Research Articles

Structure of E. coli glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase complexed with tRNA(Gln) and ATP at 2.8 A resolution

Science  01 Dec 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4934, pp. 1135-1142
DOI: 10.1126/science.2479982


The crystal structure of Escherichia coli glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (GlnRS) complexed with its cognate glutaminyl transfer RNA (tRNA(Gln] and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) has been derived from a 2.8 angstrom resolution electron density map and the known protein and tRNA sequences. The 63.4-kilodalton monomeric enzyme consists of four domains arranged to give an elongated molecule with an axial ratio greater than 3 to 1. Its interactions with the tRNA extend from the anticodon to the acceptor stem along the entire inside of the L of the tRNA. The complexed tRNA retains the overall conformation of the yeast phenylalanine tRNA (tRNA(Phe] with two major differences: the 3' acceptor strand of tRNA(Gln) makes a hairpin turn toward the inside of the L, with the disruption of the final base pair of the acceptor stem, and the anticodon loop adopts a conformation not seen in any of the previously determined tRNA structures. Specific recognition elements identified so far include (i) enzyme contacts with the 2-amino groups of guanine via the tRNA minor groove in the acceptor stem at G2 and G3; (ii) interactions between the enzyme and the anticodon nucleotides; and (iii) the ability of the nucleotides G73 and U1.A72 of the cognate tRNA to assume a conformation stabilized by the protein at a lower free energy cost than noncognate sequences. The central domain of this synthetase binds ATP, glutamine, and the acceptor end of the tRNA as well as making specific interactions with the acceptor stem.2+t is

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