T-armless tRNAs and elongated elongation factor Tu

Takashi Ohtsuki, Yoh Ichi Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Most tRNAs share a common secondary structure containing a T arm, a D arm, an anticodon arm and an acceptor stem. However, there are some exceptions. Most nematode mitochondrial tRNAs and some animal mitochondrial tRNAs lack the T arm, which is necessary for binding to canonical elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu). The mitochondria of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans have a unique EF-Tu, named EF-Tu1, whose structure has supplied clues as to how truncated tRNAs can work in translation. EF-Tu1 has a C-terminal extension of about 60 aa that is absent in canonical EF-Tu. Recent data from our laboratory strongly suggests that EF-Tu1 recognizes the D-arm instead of the T arm by a mechanism involving this C-terminal region. Further biochemical analysis of mitochondrial tRNAs and EF-Tu from the distantly related nematode Trichinella spp. and sequence information on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA in arthropods suggest that T-armless tRNAs may have arisen as a result of duplication of the EF-Tu gene. These studies provide valuable insights into the co-evolution of RNA and RNA-binding proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalIUBMB Life
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Elongation factor (EF-)Tu
  • Nematode mitochondria
  • T-armless tRNA genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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