While urine-based liquid biopsy has expanded to the analyses of extracellular nucleic acids, the potential of transfer RNA (tRNA) encapsulated within extracellular vesicles has not been explored as a new class of urine biomarkers for kidney injury. Using rat kidney and mouse tubular cell injury models, we tested if extracellular vesicle-loaded tRNA and their m1A (N1-methyladenosine) modification reflect oxidative stress of kidney injury and determined the mechanism of tRNA packaging into extracellular vesicles. We determined a set of extracellular vesicle-loaded, isoaccepting tRNAs differentially released after ischemia–reperfusion injury and oxidative stress. Next, we found that m1A modification of extracellular vesicle tRNAs, despite an increase of the methylated tRNAs in intracellular vesicles, showed little or no change under oxidative stress. Mechanistically, oxidative stress decreases tRNA loading into intracellular vesicles while the tRNA-loaded vesicles are accumulated due to decreased release of the vesicles from the cell surface. Furthermore, Maf1-mediated transcriptional repression of the tRNAs decreases the cargo availability for extracellular vesicle release in response to oxidative stress. Taken together, our data support that release of extracellular vesicle tRNAs reflects oxidative stress of kidney tubules which might be useful to detect ischemic kidney injury and could lead to rebalance protein translation under oxidative stress.
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