Reference: Lipman RS and Hou YM (1998) Aminoacylation of tRNA in the evolution of an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95(23):13495-500

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Abstract


Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases catalyze aminoacylation of tRNAs by joining an amino acid to its cognate tRNA. The selection of the cognate tRNA is jointly determined by separate structural domains that examine different regions of the tRNA. The cysteine-tRNA synthetase of Escherichia coli has domains that select for tRNAs containing U73, the GCA anticodon, and a specific tertiary structure at the corner of the tRNA L shape. The E. coli enzyme does not efficiently recognize the yeast or human tRNACys, indicating the evolution of determinants for tRNA aminoacylation from E. coli to yeast to human and the coevolution of synthetase domains that interact with these determinants. By successively modifying the yeast and human tRNACys to ones that are efficiently aminoacylated by the E. coli enzyme, we have identified determinants of the tRNA that are important for aminoacylation but that have diverged in the course of evolution. These determinants provide clues to the divergence of synthetase domains. We propose that the domain for selecting U73 is conserved in evolution. In contrast, we propose that the domain for selecting the corner of the tRNA L shape diverged early, after the separation between E. coli and yeast, while that for selecting the GCA-containing anticodon loop diverged late, after the separation between yeast and human.

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Lipman RS, Hou YM
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