Specific function of a G.U wobble pair from an adjacent helical site in tRNA(Ala) during recognition by alanyl-tRNA synthetase

RNA. 1996 Feb;2(2):105-9.


G.U wobble pairs are crucial to many examples of RNA-protein recognition. We previously concluded that the G.U wobble pair in the acceptor helix of Escherichia coli alanine tRNA (tRNA(Ala)) is recognized indirectly by alanyl-tRNA synthetase (AlaRS), although direct recognition may play some role. Our conclusion was based on the finding that amber suppressor tRNA Ala with G.U shifted to an adjacent helical site retained substantial but incomplete Ala acceptor function in vivo. Other researchers concluded that only direct recognition is operative. We report here a repeat of our original experiment using tRNA(Lys) instead of tRNA(Ala). We find, as in the original experiment, that a shifted G.U confers Ala acceptor activity. Moreover, the modified tRNA(Lys) was specific for Ala, corroborating our original conclusion and making it more compelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine-tRNA Ligase / metabolism*
  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA, Transfer, Ala / metabolism*


  • RNA, Transfer, Ala
  • Alanine-tRNA Ligase