A focus on tRNAs in FEBS Letters
Moghal A. et al. Mistranslation of the genetic code
Anderson P. and Ivanov P. tRNA fragments in human health and disease
Torres A.G. et al. A-to-I editing on tRNAs: Biochemical, biological and evolutionary implications
Gu C. et al. tRNA modifications regulate translation during cellular stress
Laporte D. et al. Exploring the evolutionary diversity and assembly modes of multi-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complexes: Lessons from unicellular organisms
In addition to regularly publishing Special Issues, FEBS Letters occasionally puts together FOCUS On… features – small collections of three to five Review articles on timely and fast evolving research areas. For example, the current issue of FEBS Letters hosts a FOCUS On tRNA.
Since their discovery, tRNAs have been viewed as simple adaptors of the genetic code. However, recent research has revealed that tRNAs are involved in several previously unappreciated levels of translation regulation, most of which are discussed in five review articles in FEBS Letters.
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are ancient enzymes involved in tRNA biogenesis. Becker and colleagues discuss the evolutionary diversity of these enzymes and their associated factors, bringing up interesting implications about the assembly, components and functions of multi-synthetase complexes in low- and high-complexity organisms.
Following their formation, tRNAs can be post-transcriptionally modified, mainly through the conversion of adenosines into inosines. The enzymes underlying this modification and the roles of inosine-modified tRNAs are reviewed by Pouplana and colleagues. In addition, tRNAs can give rise to small non-coding RNAs. Anderson and Ivanov discuss the heterogeneous biogenesis and functions of such small non-coding RNAs (Fig. 1 from this article is shown above).
Finally, tRNAs have recently emerged as regulators of the cellular response to stress. As explained by Chen Gu, Thomas Begley and Peter Dedon, tRNA modifications translationally regulate the expression of protein isoforms that promote cell survival during cellular stress. Moreover, Ibba and colleagues highlight the implications of mistranslation (which results from deviations during the mRNA decoding) especially under environmental stress. For more details on these intriguing tRNA stories look out for the open access FOCUS On tRNA feature of FEBS Letters.
Maria Papatriantafyllou, Editor, FEBS Letters