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Structural studies on tRNA acceptor stem microhelices: exchange of the discriminator base A73 for G in human tRNALeu switches the acceptor specificity from leucine to serine possibly by decreasing the stability of the terminal G1-C72 base pair.

By A U Metzger, M Heckl, D Willbold, K Breitschopf, U L RajBhandary, P Rösch and H J Gross


Correct recognition of transfer RNAs (tRNAs) by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS) is crucial to the maintenance of translational fidelity. The discriminator base A73 in human tRNALeuis critical for its specific recognition by the aaRS. Exchanging A73 for G abolishes leucine acceptance and converts it into a serine acceptor in vitro . Two RNA microhelices of 24 nt length that correspond to the tRNALeuacceptor stem and differ only in the discriminator base were synthesized: a wild-type tRNALeumicrohelix, where nt 21 corresponds to the discriminator base position 73, and an A21G mutant microhelix. To investigate whether different identities of both tRNAs are caused by conformational differences, NMR and UV melting experiments were performed on both microhelices. Two-dimentional NOESY spectra showed both microhelices to exhibit the same overall conformation at their 3'-CCA ends. Thermodynamic analysis and melting behaviour of the base-paired imino protons observed by NMR spectroscopy suggest that the A21G (A73G in tRNA) exchange results in a decrease of melting transition cooperativity and a destabilization of the terminal G1-C20 (G1-C72 in tRNA) base pair. Furthermore, the fact that this 3'-terminal imino proton is more solvent-exposed at physiological temperature might be another indication for the importance of the stability of the terminal base pair for specific tRNA recognition

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
DOI identifier: 10.1093/nar/25.22.4551
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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