tRNA recognition and evolution of determinants in seryl-tRNA synthesis

Nucleic Acids Res. 1999 Feb 1;27(3):721-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/27.3.721.


We have analyzed the evolution of recognition of tRNAsSerby seryl-tRNA synthetases, and compared it to other type 2 tRNAs, which contain a long extra arm. In Eubacteria and chloroplasts this type of tRNA is restricted to three families: tRNALeu, tRNASer and tRNATyr. tRNALeuand tRNASer also carry a long extra arm in Archaea, Eukarya and all organelles with the exception of animal mitochondria. In contrast, the long extra arm of tRNATyr is far less conserved: it was drastically shortened after the separation of Archaea and Eukarya from Eubacteria, and it is also truncated in animal mitochondria. The high degree of phylo-genetic divergence in the length of tRNA variable arms, which are recognized by both class I and class II aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, makes type 2 tRNA recognition an ideal system with which to study how tRNA discrimination may have evolved in tandem with the evolution of other components of the translation machinery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acylation
  • Animals
  • Escherichia coli
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / metabolism
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acyl / biosynthesis*
  • Serine-tRNA Ligase / metabolism*


  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acyl
  • tRNA, selenocysteine-
  • Serine-tRNA Ligase