A recurrent RNA-binding domain is appended to eukaryotic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.
ABSTRACT: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases of higher eukaryotes possess polypeptide extensions in contrast to their prokaryotic counterparts. These extra domains of poorly understood function are believed to be involved in protein-protein or protein-RNA interactions. Here we showed by gel retardation and filter binding experiments that the repeated units that build the linker region of the bifunctional glutamyl-prolyl-tRNA synthetase had a general RNA-binding capacity. The solution structure of one of these repeated motifs was also solved by NMR spectroscopy. One repeat is built around an antiparallel coiled-coil. Strikingly, the conserved lysine and arginine residues form a basic patch on one side of the structure, presenting a suitable docking surface for nucleic acids. Therefore, this repeated motif may represent a novel type of general RNA-binding domain appended to eukaryotic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases to serve as a cis-acting tRNA-binding cofactor.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Leishmania major, a protozoan parasite, is the causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Due to the development of resistance against the currently available anti-leishmanial drugs, there is a growing need for specific inhibitors and novel drug targets. In this regards, aminoacyl tRNA synthetases, the linchpins of protein synthesis, have received recent attention among the kinetoplastid research community. This is the first comprehensive survey of the aminoacyl tRNA synthetases, their paralogs and other associated proteins from L. major. RESULTS: A total of 26 aminoacyl tRNA synthetases were identified using various computational and bioinformatics tools. Phylogenetic analysis and domain architectures of the L. major aminoacyl tRNA synthetases suggest a probable archaeal/eukaryotic origin. Presence of additional domains or N- or C-terminal extensions in 11 aminoacyl tRNA synthetases from L. major suggests possibilities such as additional tRNA binding or oligomerization or editing activity. Five freestanding editing domains were identified in L. major. Domain assignment revealed a novel asparagine tRNA synthetase paralog, asparagine synthetase A which has been so far reported from prokaryotes and archaea. CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive bioinformatic analysis revealed 26 aminoacyl tRNA synthetases and five freestanding editing domains in L. major. Identification of two EMAP (endothelial monocyte-activating polypeptide) II-like proteins similar to human EMAP II-like proteins suggests their participation in multisynthetase complex formation. While the phylogeny of tRNA synthetases suggests a probable archaeal/eukaryotic origin, phylogeny of asparagine synthetase A strongly suggests a bacterial origin. The unique features identified in this work provide rationale for designing inhibitors against parasite aminoacyl tRNA synthetases and their paralogs.
Project description:The aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are one of the major protein components in the translation machinery. These essential proteins are found in all forms of life and are responsible for charging their cognate tRNAs with the correct amino acid. The evolution of the tRNA synthetases is of fundamental importance with respect to the nature of the biological cell and the transition from an RNA world to the modern world dominated by protein-enzymes. We present a structure-based phylogeny of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. By using structural alignments of all of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases of known structure in combination with a new measure of structural homology, we have reconstructed the evolutionary history of these proteins. In order to derive unbiased statistics from the structural alignments, we introduce a multidimensional QR factorization which produces a nonredundant set of structures. Since protein structure is more highly conserved than protein sequence, this study has allowed us to glimpse the evolution of protein structure that predates the root of the universal phylogenetic tree. The extensive sequence-based phylogenetic analysis of the tRNA synthetases (Woese et al., Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 64:202-236, 2000) has further enabled us to reconstruct the complete evolutionary profile of these proteins and to make connections between major evolutionary events and the resulting changes in protein shape. We also discuss the effect of functional specificity on protein shape over the complex evolutionary course of the tRNA synthetases.
Project description:We have taken a rational approach to redesigning the amino acid binding and aminoacyl-tRNA pairing specificities of bacterial glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase. The four-stage engineering incorporates generalizable design principles and improves the pairing efficiency of noncognate glutamate with tRNA(Gln) by over 10(5)-fold compared to the wild-type enzyme. Better optimized designs of the protein-RNA complex include substantial reengineering of the globular core region of the tRNA, demonstrating a role for specific tRNA nucleotides in specifying the identity of the genetically encoded amino acid. Principles emerging from this engineering effort open new prospects for combining rational and genetic selection approaches to design novel aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases that ligate noncanonical amino acids onto tRNAs. This will facilitate reconstruction of the cellular translation apparatus for applications in synthetic biology.
