Kluyveromyces lactis killer strains secrete a heterotrimeric toxin (zymocin), which causes an irreversible growth arrest of sensitive yeast cells. Despite many efforts, the target(s) of the cytotoxic γ-subunit of zymocin has remained elusive. Here we show that three tRNA species tRNA mcm5s2UUCGlu, tRNAmcm5s2UUULys, and tRNAmcm5s2UUGGln are the targets of γ-toxin. The toxin inhibits growth by cleaving these tRNAs at the 3′ side of the modified wobble nucleoside 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl-2-thiouridine (mcm 5s2U). Transfer RNA lacking a part of or the entire mcm5 group is inefficiently cleaved by γ-toxin, explaining the γ-toxin resistance of the modification-deficient trm9, elp1-elp6, and kti11-kti13 mutants. The K. lactis γ-toxin is the first eukaryotic toxin shown to target tRNA. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
- 5- methoxycarbonylmethyl-2-thiouridine
- K. Lactis γ-toxin
- tRNA endonuclease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology