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From Prebiotics to Probiotics: The Evolution and Functions of tRNA Modifications

The Center for RNA Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
The Ohio State Biochemistry Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Adrian Gabriel Torres and David Deamer
Received: 11 January 2016 / Revised: 27 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 14 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of tRNA)
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All nucleic acids in cells are subject to post-transcriptional chemical modifications. These are catalyzed by a myriad of enzymes with exquisite specificity and that utilize an often-exotic array of chemical substrates. In no molecule are modifications more prevalent than in transfer RNAs. In the present document, we will attempt to take a chemical rollercoaster ride from prebiotic times to the present, with nucleoside modifications as key players and tRNA as the centerpiece that drove the evolution of biological systems to where we are today. These ideas will be put forth while touching on several examples of tRNA modification enzymes and their modus operandi in cells. In passing, we submit that the choice of tRNA is not a whimsical one but rather highlights its critical function as an essential invention for the evolution of protein enzymes. View Full-Text
Keywords: tRNA modification; evolution; genetic code tRNA modification; evolution; genetic code

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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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McKenney, K.M.; Alfonzo, J.D. From Prebiotics to Probiotics: The Evolution and Functions of tRNA Modifications. Life 2016, 6, 13.

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