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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Feb 3;418(1):149-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.12.150. Epub 2012 Jan 8.

Formation of tRNA granules in the nucleus of heat-induced human cells.

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Radioisotope Center, The University of Tokyo, 2-11-16 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


The stress response, which can trigger various physiological phenomena, is important for living organisms. For instance, a number of stress-induced granules such as P-body and stress granule have been identified. These granules are formed in the cytoplasm under stress conditions and are associated with translational inhibition and mRNA decay. In the nucleus, there is a focus named nuclear stress body (nSB) that distinguishes these structures from cytoplasmic stress granules. Many splicing factors and long non-coding RNA species localize in nSBs as a result of stress. Indeed, tRNAs respond to several kinds of stress such as heat, oxidation or starvation. Although nuclear accumulation of tRNAs occurs in starved Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this phenomenon is not found in mammalian cells. We observed that initiator tRNA(Met) (Meti) is actively translocated into the nucleus of human cells under heat stress. During this study, we identified unique granules of Meti that overlapped with nSBs. Similarly, elongator tRNA(Met) was translocated into the nucleus and formed granules during heat stress. Formation of tRNA granules is closely related to the translocation ratio. Then, all tRNAs may form the specific granules.

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