Defective i⁶A37 Modification of Mitochondrial and Cytosolic tRNAs Results from Pathogenic Mutations in TRIT1 and Its Substrate tRNA
MetadataShow full item record
Identifying the genetic basis for mitochondrial diseases is technically challenging given the size of the mitochondrial proteome and the heterogeneity of disease presentations. Using next-generation exome sequencing, we identified in a patient with severe combined mitochondrial respiratory chain defects and corresponding perturbation in mitochondrial protein synthesis, a homozygous p.Arg323Gln mutation in TRIT1. This gene encodes human tRNA isopentenyltransferase, which is responsible for i⁶A37 modification of the anticodon loops of a small subset of cytosolic and mitochondrial tRNAs. Deficiency of i⁶A37 was previously shown in yeast to decrease translational efficiency and fidelity in a codon-specific manner. Modelling of the p.Arg323Gln mutation on the co-crystal structure of the homologous yeast isopentenyltransferase bound to a substrate tRNA, indicates that it is one of a series of adjacent basic side chains that interact with the tRNA backbone of the anticodon stem, somewhat removed from the catalytic center. We show that patient cells bearing the p.Arg323Gln TRIT1 mutation are severely deficient in i⁶A37 in both cytosolic and mitochondrial tRNAs. Complete complementation of the i⁶A37 deficiency of both cytosolic and mitochondrial tRNAs was achieved by transduction of patient fibroblasts with wild-type TRIT1. Moreover, we show that a previously-reported pathogenic m.7480A>G mt-tRNASer(UCN) mutation in the anticodon loop sequence A36A37A38 recognised by TRIT1 causes a loss of i⁶A37 modification. These data demonstrate that deficiencies of i⁶A37 tRNA modification should be considered a potential mechanism of human disease caused by both nuclear gene and mitochondrial DNA mutations while providing insight into the structure and function of TRIT1 in the modification of cytosolic and mitochondrial tRNAs.