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Uncoupling the Pleiotropic Phenotypes of clk-1 with tRNA Missense Suppressors in Caenorhabditis elegans

By Robyn Branicky, Phuong Anh Thi Nguyen and Siegfried Hekimi


clk-1 encodes a demethoxyubiquinone (DMQ) hydroxylase that is necessary for ubiquinone biosynthesis. When Caenorhabditis elegans clk-1 mutants are grown on bacteria that synthesize ubiquinone (UQ), they are viable but have a pleiotropic phenotype that includes slowed development, behaviors, and aging. However, when grown on UQ-deficient bacteria, the mutants arrest development transiently before growing up to become sterile adults. We identified nine suppressors of the missense mutation clk-1(e2519), which harbors a Glu-to-Lys substitution. All suppress the mutant phenotypes on both UQ-replete and UQ-deficient bacteria. However, each mutant suppresses a different subset of phenotypes, indicating that most phenotypes can be uncoupled from each other. In addition, all suppressors restore the ability to synthesize exceedingly small amounts of UQ, although they still accumulate the precursor DMQ, suggesting that the presence of DMQ is not responsible for the Clk-1 phenotypes. We cloned six of the suppressors, and all encode tRNAGlu genes whose anticodons are altered to read the substituted Lys codon of clk-1(e2519). To our knowledge, these suppressors represent the first missense suppressors identified in any metazoan. The pattern of suppression we observe suggests that the individual members of the tRNAGlu family are expressed in different tissues and at different levels

Topics: Articles
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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