Disrupted tRNA genes and tRNA fragments: A perspective on tRNA gene evolution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs with lengths of approximately 70–100 nt. They are directly involved in protein synthesis by carrying amino acids to the ribosome. In this sense, tRNAs are key molecules that connect the RNA world and the protein world. Thus, study of the evolution of tRNA molecules may reveal the processes that led to the establishment of the central dogma: genetic information flows from DNA to RNA to protein. Thanks to the development of DNA sequencers in this century, we have determined a huge number of nucleotide sequences from complete genomes as well as from transcriptomes in many species. Recent analyses of these large data sets have shown that particular tRNA genes, especially in Archaea, are disrupted in unique ways: some tRNA genes contain multiple introns and some are split genes. Even tRNA molecules themselves are fragmented post-transcriptionally in many species. These fragmented small RNAs are known as tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs). In this review, I summarize the progress of research into the disrupted tRNA genes and the tRFs, and propose a possible model for the molecular evolution of tRNAs based on the concept of the combination of fragmented tRNA halves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalLife
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 26

Fingerprint

ribonucleic acids
transfer RNA
Transfer RNA
genes
RNA
Genes
fragments
gene
Molecules
deoxyribonucleic acid
protein synthesis
ribosomes
proteins
information flow
molecules
protein
molecular models
Small Untranslated RNA
genome
Proteins

Keywords

  • Molecular evolution
  • Split tRNA
  • Transfer RNA
  • tRNA fragment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Disrupted tRNA genes and tRNA fragments : A perspective on tRNA gene evolution. / Kanai, Akio.

In: Life, Vol. 5, No. 1, 26.01.2015, p. 321-331.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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