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Rapid evolution of the RNA polymerase 3 transcriptome in mammals

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Transfer ribonucleic acids (tRNAs) are the crucial molecular adaptors that convert genetic information into proteins in every living organism. We combined computational and experimental approaches to characterize the identity, conservation, and divergence of the active tRNA loci transcribed by RNA polymerase 3 in livers of five mammalian species. A core set of tRNA loci was active in all mammals that together encompassed all known 46 tRNA isoacceptor classes. We further confirmed the transcription of tRNAs by sequencing the actual tRNAs. Unexpectedly, we further discovered that specific tRNAs give rise to a large number of small RNA that show hallmarks of a highly specific, nucleolytic processing mechanism. Since these tRNA derived small RNAs originate from distinct loci in each species the regulatory roles of these small RNAs play must be highly species-specific.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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