TET2 chemically modifies tRNAs and regulates tRNA fragment levels

Chongsheng He, Julianna Bozler, Kevin A. Janssen, Jeremy E. Wilusz, Benjamin A. Garcia, Andrea J. Schorn, Roberto Bonasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The ten-eleven translocation 2 (TET2) protein, which oxidizes 5-methylcytosine in DNA, can also bind RNA; however, the targets and function of TET2–RNA interactions in vivo are not fully understood. Using stringent affinity tags introduced at the Tet2 locus, we purified and sequenced TET2-crosslinked RNAs from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and found a high enrichment for tRNAs. RNA immunoprecipitation with an antibody against 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hm5C) recovered tRNAs that overlapped with those bound to TET2 in cells. Mass spectrometry (MS) analyses revealed that TET2 is necessary and sufficient for the deposition of the hm5C modification on tRNA. Tet2 knockout in mESCs affected the levels of several small noncoding RNAs originating from TET2-bound tRNAs that were enriched by hm5C immunoprecipitation. Thus, our results suggest a new function of TET2 in promoting the conversion of 5-methylcytosine to hm5C on tRNA and regulating the processing or stability of different classes of tRNA fragments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


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