TitletRNA wobble-uridine modifications as amino acid sensors and regulators of cellular metabolic state.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGupta R, Laxman S
JournalCurr Genet
Date Published2019 Nov 22

Cells must appropriately sense available nutrients and accordingly regulate their metabolic outputs, to survive. This mini-review considers the idea that conserved chemical modifications of wobble (U34) position tRNA uridines enable cells to sense nutrients and regulate their metabolic state. tRNA wobble uridines are chemically modified at the 2- and 5- positions, with a thiol (s2), and (commonly) a methoxycarbonylmethyl (mcm5) modification, respectively. These modifications reflect sulfur amino acid (methionine and cysteine) availability. The loss of these modifications has minor translation defects. However, they result in striking phenotypes consistent with an altered metabolic state. Using yeast, we recently discovered that the s2 modification regulates overall carbon and nitrogen metabolism, dependent on methionine availability. The loss of this modification results in rewired carbon (glucose) metabolism. Cells have reduced carbon flux towards the pentose phosphate pathway and instead increased flux towards storage carbohydrates-primarily trehalose, along with reduced nucleotide synthesis, and perceived amino acid starvation signatures. Remarkably, this metabolic rewiring in the s2U mutants is caused by mechanisms leading to intracellular phosphate limitation. Thus this U34 tRNA modification responds to methionine availability and integratively regulates carbon and nitrogen homeostasis, wiring cells to a 'growth' state. We interpret the importance of U34 modifications in the context of metabolic sensing and anabolism, emphasizing their intimate coupling to methionine metabolism.

Alternate JournalCurr. Genet.
PubMed ID31758251
Grant ListIA/I/14/2/501523 / / The Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance /
PDF/2016/000416 / / Science and Engineering Research Board (IN) /