the permissive temperature. These and other results indicate that, in S. cerevisiae, pre-tRNAs in the cytoplasm are genuine substrates for splicing, and that the splicing is indeed carried out in the cytoplasm.

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