Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are a conserved family of enzymes with an essential role in protein synthesis: ligating amino acids to cognate tRNA molecules for translation. In addition to their role in tRNA charging, aaRSs have acquired non-canonical functions, including post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA expression. Yet, the extent and mechanisms of these post-transcriptional functions are largely unknown. Herein, we performed a comprehensive transcriptome analysis to define the mRNAs that are associated with almost all aaRSs present in S. cerevisiae cytosol. Nineteen (out of twenty) isogenic strains of GFP-tagged cytosolic aaRSs were subjected to immunoprecipitation with anti-GFP beads along with an untagged control. mRNAs associated with each aaRS were then identified by RNA-seq. The extent of mRNA association varied significantly between aaRSs, from MetRS in which none appeared to be statistically significant, to PheRS that binds hundreds of different mRNAs. Interestingly, many target mRNAs are bound by multiple aaRSs, suggesting co-regulation by this family of enzymes. Gene Ontology analyses for aaRSs with a considerable number of target mRNAs discovered an enrichment for pathways of amino acid metabolism and of ribosome biosynthesis. Furthermore, sequence and structure motif analysis revealed for some aaRSs an enrichment for motifs that resemble the anticodon stem loop of cognate tRNAs. These data suggest that aaRSs coordinate mRNA expression in response to amino acid availability and may utilize RNA elements that mimic their canonical tRNA binding partners.
Keywords: Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases; RIP-seq; RNA-binding proteins; mRNA; post-transcriptional regulation; yeast.