Published on Feb. 1, 2006 in Mol Microbiol volume 59.
PubMed ID: 16390459
Zymocin-induced cell death in Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires the toxin-target (TOT) effector Elongator, a protein complex with functions in transcription, exocytosis and tRNA modification. In line with the latter, trm9Delta cells lacking a tRNA methylase specific for wobble uridine (U(34)) residues survive zymocin and in excess, the Trm9 substrate tRNA(Glu) copies zymocin protection of Elongator mutants. Phenotypes typical of a tot3/elp3Delta Elongator mutant are absent from trm9Delta cells but copied in a tot3Deltatrm9Delta double mutant suggesting that Elongator acts upstream of Trm9. Consistent with Elongator-dependent tRNA modification being more important to mRNA decoding than Trm9, SUP4 and SOE1TRNA suppressors are highly sensitive to loss of Elongator and tRNA U(34) hypomodification. As Trm9 overexpression counteracts the effect of high-copy tRNA(Glu), zymocin suppression by high-copy tRNA(Glu) may reflect tRNA hypomethylation of trm9Delta cells. Thus, Trm9 methylation may enable recognition of tRNA by zymocin, a notion supported by a dramatic reduction of tRNA(Glu) levels in zymocin-treated cells and by cytotoxic zymocin residues conserved between bacterial nucleases and a tRNA modifying GTPase. In sum, Trm9 is a bona fideTOT pathway component whose methylation may be hijacked by zymocin to target tRNA function and eventually, mRNA translation.