A new activity of Escherichia coli and yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetases, the conversion adenosine 5' -triphosphate into diadenosine 5' ,5"' -P(1) ,P(4) -tetraphosphate, is reported. This activity is followed by (31)P NMR and chromatography on poly(ethylenimine)-cellulose. It is revealed by the addition of ZnCl2 to a reaction mixture containing the enzyme, ATP-Mg(2+), L-phenylalanine, and pyrophosphatase It reflects the reaction enzyme-bound phenylalanyl adenylate with ATP instead of PPi and strongly depends on the hydrolysis of pyrophosphate in the assay medium. The zinc dependence of this reaction parallels that of the inhibition of tRNA(phe) aminoacylation which is described in the accompanying paper [Mayaux, J. F., & Blanquet, S. (1981) Biochemistry (preceding paper in this issue)]. In the presence of an unlimiting pyrophosphatase activity, diadenosine tetraphosphate synthesis by E. coli and yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetases occurs at maximal rates of 0.5 and 2 s-1, respectively (37 degrees C, pH 7.8, 150 mM KC1, 5 mM ATP, 10 mM MgCl2, 2 mM L-phenylalanine, and 80 muM ZnCl2). Under identical experimental conditions, E coli isoleucyl-, methionyl-, and tyrosyl-tRNA synthetases produce small amounts of diadenosine tetraphosphate at rates 2 or 3 orders of magnitude lower than that achieved by phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase. In the case of E. coli phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase, it is shown that the diadenosine tetraphosphate synthetase activity is accompanied by a diadenosinetetraphosphatase activity. This activity, actually supported by phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase, is responsible for the appearance of ADP in the assay medium. It requires also the presence of both ZnCl2 and L-phenylalanine. The formation of ADP from diadenosine tetraphosphate and its reaction with enzyme-bound aminoacyl adenylate account for the appearance in the reaction mixture of diadenosine 5' ,5"' -P(1) ,P(3)-triphosphate, after that of diadenosine tetraphosphate. The significance of these findings in the context of the role of diadenosine tetraphosphate in controlling cellular growth is discussed.
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Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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