Published on Jan. 24, 2012 in RNA volume .
PubMed ID: 22274954
tRNAs from all three kingdoms of life contain a variety of modified nucleotides required for their stability, proper folding, and accurate decoding. One prominent example is the eponymous ribothymidine (rT) modification at position 54 in the T-arm of eukaryotic and bacterial tRNAs. In contrast, in most archaea this position is occupied by another hypermodified nucleotide: the isosteric N1-methylated pseudouridine. While the enzyme catalyzing pseudouridine formation at this position is known, the pseudouridine N1-specific methyltransferase responsible for this modification has not yet been experimentally identified. Here, we present biochemical and genetic evidence that the two homologous proteins, Mja_1640 (COG 1901, Pfam DUF358) and Hvo_1989 (Pfam DUF358) from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii and Haloferax volcanii, respectively, are representatives of the methyltransferase responsible for this modification. However, the in-frame deletion of the pseudouridine N1-methyltransferase gene in H. volcanii did not result in a discernable phenotype in line with similar observations for knockouts of other T-arm methylating enzymes.