The cost of wobble translation in fungal mitochondrial genomes: integration of two traditional hypotheses.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Fungal and animal mitochondrial genomes typically have one tRNA for each synonymous codon family. The codon-anticodon adaptation hypothesis predicts that the wobble nucleotide of a tRNA anticodon should evolve towards maximizing Watson-Crick base pairing with the most frequently used codon within each synonymous codon family, whereas the wobble versatility hypothesis argues that the nucleotide at the wobble site should be occupied by a nucleotide most versatile in wobble pairing, i.e., the tRNA wobble nucleotide should be G for NNY codon families, and U for NNR and NNN codon families (where Y stands for C or U, R for A or G and N for any nucleotide). RESULTS: We here integrate these two traditional hypotheses on tRNA anticodons into a unified model based on an analysis of the wobble costs associated with different wobble base pairs. This novel approach allows the relative cost of wobble pairing to be qualitatively evaluated. A comprehensive study of 36 fungal genomes suggests very different costs between two kinds of U:G wobble pairs, i.e., (1) between a G at the wobble site of a tRNA anticodon and a U at the third codon position (designated MU3:G) and (2) between a U at the wobble site of a tRNA anticodon and a G at the third codon position (designated MG3:U). CONCLUSION: In general, MU3:G is much smaller than MG3:U, suggesting no selection against U-ending codons in NNY codon families with a wobble G in the tRNA anticodon but strong selection against G-ending codons in NNR codon families with a wobble U at the tRNA anticodon. This finding resolves several puzzling observations in fungal genomics and corroborates previous studies showing that U3:G wobble is energetically more favorable than G3:U wobble.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vertebrate mitochondrial genomes typically have one transfer RNA (tRNA) for each synonymous codon family. This limited anticodon repertoire implies that each tRNA anticodon needs to wobble (establish a non-Watson-Crick base pairing between two nucleotides in RNA molecules) to recognize one or more synonymous codons. Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the factors that determine the nucleotide composition of wobble sites in vertebrate mitochondrial tRNA anticodons. Until now, the two major postulates--the "codon-anticodon adaptation hypothesis" and the "wobble versatility hypothesis"--have not been formally tested in vertebrate mitochondria because both make the same predictions regarding the composition of anticodon wobble sites. The same is true for the more recent "wobble cost hypothesis". PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study we have analyzed the occurrence of synonymous codons and tRNA anticodon wobble sites in 1553 complete vertebrate mitochondrial genomes, focusing on three fish species with mtDNA codon usage bias reversal (L-strand is GT-rich). These mitogenomes constitute an excellent opportunity to study the evolution of the wobble nucleotide composition of tRNA anticodons because due to the reversal the predictions for the anticodon wobble sites differ between the existing hypotheses. We observed that none of the wobble sites of tRNA anticodons in these unusual mitochondrial genomes coevolved to match the new overall codon usage bias, suggesting that nucleotides at the wobble sites of tRNA anticodons in vertebrate mitochondrial genomes are determined by wobble versatility. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that, at wobble sites of tRNA anticodons in vertebrate mitogenomes, selection favors the most versatile nucleotide in terms of wobble base-pairing stability and that wobble site composition is not influenced by codon usage. These results are in agreement with the "wobble versatility hypothesis".
Project description:BACKGROUND: Animal mitochondrial genomes typically encode one tRNA for each synonymous codon family, so that each tRNA anticodon essentially has to wobble to recognize two or four synonymous codons. Several factors have been hypothesized to determine the nucleotide at the wobble site of a tRNA anticodon in mitochondrial genomes, such as the codon-anticodon adaptation hypothesis, the wobble versatility hypothesis, the translation initiation and elongation conflict hypothesis, and the wobble cost hypothesis. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we analyzed codon usage and tRNA anticodon wobble sites of 29 marine bivalve mitochondrial genomes to evaluate features of the wobble nucleotides in tRNA anticodons. The strand-specific mutation bias favors G and T on the H strand in all the 29 marine bivalve mitochondrial genomes. A bias favoring G and T is also visible in the third codon positions of protein-coding genes and the wobble sites of anticodons, rejecting that codon usage bias drives the wobble sites of tRNA anticodons or tRNA anticodon bias drives the evolution of codon usage. Almost all codon families (98.9%) from marine bivalve mitogenomes support the wobble versatility hypothesis. There are a few interesting exceptions involving tRNA(Trp) with an anticodon CCA fixed in Pectinoida species, tRNA(Ser) with a GCU anticodon fixed in Mytiloida mitogenomes, and the uniform anticodon CAU of tRNA(Met) translating the AUR codon family. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results demonstrate that most of the nucleotides at the wobble sites of tRNA anticodons in marine bivalve mitogenomes are determined by wobble versatility. Other factors such as the translation initiation and elongation conflict, and the cost of wobble translation may contribute to the determination of the wobble nucleotide in tRNA anticodons. The finding presented here provides valuable insights into the previous hypotheses of the wobble nucleotide in tRNA anticodons by adding some new evidence.
