Title: Transfer RNA genes in pieces.
Authors: Randau L, Soll D.
Speaker: Viann Chan
Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia

The short genes encoding transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules are highly conserved in both sequence and structure, reflecting the central role of tRNA in protein biosynthesis. The frequent occurrence of fragmented intron-containing tRNAs that require processing to form contiguous molecules is therefore surprising. Recent discoveries of permuted and split tRNA genes have added to the apparent creativity of nature regarding the organization of these fragmented genes. Here, we provide an overview of the various types of fragmented tRNA genes and examine the hypothesis that the integration of mobile genetic elements--including viruses and plasmids--established such genes in pieces.