Conformational sampling of aminoacyl-tRNA during selection on the bacterial ribosome.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Journal of Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 3.91). 04/2010; 399(4):576-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.04.038
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aminoacyl-tRNA (aa-tRNA), in a ternary complex with elongation factor-Tu and GTP, enters the aminoacyl (A) site of the ribosome via a multi-step, mRNA codon-dependent mechanism. This process gives rise to the preferential selection of cognate aa-tRNAs for each mRNA codon and, consequently, the fidelity of gene expression. The ribosome actively facilitates this process by recognizing structural features of the correct substrate, initiated in its decoding site, to accelerate the rates of elongation factor-Tu-catalyzed GTP hydrolysis and ribosome-catalyzed peptide bond formation. Here, the order and timing of conformational events underpinning the aa-tRNA selection process were investigated from multiple structural perspectives using single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer. The time resolution of these measurements was extended to 2.5 and 10 ms, a 10- to 50-fold improvement over previous studies. The data obtained reveal that aa-tRNA undergoes fast conformational sampling within the A site, both before and after GTP hydrolysis. This suggests that the alignment of aa-tRNA with respect to structural elements required for irreversible GTP hydrolysis and peptide bond formation plays a key role in the fidelity mechanism. These observations provide direct evidence that the selection process is governed by motions of aa-tRNA within the A site, adding new insights into the physical framework that helps explain how the rates of GTP hydrolysis and peptide bond formation are controlled by the mRNA codon and other fidelity determinants within the system.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During protein synthesis in cells, translating ribosomes may encounter abnormal situations that lead to retention of immature peptidyl-tRNA on the ribosome due to failure of suitable termination processes. Bacterial cells handle such situations by employing three systems that rescue the stalled translation machinery. The transfer messenger RNA/small protein B (tmRNA/SmpB) system, also called the trans-translation system, rescues stalled ribosomes by initiating template switching from the incomplete mRNA to the short open reading frame of tmRNA, leading to the production of a protein containing a C-terminal tag that renders it susceptible to proteolysis. The ArfA/RF2 and ArfB systems rescue stalled ribosomes directly by hydrolyzing the immature peptidyl-tRNA remaining on the ribosome. Here, the biochemical aspects of these systems, as clarified by recent studies, are reviewed.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 01/2014; 5:170. · 3.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 01/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fluorescence provides a mechanism for achieving contrast in biological imaging that enables investigations of molecular structure, dynamics, and function at high spatial and temporal resolution. Small-molecule organic fluorophores have proven essential for such efforts and are widely used in advanced applications such as single-molecule and super-resolution microscopy. Yet, organic fluorophores, like all fluorescent species, exhibit instabilities in their emission characteristics, including blinking and photobleaching that limit their utility and performance. Here, we review the photophysics and photochemistry of organic fluorophores as they pertain to mitigating such instabilities, with a specific focus on the development of stabilized fluorophores through derivatization. Self-healing organic fluorophores, wherein the triplet state is intramolecularly quenched by a covalently attached protective agent, exhibit markedly improved photostabilities. We discuss the potential for further enhancements towards the goal of developing "ultra-stable" fluorophores spanning the visible spectrum and how such fluorophores are likely to impact the future of single-molecule research.
    Chemical Society Reviews 11/2013; · 24.89 Impact Factor


Available from