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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alterations in tRNAs containing 2-methylthio-N6-(delta2-isopentenyl)-adenosine during growth of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in the presence of iron-binding proteins.

Escherichia coli grown in chemically produced iron-deficient media have well characterized alterations in the chromatographic properties of tRNAs containing the modified nucleoside 2-methylthio-N6-(delta2-isopentenyl) adenosine. The present report shows that similar tRNA alterations occur in enteropathogenic E. coli inhibited by human milk and bovine colostrum, the inhibited bacteria containing 10% or less of the normal tRNA species. Adding sufficient iron to saturate the iron-binding capacity of the lactoferrin present in milk and colostrum reversed these changes which are probably due to a failure to methylthiolate the isopentenyladenosine. Although adding iron led to a rapid replacement of abnormal tRNA by the chromatographically normal species, and to a resumption of multiplication, the tRNA alterations are not directly related to the inhibition of growth. Strains of E. coli which grew normally in milk, colostrum and in defined media containing the iron-binding protein transferrin or ovotransferrin also contained about 90% of the abnormal species. Rapid conversion of abnormal tRNA to normal tRNA occurred on adding iron and in the absence of RNA synthesis. The tRNA changes are discussed in relation to their possible connection with both the adaptation of E. coli to growth under the iron-restricted conditions imposed by iron-binding proteins in tissue fluids and with bacterial pathogenicity.[1]


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