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FEBS Lett. 2010 Jan 21;584(2):366-75. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.11.045.

tRNA as an active chemical scaffold for diverse chemical transformations.

Author information

  • 1Cell and Molecular Biology Program, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, United States. Christopher.Francklyn@uvm.edu


During protein synthesis, tRNA serves as the intermediary between cognate amino acids and their corresponding RNA trinucleotide codons. Aminoacyl-tRNA is also a biosynthetic precursor and amino acid donor for other macromolecules. AA-tRNAs allow transformations of acidic amino acids into their amide-containing counterparts, and seryl-tRNA(Ser) donates serine for antibiotic synthesis. Aminoacyl-tRNA is also used to cross-link peptidoglycan, to lysinylate the lipid bilayer, and to allow proteolytic turnover via the N-end rule. These alternative functions may signal the use of RNA in early evolution as both a biological scaffold and a catalyst to achieve a wide variety of chemical transformations.

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