Anticodon switching changes the identity of methionine and valine transfer RNAs

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Science  04 Nov 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4879, pp. 765-768
DOI: 10.1126/science.3055296


The anticodon has previously been shown to play a role in recognition of certain transfer RNAs by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases; however, the extent to which this sequence dictates tRNA identity is generally unknown. To investigate the contribution of the anticodon to the identity of Escherichia coli methionine and valine tRNAs, in vitro transcripts of these tRNAs were prepared that contained normal and interchanged anticodon sequences. Transcripts containing wild-type tRNA sequences were excellent substrates for their respective cognate aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and were effectively discriminated against by a variety of noncognate enzymes. The mutant tRNAs produced by switching the anticodon sequences lost their original tRNA identity and assumed an identity corresponding to the acquired anticodon sequence. These results indicate that the anticodon contains sufficient information to distinguish methionine and valine tRNAs with high fidelity.

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