A functional requirement for modification of the wobble nucleotide in the anticodon of a T4 suppressor tRNA

Diane S. Colby, Paul Schedl, Christine Guthrie

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42 Scopus citations


Temperature-sensitive mutants of E. coli have been isolated which restrict the growth of strains of bacteriophage T4 which are dependent upon the function of a T4-coded amber or ochre suppressor transfer RNA. One such mutant restricts the growth of certain ochre but not amber suppressor-requiring phage. Analysis of the T4 tRNAs synthesized in this host revealed that many nucleotide modifications are significantly reduced. The modifications most strongly affected are located in the anticodon regions of the tRNAs. The T4 ochre suppressor tRNAs normally contain a modified U residue in the wobble position of the anticodon; it has been possible to correlate the absence of this specific modification in the mutant host with the restriction of suppressor activity. Furthermore, the extent of this restriction varies dramatically with the site of the nonsense codon, indicating that the modification requirement is strongly influenced by the local context of the mRNA. An analysis of spontaneous revertants of the E. coli ts mutant indicates that temperature sensitivity, restriction of phage suppressor function, and undermodification of tRNA are the consequences of a single genetic lesion. The isolation of a class of partial revertants to temperature insensitivity which have simultaneously become sensitive to streptomycin suggests that the translational requirement for the anticodon modification can be partially overcome by a change in the structure of the ribosome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-463
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1976
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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