The adaptor hypothesis revisited

Trends Biochem Sci. 2000 Jul;25(7):311-6. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(00)01600-5.


As originally postulated in Crick's Adaptor hypothesis, the faithful synthesis of proteins from messenger RNA is dependent on the presence of perfectly acylated tRNAs. The hypothesis also suggested that each aminoacyl-tRNA would be made by a unique enzyme. Recent data have now forced a revision of this latter point, with an increasingly diverse array of enzymes and pathways being implicated in aminoacyl-tRNA synthesis. These unexpected findings have far-reaching implications for our understanding of protein synthesis and its origins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / classification
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / genetics
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / metabolism*
  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Lysine-tRNA Ligase / classification
  • Lysine-tRNA Ligase / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / genetics
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases
  • cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase
  • Lysine-tRNA Ligase