Published on Sept. 1, 2008 in RNA volume 14.
PubMed ID: 18648068
Pseudouridine synthase 1 (Pus1p) is an enzyme that converts uridine to Pseudouridine (Psi) in tRNA and other RNAs in eukaryotes. The active site of Pus1p is composed of stretches of amino acids that are highly conserved and it is hypothesized that mutation of select residues would impair the enzyme's ability to catalyze the formation of Psi. However, most mutagenesis studies have been confined to substitution of the catalytic aspartate, which invariably results in an inactive enzyme in all Psi synthases tested. To determine the requirements for particular amino acids at certain absolutely conserved positions in Pus1p, three residues (R116, Y173, R267) that correspond to amino acids known to compose the active site of TruA, a bacterial Psi synthase that is homologous to Pus1p, were mutated in human Pus1p (hPus1p). The effects of those mutations were determined with three different in vitro assays of pseudouridylation and several tRNA substrates. Surprisingly, it was found that each of these components of the hPus1p active site could tolerate certain amino acid substitutions and in fact most mutants exhibited some activity. The most active mutants retained near wild-type activity at positions 27 or 28 in the substrate tRNA, but activity was greatly reduced or absent at other positions in tRNA readily modified by wild-type hPus1p.