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Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2008;9:87-107. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genom.9.081307.164204.

The role of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in genetic diseases.

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  • 1Genome Technology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are ubiquitously expressed, essential enzymes responsible for performing the first step of protein synthesis. Specifically, ARSs attach amino acids to their cognate tRNA molecules in the cytoplasm and mitochondria. Recent studies have demonstrated that mutations in genes encoding ARSs can result in neurodegeneration, raising many questions about the role of these enzymes (and protein synthesis in general) in neuronal function. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of genetic diseases that are associated with mutations in ARS-encoding genes, discuss the potential pathogenic mechanisms underlying these disorders, and point to likely areas of future research that will advance our understanding about the role of ARSs in genetic diseases.

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