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Reconstitution of the Human tRNA Splicing Endonuclease Complex: insight into the regulation of pre-tRNA cleavage.

By Cassandra K. Hayne, Casey A. Schmidt, A. Gregory Matera, Robin E Stanley

Posted 17 Dec 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2019.12.16.878546 (published DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkaa438)

The splicing of tRNA introns is a critical step in pre-tRNA maturation. In archaea and eukaryotes, tRNA intron removal is catalyzed by the tRNA splicing endonuclease (TSEN) complex. Eukaryotic TSEN is comprised of four core subunits (TSEN54, TSEN2, TSEN34, and TSEN15). The human TSEN complex additionally co-purifies with the polynucleotide kinase CLP1; however, CLP1's role in tRNA splicing remains unclear. Mutations in genes encoding all four TSEN subunits, as well as CLP1, are known to cause neurodegenerative disorders, yet the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of these disorders are unknown. Here, we developed a recombinant system that produces active TSEN complex. Co-expression of all four TSEN subunits is required for efficient formation and function of the complex. We show that human CLP1 associates with the active TSEN complex, but is not required for tRNA intron cleavage in vitro. Moreover, RNAi knockdown of the Drosophila CLP1 orthologue, cbc, promotes biogenesis of mature tRNAs and circularized tRNA introns (tricRNAs) in vivo. Collectively, these and other findings suggest that CLP1/cbc plays a regulatory role in tRNA splicing by serving as a negative modulator of the direct tRNA ligation pathway in animal cells.

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