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Life 2016, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/life6010004

Exploiting tRNAs to Boost Virulence

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 6, Hamburg 20146, Germany
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Academic Editors: Lluís Ribas de Pouplana and Adrian Gabriel Torres
Received: 13 November 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 19 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of tRNA)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [242 KB, uploaded 19 January 2016]

Abstract

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are powerful small RNA entities that are used to translate nucleotide language of genes into the amino acid language of proteins. Their near-uniform length and tertiary structure as well as their high nucleotide similarity and post-transcriptional modifications have made it difficult to characterize individual species quantitatively. However, due to the central role of the tRNA pool in protein biosynthesis as well as newly emerging roles played by tRNAs, their quantitative assessment yields important information, particularly relevant for virus research. Viruses which depend on the host protein expression machinery have evolved various strategies to optimize tRNA usage—either by adapting to the host codon usage or encoding their own tRNAs. Additionally, several viruses bear tRNA-like elements (TLE) in the 5′- and 3′-UTR of their mRNAs. There are different hypotheses concerning the manner in which such structures boost viral protein expression. Furthermore, retroviruses use special tRNAs for packaging and initiating reverse transcription of their genetic material. Since there is a strong specificity of different viruses towards certain tRNAs, different strategies for recruitment are employed. Interestingly, modifications on tRNAs strongly impact their functionality in viruses. Here, we review those intersection points between virus and tRNA research and describe methods for assessing the tRNA pool in terms of concentration, aminoacylation and modification. View Full-Text
Keywords: virus; tRNA; tRNA-like elements (TLE); codon usage; modification virus; tRNA; tRNA-like elements (TLE); codon usage; modification
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Albers, S.; Czech, A. Exploiting tRNAs to Boost Virulence. Life 2016, 6, 4.

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