Drosophila tsRNAs preferentially suppress general translation machinery via antisense pairing and participate in cellular starvation response
Nucleic Acids Research
Transfer RNA-derived small RNAs (tsRNAs) are an emerging class of small RNAs, yet their regulatory roles have not been well understood. Here we studied the molecular mechanisms and consequences of tsRNA-mediated regulation in Drosophila. By analyzing 495 public small RNA libraries, we demonstrate that most tsRNAs are conserved, prevalent and abundant in Drosophila. By carrying out mRNA sequencing and ribosome profiling of S2 cells transfected with single-stranded tsRNA mimics and mocks, we show
... that tsRNAs recognize target mRNAs through conserved complementary sequence matching and suppress target genes by translational inhibition. The target prediction suggests that tsRNAs preferentially suppress translation of the key components of the general translation machinery, which explains how tsRNAs inhibit the global mRNA translation. Serum starvation experiments confirm tsRNAs participate in cellular starvation responses by preferential targeting the ribosomal proteins and translational initiation or elongation factors. Knock-down of AGO2 in S2 cells under normal and starved conditions reveals a dependence of the tsRNA-mediated regulation on AGO2. We also validated the repressive effects of representative tsRNAs on cellular global translation and specific targets with luciferase reporter assays. Our study suggests the tsRNAmediated regulation might be crucial for the energy homeostasis and the metabolic adaptation in the cellular systems.