Novoa EM, Pavon-Eternod M, Pan T and Ribas de Pouplana L. Cell 2012, 149: 202-213.


Eva Maria Novoa, Mariana Pavon-Eternod, Tao Pan, Lluis Ribas de Pouplana


Transfer RNA (tRNA) gene content is a differentiating feature of genomes that contributes to the efficiency of the translational apparatus, but the principles shaping tRNA gene copy number and codon composition are poorly understood. Here, we report that the emergence of two specific tRNA modifications shaped the structure and composition of all extant genomes. Through the analysis of more than 500 genomes, we identify two kingdom-specific tRNA modifications as major contributors that separated archaeal, bacterial, and eukaryal genomes in terms of their tRNA gene composition. We show that, contrary to prior observations, genomic codon usage and tRNA gene frequencies correlate in all kingdoms if these two modifications are taken into account and that presence or absence of these modifications explains patterns of gene expression observed in previous studies. Finally, we experimentally demonstrate that human gene expression levels correlate well with genomic codon composition if these identified modifications are considered.


El uso de codones es un factor determinante para la función y expresión de las proteínas, pero el cómo y el porqué su uso es diferente entre las distintas especies es algo que todavía no se comprende del todo. En este trabajo se propone que hay un factor crítico que hasta el momento no se había tenido en cuenta: cómo ciertas modificaciones del tRNA afectan al uso de codones. Al tener en cuenta este nuevo parámetro, por primera vez se observan buenas correlaciones entre el uso de codones y la abundancia de tRNAs, y es consistente entre los diferentes grupos filogenéticos, sugiriendo que la diversificación del uso de codones en las distintas especies fue, al menos en parte, dirigido por la aparición de ciertas enzimas de modificacion del tRNA. Además, este descubrimiento abre un abanico de nuevas posibilidades biotecnológicas, tales como la mejora de producción de proteínas en sistemas heterólogos.

imagen julio


Nuestro objetivo general es traducir nuestros conocimientos básicos sobre la biología del tRNA en aplicaciones biomédicas. Esta estrategia se justifica por la gran cantidad de datos experimentales que se han recopilado sobre la aminoacilación del tRNA, y por el papel biológico esencial de esta reacción. Paralelamente, utilizando tRNA y aminoacil-tRNA sintetasas como herramientas, buscamos entender mejor la evolución de la vida en general, y de la célula eucariota en particular. Web

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