Published on June 1, 2009 in RNA volume 15.
PubMed ID: 19383770
Transfer RNA is highly modified. Nucleotide 37 of the anticodon loop is represented by various modified nucleotides. In Escherichia coli, the valine-specific tRNA (cmo(5)UAC) contains a unique modification, N(6)-methyladenosine, at position 37; however, the enzyme responsible for this modification is unknown. Here we demonstrate that the yfiC gene of E. coli encodes an enzyme responsible for the methylation of A37 in tRNA(1)(Val). Inactivation of yfiC gene abolishes m(6)A formation in tRNA(1)(Val), while expression of the yfiC gene from a plasmid restores the modification. Additionally, unmodified tRNA(1)(Val) can be methylated by recombinant YfiC protein in vitro. Although the methylation of m(6)A in tRNA(1)(Val) by YfiC has little influence on the cell growth under standard conditions, the yfiC gene confers a growth advantage under conditions of osmotic and oxidative stress.