The stress specific impact of ALKBH1 on tRNA cleavage and tiRNA generation

Sherif Rashad, Xiaobo Han, Kanako Sato, Eikan Mishima, Takaaki Abe, Teiji Tominaga, Kuniyasu Niizuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


tiRNAs are small non-coding RNAs produced when tRNA is cleaved under stress. tRNA methylation modifications has emerged in recent years as important regulators for tRNA structural stability and sensitivity to cleavage and tiRNA generation during stress, however, the specificity and higher regulation of such a process is not fully understood. Alkbh1 is a m1A demethylase that leads to destabilization of tRNA and enhanced tRNA cleavage. We examined the impact of Alkbh1 targeting via gene knockdown or overexpression on B35 rat neuroblastoma cell line fate following stresses and on tRNA cleavage. We show that Alkbh1 impact on cell fate and tRNA cleavage is a stress specific process that is impacted by the demethylating capacity of the cellular stress in question. We also show that not all tRNAs are cleaved equally following Alkbh1 manipulation and stress, and that Alkbh1 KD fails to rescue tRNAs from cleavage following demethylating stresses. These findings shed a light on the specificity and higher regulation of tRNA cleavage and should act as a guide for future work exploring the utility of Alkbh1 as a therapeutic target for cancers or ischaemic insult.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1103
Number of pages12
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 2


  • Alkbh1
  • apoptosis
  • cell stress
  • demethylation
  • oxidative stress
  • tiRNA
  • tRNA cleavage


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