Role of tRNA amino acid-accepting end in aminoacylation and its quality control
Xiao-Long Zhou, Dao-Hai Du, Min Tan, Hui-Yan Lei, Liang-Liang Ruan, Gilbert Eriani and En-Duo Wang
Aminoacyl–tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are remarkable enzymes that are in charge of the accurate recognition and ligation of amino acids and tRNA molecules. The greatest difficulty in accurate aminoacylation appears to be in discriminating between highly similar amino acids. To reduce mischarging of tRNAs by non-cognate amino acids, aaRSs have evolved an editing activity in a second active site to cleave the incorrect aminoacyl–tRNAs. Editing occurs after translocation of the aminoacyl–CCA76 end to the editing site, switching between a hairpin and a helical conformation for aminoacylation and editing. Here, we studied the consequence of nucleotide changes in the CCA76 accepting end of tRNALeu during the aminoacylation and editing reactions. The analysis showed that the terminal A76 is essential for both reactions, suggesting that critical interactions occur in the two catalytic sites. Substitutions of C74 and C75 selectively decreased aminoacylation keeping nearly unaffected editing. These mutations might favor the regular helical conformation required to reach the editing site. Mutating the editing domain residues that contribute to CCA76 binding reduced the aminoacylation fidelity leading to cell-toxicity in the presence of non-cognate amino acids. Collectively, the data show how protein synthesis quality is controlled by the CCA76 homogeneity of tRNAs.