RNA-Seq analyses reveal the order of tRNA processing events and the maturation of C/D box and CRISPR RNAs in the hyperthermophileMethanopyrus kandleri

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The methanogenic archaeon Methanopyrus kandleri grows near the upper temperature limit for life. Genome analyses revealed strategies to adapt to these harsh conditions and elucidated a unique transfer RNA (tRNA) C-to-U editing mechanism at base 8 for 30 different tRNA species. Here, RNA-Seq deep sequencing methodology was combined with computational analyses to characterize the small RNome of this hyperthermophilic organism and to obtain insights into the RNA metabolism at extreme temperatures. A large number of 132 small RNAs were identified that guide RNA modifications, which are expected to stabilize structured RNA molecules. The C/D box guide RNAs were shown to exist as circular RNA molecules. In addition, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats RNA processing and potential regulatory RNAs were identified. Finally, the identification of tRNA precursors before and after the unique C8-to-U8 editing activity enabled the determination of the order of tRNA processing events with termini truncation preceding intron removal. This order of tRNA maturation follows the compartmentalized tRNA processing order found in Eukaryotes and suggests its conservation during evolution.

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