Subject570 Life sciences; biology
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Collaboration of tRNA modifications and elongation factor eEF1A in decoding and nonsense suppression
Transfer RNA (tRNA) from all domains of life contains multiple modified nucleosides, the functions of which remain incompletely understood. Genetic interactions between tRNA modification genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggest that different tRNA modifications collaborate to maintain translational efficiency. Here we characterize such collaborative functions in the ochre suppressor tRNA SUP4. We quantified ochre read-through efficiency in mutants lacking either of the 7 known modifications in the extended anticodon stem loop (G26-C48). Absence of U34, U35, A37, U47 and C48 modifications partially impaired SUP4 function. We systematically combined modification defects and scored additive or synergistic negative effects on SUP4 performance. Our data reveal different degrees of functional redundancy between specific modifications, the strongest of which was demonstrated for those occurring at positions U34 and A37. SUP4 activity in the absence of critical modifications, however, can be rescued in a gene dosage dependent fashion by TEF1 which encodes elongation factor eEF1A required for tRNA delivery to the ribosome. Strikingly, the rescue ability of higher-than-normal eEF1A levels extends to tRNA modification defects in natural non-suppressor tRNAs suggesting that elevated eEF1A abundance can partially compensate for functional defects induced by loss of tRNA modifications.