Article

Interactions between tRNA identity nucleotides and their recognition sites in glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase determine the cognate amino acid affinity of the enzyme

Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8114, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 08/1996; 93(14):6953-8. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.93.14.6953
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sequence-specific interactions between aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and their cognate tRNAs both ensure accurate RNA recognition and prevent the binding of noncognate substrates. Here we show for Escherichia coli glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (GlnRS; EC 6.1.1.18) that the accuracy of tRNA recognition also determines the efficiency of cognate amino acid recognition. Steady-state kinetics revealed that interactions between tRNA identity nucleotides and their recognition sites in the enzyme modulate the amino acid affinity of GlnRS. Perturbation of any of the protein-RNA interactions through mutation of either component led to considerable changes in glutamine affinity with the most marked effects seen at the discriminator base, the 10:25 base pair, and the anticodon. Reexamination of the identity set of tRNA(Gln) in the light of these results indicates that its constituents can be differentiated based upon biochemical function and their contribution to the apparent Gibbs' free energy of tRNA binding. Interactions with the acceptor stem act as strong determinants of tRNA specificity, with the discriminator base positioning the 3' end. The 10:25 base pair and U35 are apparently the major binding sites to GlnRS, with G36 contributing both to binding and recognition. Furthermore, we show that E. coli tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase also displays tRNA-dependent changes in tryptophan affinity when charging a noncognate tRNA. The ability of tRNA to optimize amino acid recognition reveals a novel mechanism for maintaining translational fidelity and also provides a strong basis for the coevolution of tRNAs and their cognate synthetases.

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