Competition for amino acid flux among translation, growth and detoxification in bacteria

RNA Biol. 2018;15(8):991-994. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2017.1306174. Epub 2017 Apr 17.


Transfer-tRNAs (tRNAs) are central entities for translation that deliver amino acids to the ribosome to translate genetic information in an mRNA-template dependent manner. Recent discoveries from our laboratory show that in E. coli and B. licheniformis, some tRNAs are poorly charged despite the plentiful intracellular cognate amino acid. Specifically, tRNAs carrying amino acids that exert toxicity and inhibit bacterial growth when added separately to the growth medium are poorly charged. Here, we discuss various evolutionary strategies different bacterial cells have adopted to precisely hone the competition between amino acid utilization for translation and proliferation and combat the inhibitory effect toward maximizing bacterial fitness. These data add a new twist to the amino acid flux models and to our understanding of the complex intimate link between dynamics of translation and bacterial growth.

Keywords: Amino acids; aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetases; bacterial growth; bacterial translation; tRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis*


  • Amino Acids
  • Environmental Pollutants