HR Excellence in Science
Date: 09.02.2022

Dynamics of subcellular tRNA trafficking in parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei is guided by tRNA modifications and has a key role in proteosynthesis

We elucidated the formation and function of queuosine-tRNA modification (Q) in protein synthesis in the parasitic protist T. brucei, a causative agent of human sleeping sickness. Using molecular biology and biochemistry methods, we found that Q is crucial for codon selection, especially in the synthesis of mitochondrially encoded proteins. We demonstrate the dynamics of tRNA trafficking in T. brucei and its impact on the availability of tRNAs for protein synthesis and their modification status. 

Collaborating subject: The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA 

Model of subcellular tRNA trafficking in parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei 


Queuosine tRNA modification is acquired in the nucleus by the heteromeric complex of tRNA guanine transglycosylase TbTGT1/2. After the nuclear export, the majority of the tRNA pool remains in the cytosol to participate in the translation of nuclear-encoded proteins. Due to the absence of mitochondrial tRNA genes and to maintain the organellar proteosynthesis, only the fully modified tRNAs are preferentially imported into the mitochondria of T. brucei.   


PARIS Z. (2021) Nuclear tRNA export in trypanosomes: a journey full of twists and turns guided by tRNA modifications. Parasitology. 148: 1219–1222. doi: 10.1017/S0031182021000482 (IF=3234) 

KULKARNI S, RUBIO MAT, HEGEDŰSOVÁ E, Ross RL, Limbach PA, Alfonzo JD, PARIS Z*. (2021). Preferential import of queuosine-modified tRNAs into Trypanosoma brucei mitochondrion is critical for organellar protein synthesis. Nucleic Acids Research 49: 8247–8260. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab567 (IF=16.970) 

Dixit S, Kessler AC, Henderson J, Pan X, Zhao R, D'Almeida GS, KULKARNI S, Rubio MAT, HEGEDŰSOVÁ E, Ross RL, Limbach PA, Green BD, PARIS Z, Alfonzo JD*. (2021) Dynamic queuosine changes in tRNA couple nutrient levels to codon choice in Trypanosoma brucei. Nucleic Acids Research 49: 12986–12999. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab1204 (IF=16.970) 



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