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Biomolecules 2017, 7(1), 27; doi:10.3390/biom7010027

Biosynthesis of Sulfur-Containing tRNA Modifications: A Comparison of Bacterial, Archaeal, and Eukaryotic Pathways

Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
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Academic Editor: Valérie de Crécy-Lagard
Received: 1 February 2017 / Revised: 3 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 11 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue tRNA Modifications: Synthesis, Function and Beyond)
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Abstract

Post-translational tRNA modifications have very broad diversity and are present in all domains of life. They are important for proper tRNA functions. In this review, we emphasize the recent advances on the biosynthesis of sulfur-containing tRNA nucleosides including the 2-thiouridine (s2U) derivatives, 4-thiouridine (s4U), 2-thiocytidine (s2C), and 2-methylthioadenosine (ms2A). Their biosynthetic pathways have two major types depending on the requirement of iron–sulfur (Fe–S) clusters. In all cases, the first step in bacteria and eukaryotes is to activate the sulfur atom of free l-cysteine by cysteine desulfurases, generating a persulfide (R-S-SH) group. In some archaea, a cysteine desulfurase is missing. The following steps of the bacterial s2U and s4U formation are Fe–S cluster independent, and the activated sulfur is transferred by persulfide-carrier proteins. By contrast, the biosynthesis of bacterial s2C and ms2A require Fe–S cluster dependent enzymes. A recent study shows that the archaeal s4U synthetase (ThiI) and the eukaryotic cytosolic 2-thiouridine synthetase (Ncs6) are Fe–S enzymes; this expands the role of Fe–S enzymes in tRNA thiolation to the Archaea and Eukarya domains. The detailed reaction mechanisms of Fe–S cluster depend s2U and s4U formation await further investigations. View Full-Text
Keywords: tRNA modification; sulfur; iron–sulfur cluster; translation tRNA modification; sulfur; iron–sulfur cluster; translation
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Čavužić, M.; Liu, Y. Biosynthesis of Sulfur-Containing tRNA Modifications: A Comparison of Bacterial, Archaeal, and Eukaryotic Pathways. Biomolecules 2017, 7, 27.

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