Project description:The genetic code sectored via tRNA charging errors, and the code progressed toward closure and universality because of evolution of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aaRS) fidelity and translational fidelity mechanisms. Class I and class II aaRS folds are identified as homologs. From sequence alignments, a structurally conserved Zn-binding domain common to class I and class II aaRS was identified. A model for the class I and class II aaRS alternate folding pathways is posited. Five mechanisms toward code closure are highlighted: 1) aaRS proofreading to remove mischarged amino acids from tRNA; 2) accurate aaRS active site specification of amino acid substrates; 3) aaRS-tRNA anticodon recognition; 4) conformational coupling proofreading of the anticodon-codon interaction; and 5) deamination of tRNA wobble adenine to inosine. In tRNA anticodons there is strong wobble sequence preference that results in a broader spectrum of contacts to synonymous mRNA codon wobble bases. Adenine is excluded from the anticodon wobble position of tRNA unless it is modified to inosine. Uracil is generally preferred to cytosine in the tRNA anticodon wobble position. Because of wobble ambiguity when tRNA reads mRNA, the maximal coding capacity of the three nucleotide code read by tRNA is 31 amino acids + stops.
Project description:Mitochondrial (mt) tRNA(Trp), tRNA(Ile), tRNA(Met), tRNA(Ser)GCU, tRNA(Asn)and tRNA(Lys)were purified from Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) and their nucleotide sequences were determined. tRNA(Lys)corresponding to both AAA and AAG lysine codons was found to contain the anticodon CUU, C34 at the wobble position being unmodified. tRNA(Met)corresponding to both AUA and AUG methionine codons was found to contain 5-formylcytidine (f(5)C) at the wobble position, although the extent of modification is partial. These results suggest that both C and f(5)C as the wobble bases at the anticodon first position (position 34) can recognize A at the codon third position (position 3) in the fruit fly mt translation system. tRNA(Ser)GCU corresponding to AGU, AGC and AGA serine codons was found to contain unmodified G at the anticodon wobble position, suggesting the utilization of an unconventional G34-A3 base pair during translation. When these tRNA anticodon sequences are compared with those of other animal counterparts, it is concluded that either unmodified C or G at the wobble position can recognize A at the codon third position and that modification from A to t(6)A at position 37, 3'-adjacent to the anticodon, seems to be important for tRNA possessing C34 to recognize A3 in the mRNA in the fruit fly mt translation system.
Project description:Reduced bacterial genomes and most genomes of cell organelles (chloroplasts and mitochondria) do not encode the full set of 32 tRNA species required to read all triplets of the genetic code according to the conventional wobble rules. Superwobbling, in which a single tRNA species that contains a uridine in the wobble position of the anticodon reads an entire four-fold degenerate codon box, has been suggested as a possible mechanism for how tRNA sets can be reduced. However, the general feasibility of superwobbling and its efficiency in the various codon boxes have remained unknown. Here we report a complete experimental assessment of the decoding rules in a typical prokaryotic genetic system, the plastid genome. By constructing a large set of transplastomic knock-out mutants for pairs of isoaccepting tRNA species, we show that superwobbling occurs in all codon boxes where it is theoretically possible. Phenotypic characterization of the transplastomic mutant plants revealed that the efficiency of superwobbling varies in a codon box-dependent manner, but--contrary to previous suggestions--it is independent of the number of hydrogen bonds engaged in codon-anticodon interaction. Finally, our data provide experimental evidence of the minimum tRNA set comprising 25 tRNA species, a number lower than previously suggested. Our results demonstrate that all triplets with pyrimidines in third codon position are dually decoded: by a tRNA species utilizing standard base pairing or wobbling and by a second tRNA species employing superwobbling. This has important implications for the interpretation of the genetic code and will aid the construction of synthetic genomes with a minimum-size translational apparatus.
Project description:During translation, some +1 frameshift mRNA sites are decoded by frameshift suppressor tRNAs that contain an extra base in their anticodon loops. Similarly engineered tRNAs have been used to insert nonnatural amino acids into proteins. Here, we report crystal structures of two anticodon stem-loops (ASLs) from tRNAs known to facilitate +1 frameshifting bound to the 30S ribosomal subunit with their cognate mRNAs. ASL(CCCG) and ASL(ACCC) (5'-3' nomenclature) form unpredicted anticodon-codon interactions where the anticodon base 34 at the wobble position contacts either the fourth codon base or the third and fourth codon bases. In addition, we report the structure of ASL(ACGA) bound to the 30S ribosomal subunit with its cognate mRNA. The tRNA containing this ASL was previously shown to be unable to facilitate +1 frameshifting in competition with normal tRNAs (Hohsaka et al. 2001), and interestingly, it displays a normal anticodon-codon interaction. These structures show that the expanded anticodon loop of +1 frameshift promoting tRNAs are flexible enough to adopt conformations that allow three bases of the anticodon to span four bases of the mRNA. Therefore it appears that normal triplet pairing is not an absolute constraint of the decoding center.
