Format of Original
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Original Item ID
doi: 10.1261/rna.5040605; PubMed Central, PMCID: PMC1370811
Among all types of RNA, tRNA is unique given that it possesses the largest assortment and abundance of modified nucleosides. The methylation at N1 of adenosine 58 is a conserved modification, occurring in bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic tRNAs. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the tRNA 1-methyladenosine 58 (m1A58) methyltransferase (Mtase) is a two-subunit enzyme encoded by the essential genes TRM6 (GCD10) and TRM61 (GCD14). While the significance of many tRNA modifications is poorly understood, methylation of A58 is known to be critical for maintaining the stability of initiator tRNAMet in yeast. Furthermore, all retroviruses utilize m1A58-containing tRNAs to prime reverse transcription, and it has been shown that the presence of m1A58 in human tRNA3 Lys is needed for accurate termination of plus-strand strong-stop DNA synthesis during HIV-1 replication. In this study we have identified the human homologs of the yeast m1A Mtase through amino acid sequence identity and complementation of trm6 and trm61 mutant phenotypes. When coexpressed in yeast, human Trm6p and Trm61p restored the formation of m1A in tRNA, modifying both yeast initiator tRNAMet and human tRNA3 Lys. Stable hTrm6p/hTrm61p complexes purified from yeast maintained tRNA m1A Mtase activity in vitro. The human m1A Mtase complex also exhibited substrate specificity—modifying wild-type yeast tRNAi Met but not an A58U mutant. Therefore, the human tRNA m1A Mtase shares both functional and structural homology with the yeast tRNA m1A Mtase, possessing similar enzymatic activity as well as a conserved binary composition.