Iron-related tRNA alterations have been shown to occur in several pathogens but nothing has been reported about the effect of iron on meningococcal tRNA. The chromatographic elution profile of H-tryptophan-tRNA from a strain grown under different conditions was examined. The profile showed an early (P1) and a late (P2) eluting species of tRNA, but the proportion of the two species varied under different growth conditions. The elution profile of trp-tRNA from bacteria grown in iron-sufficient Mueller Hinton broth yielded a minor P1 species and a major P2 species, whereas under iron-restricted growth induced by desferrioxamine, the pattern was one of a major P1 species and minor P2 species. Iron-restriction induced by human transferrin (HTF) resulted in almost equal amounts of the two tRNA species (P1 ≏ P2). Differences in the proportions of the tRNA species were also found between cells grown in liquid medium (P1 < P2) and on the same medium solidified with agar (P1 > P2). The growth phase of the bacteria did not have any effect on the tRNA elution profile. Changes in tRNA induced by HTF were readily and completely reversible when the cells were transferred to an iron-rich medium, but those induced by desferrioxamine remained irreversible for a long period (16 h) after such transfer.


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