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A manually curated database of tetrapod mitochondrially encoded tRNA sequences and secondary structures

Konstantin Yu Popadin1, Leila A Mamirova1 and Fyodor A Kondrashov2*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Information Transmission Problems RAS, Bolshoi Karetny pereulok 19, Moscow 127994, Russia

2 Section on Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California at San Diego, 2218 Muir Biology Building, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8:441  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-441

Published: 14 November 2007



Mitochondrial tRNAs have been the subject of study for structural biologists interested in their secondary structure characteristics, evolutionary biologists have researched patterns of compensatory and structural evolution and medical studies have been directed towards understanding the basis of human disease. However, an up to date, manually curated database of mitochondrially encoded tRNAs from higher animals is currently not available.


We obtained the complete mitochondrial sequence for 277 tetrapod species from GenBank and re-annotated all of the tRNAs based on a multiple alignment of each tRNA gene and secondary structure prediction made independently for each tRNA. The mitochondrial (mt) tRNA sequences and the secondary structure based multiple alignments are freely available as Supplemental Information online.


We compiled a manually curated database of mitochondrially encoded tRNAs from tetrapods with completely sequenced genomes. In the course of our work, we reannotated more than 10% of all tetrapod mt-tRNAs and subsequently predicted the secondary structures of 6060 mitochondrial tRNAs. This carefully constructed database can be utilized to enhance our knowledge in several different fields including the evolution of mt-tRNA secondary structure and prediction of pathogenic mt-tRNA mutations. In addition, researchers reporting novel mitochondrial genome sequences should check their tRNA gene annotations against our database to ensure a higher level of fidelity of their annotation.