Conformational and chemical selection by a -acting editing domain.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Volume 114, Issue 33, p.E6774-E6783 (2017)


Amino Acids, Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases, Bacterial Proteins, Binding Sites, Caulobacter crescentus, Crystallography, X-Ray, Models, Molecular, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Nucleic Acid Conformation, Protein Biosynthesis, Protein Conformation, RNA Editing, RNA, Transfer, Pro, Substrate Specificity


<p>Molecular sieves ensure proper pairing of tRNAs and amino acids during aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, thereby avoiding detrimental effects of mistranslation on cell growth and viability. Mischarging errors are often corrected through the activity of specialized editing domains present in some aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases or via single-domain -editing proteins. ProXp-ala is a ubiquitous -editing enzyme that edits Ala-tRNA, the product of Ala mischarging by prolyl-tRNA synthetase, although the structural basis for discrimination between correctly charged Pro-tRNA and mischarged Ala-tRNA is unclear. Deacylation assays using substrate analogs reveal that size discrimination is only one component of selectivity. We used NMR spectroscopy and sequence conservation to guide extensive site-directed mutagenesis of ProXp-ala, along with binding and deacylation assays to map specificity determinants. Chemical shift perturbations induced by an uncharged tRNA acceptor stem mimic, microhelix, or a nonhydrolyzable mischarged Ala-microhelix substrate analog identified residues important for binding and deacylation. Backbone N NMR relaxation experiments revealed dynamics for a helix flanking the substrate binding site in free ProXp-ala, likely reflecting sampling of open and closed conformations. Dynamics persist on binding to the uncharged microhelix, but are attenuated when the stably mischarged analog is bound. Computational docking and molecular dynamics simulations provide structural context for these findings and predict a role for the substrate primary α-amine group in substrate recognition. Overall, our results illuminate strategies used by a -editing domain to ensure acceptance of only mischarged Ala-tRNA, including conformational selection by a dynamic helix, size-based exclusion, and optimal positioning of substrate chemical groups.</p>