A functional mutant of tRNA2Arg with ten extra nucleotides in its TFC arm

Thérèse M.F. Tuohy, Zhongwei Li, John F. Atkins, Murray P. Deutscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An unusual, spontaneously arising mutant of Escherichia coli tRNA2Arg has been deduced to have two extra nucleotides in its anticodon loop and a duplication of ten nucleotide residues in the TFC loop. This conclusion is based on its gene sequence, Northern blot analysis of isolated tRNA and the size of the in vitro -processed tRNA product. In vitro analyses showed that the mutant precursor is processed normally, albeit inefficiently, to a mature tRNA species 12 nucleotides longer than the wild-type. In addition, the mature tRNA functions as a frameshift suppressor in vivo. Several related mutants with more conservative changes within the gene sequence were similarly shown to be accurately processed, albeit with varying degrees of efficiency less than that of the wild-type. These results indicate that in spite of the high degree of evolutionary conservation of the tertiary structure of tRNAs, and the fact that no such naturally-occurring variant has been found, a greatly enlarged tRNA is capable of functioning in protein synthesis. The data also indicate that recognition sites for correct processing of precursor tRNAs may be unexpectedly tolerant of unusual context, and may depend on some specific features of the tertiary structure rather than the overall structure for accurate processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1376
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994


  • Frameshift suppression
  • Ribonucleases
  • TFC arm
  • tRNA processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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