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Certain positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses contain elements at their 3' termini that structurally mimic tRNAs. These tRNA-like structures (TLSs) are classified based on which amino acid is covalently added to the 3' end by host aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. Recently, a cryoEM reconstruction of a representative tyrosine-accepting tRNA-like structure (TLSTyr) from brome mosaic virus (BMV) revealed a unique mode of recognition of the viral anticodon-mimicking domain by tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase. Some viruses in the hordeivirus genus of Virgaviridae are also selectively aminoacylated with tyrosine, yet these TLS RNAs have a different architecture in the 5' domain that comprises the atypical anticodon loop mimic. Herein, we present bioinformatic and biochemical data supporting a distinct secondary structure for the 5' domain of the hordeivirus TLSTyr compared to those in Bromoviridae Despite forming a different secondary structure, the 5' domain is necessary to achieve robust in vitro aminoacylation. Furthermore, a chimeric RNA containing the 5' domain from the BMV TLSTyr and the 3' domain from a hordeivirus TLSTyr are aminoacylated, illustrating modularity in these structured RNA elements. We propose that the structurally distinct 5' domain of the hordeivirus TLSTyrs performs the same role in mimicking the anticodon loop as its counterpart in the BMV TLSTyr Finally, these structurally and phylogenetically divergent types of TLSTyr provide insight into the evolutionary connections between all classes of viral tRNA-like structures. © 2024 Sherlock et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.


Madeline E Sherlock, Conner J Langeberg, Jeffrey S Kieft. Diversity and modularity of tyrosine-accepting tRNA-like structures. RNA (New York, N.Y.). 2024 Feb 16;30(3):213-222

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PMID: 38164607

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