Project description:A wide range of noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) can be incorporated into proteins in living cells by using engineered aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase/tRNA pairs. However, most engineered tRNA synthetases are polyspecific; that is, they can recognize multiple rather than one ncAA. Polyspecificity of engineered tRNA synthetases imposes a limit to the use of genetic code expansion because it prevents specific incorporation of a desired ncAA when multiple ncAAs are present in the growth media. In this study, we employed directed evolution to improve substrate selectivity of polyspecific tRNA synthetases by developing substrate-selective readouts for flow-cytometry-based screening with the simultaneous presence of multiple ncAAs. We applied this method to improve the selectivity of two commonly used tRNA synthetases, p-cyano-l-phenylalanyl aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase ( pCNFRS) and N?-acetyl-lysyl aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS), with broad specificity. Evolved pCNFRS and AcKRS variants exhibit significantly improved selectivity for ncAAs p-azido-l-phenylalanine ( pAzF) and m-iodo-l-phenylalanine ( mIF), respectively. To demonstrate the utility of our approach, we used the newly evolved tRNA synthetase variant to produce highly pure proteins containing the ncAA mIF, in the presence of multiple ncAAs present in the growth media. In summary, our new approach opens up a new avenue for engineering the next generation of tRNA synthetases with improved selectivity toward a desired ncAA.
Project description:Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) charge tRNAs with their cognate amino acid, an essential precursor step to loading of charged tRNAs onto the ribosome and addition of the amino acid to the growing polypeptide chain during protein synthesis. Because of this important biological function, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases have been the focus of anti-infective drug development efforts and two aaRS inhibitors have been approved as drugs. Several researchers in the scientific community requested aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases to be targeted in the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) structure determination pipeline. Here we investigate thirty-one aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases from infectious disease organisms by co-crystallization in the presence of their cognate amino acid, ATP, and/or inhibitors. Crystal structures were determined for a CysRS from Borrelia burgdorferi bound to AMP, GluRS from Borrelia burgdorferi and Burkholderia thailandensis bound to glutamic acid, a TrpRS from the eukaryotic pathogen Encephalitozoon cuniculi bound to tryptophan, a HisRS from Burkholderia thailandensis bound to histidine, and a LysRS from Burkholderia thailandensis bound to lysine. Thus, the presence of ligands may promote aaRS crystallization and structure determination. Comparison with homologous structures shows conformational flexibility that appears to be a recurring theme with this enzyme class.
Project description:Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are pivotal in determining how the genetic code is translated in amino acids and in providing the substrate for protein synthesis. As such, they fulfill a key role in a process universally conserved in all cellular organisms from their most complex to their most reduced parasitic forms. In contrast, even complex viruses were not found to encode much translation machinery, with the exception of isolated components such as tRNAs. In this context, the discovery of four aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases encoded in the genome of mimivirus together with a full set of translation initiation, elongation, and termination factors appeared to blur what was once a clear frontier between the cellular and viral world. Functional studies of two mimivirus tRNA synthetases confirmed the MetRS specificity for methionine and the TyrRS specificity for tyrosine and conformity with the identity rules for tRNA(Tyr) for archea/eukarya. The atomic structure of the mimivirus tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase in complex with tyrosinol exhibits the typical fold and active-site organization of archaeal-type TyrRS. However, the viral enzyme presents a unique dimeric conformation and significant differences in its anticodon binding site. The present work suggests that mimivirus aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases function as regular translation enzymes in infected amoebas. Their phylogenetic classification does not suggest that they have been acquired recently by horizontal gene transfer from a cellular host but rather militates in favor of an intricate evolutionary relationship between large DNA viruses and ancestral eukaryotes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Treatment of parasitic diseases has been challenging due to evolution of drug resistant parasites, and thus there is need to identify new class of drugs and drug targets. Protein translation is important for survival of malarial parasite, Plasmodium, and the pathway is present in all of its life cycle stages. Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases are primary enzymes in protein translation as they catalyse amino acid addition to the cognate tRNA. This study sought to understand differences between Plasmodium and human aminoacyl tRNA synthetases through bioinformatics analysis. METHODS:Plasmodium berghei, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium fragile, Plasmodium knowlesi, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium yoelii and human aminoacyl tRNA synthetase sequences were retrieved from UniProt database and grouped into 20 families based on amino acid specificity. These families were further divided into two classes. Both families and classes were analysed. Motif discovery was carried out using the MEME software, sequence identity calculation was done using an in-house Python script, multiple sequence alignments were performed using PROMALS3D and TCOFFEE tools, and phylogenetic tree calculations were performed using MEGA vs 7.0 tool. Possible alternative binding sites were predicted using FTMap webserver and SiteMap tool. RESULTS:Motif discovery revealed Plasmodium-specific motifs while phylogenetic tree calculations showed that Plasmodium proteins have different evolutionary history to the human homologues. Human aaRSs sequences showed low sequence identity (below 40%) compared to Plasmodium sequences. Prediction of alternative binding sites revealed potential druggable sites in PfArgRS, PfMetRS and PfProRS at regions that are weakly conserved when compared to the human homologues. Multiple sequence analysis, motif discovery, pairwise sequence identity calculations and phylogenetic tree analysis showed significant differences between parasite and human aaRSs proteins despite functional and structural conservation. These differences may provide a basis for further exploration of Plasmodium aminoacyl tRNA synthetases as potential drug targets. CONCLUSION:This study showed that, despite, functional and structural conservation, Plasmodium aaRSs have key differences from the human homologues. These differences in Plasmodium aaRSs can be targeted to develop anti-malarial drugs with less toxicity to the host.
Project description:The usefulness of affinity chromatography for the purification of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases was explored by using column ligands derived from the corresponding amino acid and aminoalkyladenylate, a non-labile analogue of the aminoacyladenylate reaction intermediate. Four modes of attachment of the aminoalkyladenylate to Sepharose were studied. The interaction between amino acid derivatives and the corresponding aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases is too weak to allow their use as ligands for affinity chromatography. Attachment of the aminoalkyladenylate via the alpha-nitrogen atom of the amino acid or via C-8 of the nucleotide abolishes synthetase binding, and immobilization via the oxidized ribose ring is only marginally useful. However, attachment of the aminoalkyladenylate to the matrix via N-6 of the nucleotide allows strong and specific synthetase binding, and the use of such columns permits the isolation of homogeneous synthetase from crude mixtures. The effect of non-specific adsorption and the utility of pre-columns and of specific substrate elution are investigated and discussed.
Project description:Coarse-grained simulations have emerged as invaluable tools for studying conformational changes in biomolecules. To evaluate the effectiveness of computationally inexpensive coarse-grained models in studying global and local dynamics of large protein systems like aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, we have performed coarse-grained normal mode analysis, as well as principle component analysis on trajectories of all-atom and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations for three aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases--Escherichia coli methionyl-tRNA synthetase, Thermus thermophilus leucyl-tRNA synthetase, and Enterococcus faecium prolyl-tRNA synthetase. In the present study, comparison of predicted dynamics based on B-factor and overlap calculations revealed that coarse-grained methods are comparable to the all-atom simulations in depicting the intrinsic global dynamics of the three enzymes. However, the principal component analyses of the motions obtained from the all-atom molecular dynamics simulations provide a superior description of the local fluctuations of these enzymes. In particular, the all-atom model was able to capture the functionally relevant substrate-induced dynamical changes in prolyl-tRNA synthetase. The alteration in the coupled dynamics between the catalytically important proline-binding loop and its neighboring structural elements due to substrate binding has been characterized and reported for the first time. Taken together, the study portrays comparable and contrasting situations in studying the functional dynamics of large multi-domain aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases using coarse-grained and all-atom simulation methods.
Project description:While tRNA and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are classes of biomolecules that have been extensively studied for decades, the finer details of how they carry out their fundamental biological functions in protein synthesis remain a challenge. Recent molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are verifying experimental observations and providing new insight that cannot be addressed from experiments alone. Throughout the review, we briefly discuss important historical events to provide a context for how far the field has progressed over the past few decades. We then review the background of tRNA molecules, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, and current state of the art MD simulation techniques for those who may be unfamiliar with any of those fields. Recent MD simulations of tRNA dynamics and folding and of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase dynamics and mechanistic characterizations are discussed. We highlight the recent successes and discuss how important questions can be addressed using current MD simulations techniques. We also outline several natural next steps for computational studies of AARS:tRNA complexes.