Published on April 1, 2020 in RNA Biol volume 17, 4.
PubMed ID: 31736397
RNA molecules of all species contain modified nucleotides and particularly mU residues. The vertebrate mitochondrial small subunit rRNA contains mU nucleotide in a unique site. In this work we found an enzyme, TRMT2B, responsible for the formation of this nucleotide and mU residues in a number of mitochondrial tRNA species. Inactivation of the gene leads to a reduction of the activity of respiratory chain complexes I, III and IV, containing the subunits synthesized by the mitochondrial protein synthesis apparatus. Comparative sequence analysis of mU-specific RNA methyltransferases revealed an unusual evolutionary pathway of TRMT2B formation which includes consecutive substrate specificity switches from the large subunit rRNA to tRNA and then to the small subunit rRNA.