Published on June 1, 2011 in Curr Opin Microbiol volume 14.
PubMed ID: 21470902
tRNA modifications are important for decoding, translation accuracy, and structural integrity of tRNAs. Archaeal tRNAs contain at least 47 different tRNA modifications, some of them, including archaeosine, agmatidine, and mimG, are specific to the archaeal domain. The biosynthetic pathways for these complex signature modifications have recently been elucidated and are extensively described in this review. Archaeal organisms still lag Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in terms of genetic characterization and in vivo function of tRNA modifications. However, recent advances in the model Haloferax volcanii, described here, should allow closing this gap soon. Consequently, an update on experimental characterizations of archaeal tRNA modification genes and proteins is given to set the stage for future work in this field.