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07.12.20 Miska lab find role of RNA modification m5C in C. elegans by engineering first organism to lack it

last modified Dec 16, 2020 04:46 PM
Miska lab and collagues show contribution of RNA 5-methylcytosine modification in Caenorhabditis elegans to normal fertility and to translational adaption to heat stress

Translational adaptation to heat stress is mediated by RNA 5-methylcytosine in Caenorhabditis elegans

Navarro IC et al. (2020) EMBO J Dec 7;e105496.

DOI: 10.15252/embj.2020105496. Online ahead of print.

 

Abstract from the paper

Methylation of carbon-5 of cytosines (m5 C) is a post-transcriptional nucleotide modification of RNA found in all kingdoms of life. While individual m5 C-methyltransferases have been studied, the impact of the global cytosine-5 methylome on development, homeostasis and stress remains unknown.

Here, using Caenorhabditis elegans, we generated the first organism devoid of m5 C in RNA, demonstrating that this modification is non-essential. Using this genetic tool, we determine the localisation and enzymatic specificity of m5 C sites in the RNome in vivo.

We find that NSUN-4 acts as a dual rRNA and tRNA methyltransferase in C. elegans mitochondria. In agreement with leucine and proline being the most frequently methylated tRNA isoacceptors, loss of m5 C impacts the decoding of some triplets of these two amino acids, leading to reduced translation efficiency. Upon heat stress, m5 C loss leads to ribosome stalling at UUG triplets, the only codon translated by an m5 C34-modified tRNA.

This leads to reduced translation efficiency of UUG-rich transcripts and impaired fertility, suggesting a role of m5 C tRNA wobble methylation in the adaptation to higher temperatures.

Navarro Miska 5mC summary graphici

Summary graphic from the paper.

 

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Read more about research in the Miska lab.

Watch Eric Miska describe his research in this short YouTube video.

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The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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