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Functional complementation between mutations in a yeast suppressor tRNA gene reveals potential for evolution of tRNA sequences.

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  • Research Article


Successive rounds of mutagenesis of a Schizosaccharomyces pombe strain bearing the UGA-reading sup3 tRNASer suppressor have been carried out for two cycles of inactivation and reactivation of the suppressor. The suppressor phenotype at each stage was found to involve different combinations of three mutations, A30, A53, and A67, in the sup3-UGA gene. Single mutations A30 and A53 inactivate the suppressor as does the presence of all three mutations. A67 by itself is phenotypically neutral, but in combination with either A30 or A53 suppressor function is restored. The frequency with which these and other complementation events occur in S. pombe demonstrates a significant potential for nucleotide sequence evolution in tRNA. Differential expression of the S. pombe genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggests that the two yeasts have diverged at the transcriptional and RNA processing level. Processing of the mutant tRNA precursors in S. cerevisiae reveals a hierarchy of structural domains within the tRNA that vary in their importance for RNase P cleavage.

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