DNA damage induced by the anticodon nuclease from a Pichia acaciae killer strain is linked to ribonucleotide reductase depletion

Journal Reference

Cell Microbiol. 2015 Aug 6.

Wemhoff S, Klassen R, Meinhardt F.

Institut für Molekulare Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, 48149, Münster, Germany.


Virus like element (VLE) encoded killer toxins of Pichia acaciae and Kluyveromyces lactis kill target cells through anticodon nuclease (ACNase) activity directed against tRNAGln and tRNAGlu respectively. Not only does tRNA cleavage disable translation, it also affects DNA integrity as well. Consistent with DNA damage, which is involved in toxicity, target cells’ mutation frequencies are elevated upon anticodon nuclease exposure, suggesting a link between translational integrity and genome surveillance. Here, we analysed whether anticodon nuclease action impedes the periodically and highly expressed S-phase specific ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) and proved that RNR expression is severely affected by PaT. Because RNR catalyses the rate-limiting step in dNTP synthesis, mutants affected in dNTP synthesis were scrutinized with respect to anticodon nuclease action. Mutations elevating cellular dNTPs antagonized the action of both the above ACNases, whereas mutations lowering dNTPs aggravated toxicity. Consistently, prevention of tRNA cleavage in elp3 or trm9 mutants, which both affect the wobble uridine modification of the target tRNA, suppressed the toxin hypersensitivity of a dNTP synthesis mutant. Moreover, dNTP synthesis defects exacerbated the PaT anticodon nuclease sensitivity of cells defective in homologous recombination, proving that dNTP depletion is responsible for subsequent DNA damage.

© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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DNA damage induced by the anticodon nuclease from a Pichia acaciae killer strain