Toward a model for the interaction between elongation factor Tu and the ribosome

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Science  26 Feb 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5099, pp. 1311-1314
DOI: 10.1126/science.8446899


In the elongation cycle of bacterial protein synthesis the interaction between elongation factor-Tu (EF-Tu).guanosine triphosphate (GTP), aminoacyl-transfer RNA (aa-tRNA), and messenger RNA-programmed ribosomes is associated with the hydrolysis of GTP. This interaction determines the selection of the proper aa-tRNA for incorporation into the polypeptide. In the canonical scheme, one molecule of GTP is hydrolyzed in the EF-Tu-dependent binding of aa-tRNA to the ribosome, and a second molecule is hydrolyzed in the elongation factor-G (EF-G)-mediated translocation of the polypeptide from the ribosomal A site to the P site. Substitution of Asp138 with Asn in EF-Tu changed the substrate specificity from GTP to xanthosine triphosphate and demonstrated that the EF-Tu-mediated reactions involved the hydrolysis of two nucleotide triphosphates for each Phe incorporated. This stoichiometry of two is associated with the binding of the correct aa-tRNA to the ribosome.