Transfer RNA control of the activation of isomeric tRNATrp's.

B. L. Alford, S. M. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Previous studies of the homologous aminoacylations of Escherichia coli and yeast tRNATrp's terminating in 2'- and 3'-deoxyadenosine established that E. coli tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase activates its cognate tRNA preferentially on the 2' position, while the corresponding yeast enzyme utilizes the 3' position on its homologous substrate tRNA. As this seemed to be the only change in positional specificity during evolution, the heterologous activations were investigated in an effort to determine the basis for this change. Remarkably, E. coli tRNATrp terminating in 3'-deoxyadenosine was found to be the preferred substrate for both the E. coli and yeast activating enzymes, while the same tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase preparations both activated the isomeric yeast tRNATrp's preferentially on the 3' position. Thus, the preferred position of activation was found to be specified by the tRNA rather than the activating enzyme and, additionally, to be due to some process not reflected in initial velocity measurements. The variable utilization of individual modified aminoacyl-tRNA's as substrates in an enzyme-catalyzed deacylation process appears to provide the most likely explanation for the experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6873-6875
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 10 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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