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Insect iflaviruses co-pack host cellular tRNA fragments

10 August 2022
Insect iflaviruses co-pack host cellular tRNA fragments

RNA molecules, unlike DNA, are heavily modified, and nowadays more than 170 RNA modifications are known to be naturally present in various types of RNA. They play a big role in RNA stability and behavior. The scientific team led by Hana Cahová from IOCB Prague in collaboration with colleagues from Masaryk University and the Institute of Molecular Genetics studied mRNA modifications in Picornavirales, which include insect iflaviruses posing a particular threat to bees. 

In iflaviruses, the scientists detected a wide range of methylated nucleosides, such as 1-methyladenosine (m1A) and 5-methylcytidine (m5C). Mapping via RNA sequencing showed that virions contain besides genomic RNA also tRNA present in the form of 3’ and 5’ fragments. This is the first evidence that Picornavirales pack cellular tRNA fragments, which, in addition, are selectively chosen from certain tRNA types.

The findings could help in understanding viral behavior, as these types of tRNAs or fragments are also co-packed by virions of retroviruses such as HIV-1.

Original article: Šimonová, A.; Romanská, V.; Benoni, B.; Škubník, K.; Šmerdová, L.; Procházková, M.; Spustová, K.; Moravčík, O.; Gahurova, L.; Pačes, J.; Plevka, P.; Cahová, H. Honeybee Iflaviruses Pack Specific tRNA Fragments from Host Cells in Their Virions. ChemBioChem 2022, e202200281.

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