Plant RNases T2, but not Dicer-like proteins, are major players of tRNA-derived fragments biogenesis.Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 01 25; 47(2):941-952.NA
RNA fragments deriving from tRNAs (tRFs) exist in all branches of life and the repertoire of their biological functions regularly increases. Paradoxically, their biogenesis remains unclear. The human RNase A, Angiogenin, and the yeast RNase T2, Rny1p, generate long tRFs after cleavage in the anticodon region. The production of short tRFs after cleavage in the D or T regions is still enigmatic. Here, we show that the Arabidopsis Dicer-like proteins, DCL1-4, do not play a major role in the production of tRFs. Rather, we demonstrate that the Arabidopsis RNases T2, called RNS, are key players of both long and short tRFs biogenesis. Arabidopsis RNS show specific expression profiles. In particular, RNS1 and RNS3 are mainly found in the outer tissues of senescing seeds where they are the main endoribonucleases responsible of tRNA cleavage activity for tRFs production. In plants grown under phosphate starvation conditions, the induction of RNS1 is correlated with the accumulation of specific tRFs. Beyond plants, we also provide evidence that short tRFs can be produced by the yeast Rny1p and that, in vitro, human RNase T2 is also able to generate long and short tRFs. Our data suggest an evolutionary conserved feature of these enzymes in eukaryotes.