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Eur J Biochem. 1983 May 16;132(3):537-44.

Interaction of tRNAPhe and tRNAVal with aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. A chemical modification study.


The alkylation by ethylnitrosourea of phosphodiester bonds in tRNAPhe from yeast and in tRNAVal from yeast and from rabbit liver and that by 4-(N-2-chloroethyl-N-methylamino)-benzylamine of N-7 atoms of guanosine residues in yeast tRNAVal have been used to study the interaction of these tRNAs with aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. The modifications occurring at low yield were carried out on 3' and/or 5' end-labelled tRNAs either free or in the presence of cognate or non-cognate synthetases. After splitting of the tRNAs at the alkylated positions, the position of the modification sites in the tRNA sequences were detected by acrylamide gel electrophoresis. It was found that the synthetases protect against alkylation certain phosphate or guanosine residues in their cognate tRNAs. Non-cognate synthetases failed to protect efficiently specific positions in tRNA against modification. In yeast tRNAPhe the cognate phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase protects certain phosphates located in all four stems and in the anticodon and extra-loop of the tRNA. Particularly strong protections occur on phosphate 34 in the anticodon loop and on phosphates 23, 27, 28, 41 and 46 in the D and anticodon stems. In yeast tRNAVal complexed with yeast valyl-tRNA synthetase the protected phosphates are essentially located in the corner between the amino-acid-accepting and D stems, in the D loop, anticodon stem and in the variable region of the tRNA. Three guanosine residues, located in the D stem, and another one in the 3' part of the anticodon stem were also found protected by the synthetase. In mammalian tRNAVal, complexed with the cognate but heterologous yeast valyl-tRNA synthetase, the protected phosphates lie in the anticodon stem, in the extra-loop and in the T psi arm. The location of the protected residues in the structure of three tRNAs suggests some common features in the binding of tRNAs to aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. These results will be discussed in the light of informations on interaction sites obtained by nuclease digestion and ultraviolet cross-linking methods.

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