Project description:A simple post-transcriptional modification of tRNA, deamination of adenosine to inosine at the first, or wobble, position of the anticodon, inspired Francis Crick's Wobble Hypothesis 50 years ago. Many more naturally-occurring modifications have been elucidated and continue to be discovered. The post-transcriptional modifications of tRNA's anticodon domain are the most diverse and chemically complex of any RNA modifications. Their contribution with regards to chemistry, structure and dynamics reveal individual and combined effects on tRNA function in recognition of cognate and wobble codons. As forecast by the Modified Wobble Hypothesis 25 years ago, some individual modifications at tRNA's wobble position have evolved to restrict codon recognition whereas others expand the tRNA's ability to read as many as four synonymous codons. Here, we review tRNA wobble codon recognition using specific examples of simple and complex modification chemistries that alter tRNA function. Understanding natural modifications has inspired evolutionary insights and possible innovation in protein synthesis.
Project description:Modification of anticodon nucleotides allows tRNAs to decode multiple codons, expanding the genetic code. Additionally, modifications located in the anticodon loop, outside the anticodon itself, stabilize tRNA–codon interactions, increasing decoding fidelity. Anticodon loop nucleotide 37 is 3? to the anticodon and, in tRNACGGPro, is methylated at the N1 position in its nucleobase (m1G37). The m1G37 modification in tRNACGGPro stabilizes its interaction with the codon and maintains the mRNA frame. However, it is unclear how m1G37 affects binding at the decoding center to both cognate and +1 slippery codons. Here, we show that the tRNACGGProm1G37 modification is important for the association step during binding to a cognate CCG codon. In contrast, m1G37 prevented association with a slippery CCC-U or +1 codon. Similar analyses of frameshift suppressor tRNASufA6, a tRNACGGPro derivative containing an extra nucleotide in its anticodon loop that undergoes +1 frameshifting, reveal that m1G37 destabilizes interactions with both the cognate CCG and slippery codons. One reason for this destabilization is the disruption of a conserved U32·A38 nucleotide pairing in the anticodon stem through insertion of G37.5. Restoring the tRNASufA6 U32·A37.5 pairing results in a high-affinity association on the slippery CCC-U codon. Further, an X-ray crystal structure of the 70S ribosome bound to tRNASufA6 U32·A37.5 at 3.6 Å resolution shows a reordering of the anticodon loop consistent with the findings from the high-affinity measurements. Our results reveal how the tRNA modification at nucleotide 37 stabilizes interactions with the mRNA codon to preserve the mRNA frame.
Project description:Correct codon-anticodon pairing promotes translational fidelity, with these interactions greatly facilitated by modified nucleosides found in tRNA. We hypothesized that wobble uridine modifications catalyzed by tRNA methyltransferase 9 (Trm9) are essential for translational fidelity. In support, we have used phenotypic, reporter and protein-based assays to demonstrate increased translational infidelity in trm9? Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. Codon reengineering studies suggest that Trm9-catalyzed tRNA modifications promote fidelity during the translation of specific genes, those rich in arginine and glutamic acid codons from mixed boxes. Using quantitative tRNA modification analysis, we determined that trm9? cells are only deficient in 2 of 23 tRNA modifications, with those 2, 5-methoxycarbonylmethyluridine (mcm ( 5) U) and 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl-2-thiouridine (mcm ( 5) s ( 2) U), classified as key determinants of translational fidelity. We also show that in the absence of mcm ( 5) U and mcm ( 5) s ( 2) U, the resulting translational infidelity promotes protein errors and activation of unfolded protein and heat shock responses. These data support a model in which Trm9-catalyzed tRNA modifications promote fidelity during the translation of specific transcripts, with decreased wobble base modification leading to translational infidelity, protein errors and activation of protein stress response pathways.
Project description:Half the ribosomes translating the mRNA for phage T4 gene 60 topoisomerase subunit bypass a 50 nucleotide coding gap between codons 46 and 47. The pairing of codon 46 with its cognate peptidyl-tRNA anticodon dissociates, and following mRNA slippage, peptidyl-tRNA re-pairs to mRNA at a matched triplet 5' adjacent to codon 47, where translation resumes. Here, in studies with gene 60 cassettes, it is shown that the peptidyl-tRNA anticodon does not scan the intervening sequence for potential complementarity. However, certain coding gap mutants allow peptidyl-tRNA to scan sequences in the bypassed segment. A model is proposed in which the coding gap mRNA enters the ribosomal A-site and forms a structure that precludes peptidyl-tRNA scanning of its sequence. Dissipation of this RNA structure, together with the contribution of 16S rRNA anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence pairing with GAG, facilitates peptidyl-tRNA re-pairing to mRNA.