The Accuracy of Seryl-tRNA Synthesis

Ivana Weygand-Durasevic1,2*, Ita Gruic-Sovulj1,2, Sanda Rocak1,2 and Irena Landeka1,2

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

2Rudjer Bošković Institute, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Article history:

Received July 11, 2002
Accepted November 7, 2002

Key words:

aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase, tRNA-dependent amino acid recognition, amino acid selection, protein-protein interactions, activation of aminoacylation


The high level of translational fidelity is ensured by various types of quality control mechanisms, which are adapted to prevent or correct naturally occurring mistakes. Accurate aminoacyl-tRNA synthesis is mostly dependent on the specificity of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS), i.e. their ability to choose among competing structurally similar substrates. Our studies have revealed that accurate seryl-tRNA synthesis in yeast and plants is accomplished via tRNA-assisted optimization of amino acid binding to the active site of seryl-tRNA synthetase (SerRS). Based on our recent kinetic data, a mechanism is proposed by which transient protein : RNA complex activates the cognate amino acid more efficiently and more specifically than the apoenzyme alone. This may proceed via a tRNA-induced conformational change in the enzyme’s active site. The influence of tRNASer, on the activation of serine by SerRS variants mutated in the active site, is much less pronounced. Although SerRS misactivates structurally similar threonine in vitro, the formation of such erroneous threonyl-adenylate is reduced in the presence of nonchargeable tRNASer analog. Thus, the sequence-specific tRNA : SerRS interactions enhance the accuracy of amino acid recognition. Another type of quality control mechanism in tRNA serylation is assumed to be based on the complex formation between SerRS and a nonsynthetase protein. Using in vivo interaction screen, yeast peroxin Pex21p was identified as SerRS interacting protein. This was confirmed by an in vitro binding assay. Kinetic experiments performed in the presence of Pex21p revealed that this peroxin acts as an activator of seryl-tRNA synthetase in the aminoacylation reaction.

*Corresponding author:     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.