Epigenetic loss of the transfer RNA-modifying enzyme TYW2 induces ribosome frameshifts in colon cancerProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Aug 25 1 Aug 2020, 117(34):20785-20793 .
Transfer RNA (tRNA) activity is tightly regulated to provide a physiological protein translation, and tRNA chemical modifications control its function in a complex with ribosomes and messenger RNAs (mRNAs). In this regard, the correct hypermodification of position G37 of phenylalanine-tRNA, adjacent to the anticodon, is critical to prevent ribosome frameshifting events. Here we report that the tRNA-yW Synthesizing Protein 2 (TYW2) undergoes promoter hypermethylation-associated transcriptional silencing in human cancer, particularly in colorectal tumors. The epigenetic loss of TYW2 induces guanosine hypomodification in phenylalanine-tRNA, an increase in -1 ribosome frameshift events, and down-regulation of transcripts by mRNA decay, such as of the key cancer gene ROBO1. Importantly, TYW2 epigenetic inactivation is linked to poor overall survival in patients with early-stage colorectal cancer, a finding that could be related to the observed acquisition of enhanced migration properties and epithelial-to-mesenchymal features in the colon cancer cells that harbor TYW2 DNA methylation-associated loss. These findings provide an illustrative example of how epigenetic changes can modify the epitranscriptome and further support a role for tRNA modifications in cancer biologyMore information