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J Mol Evol. 1999 Apr;48(4):408-20.

Archaeabacterial seryl-tRNA synthetases: adaptation to extreme environments and evolutionary analysis.

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EMBL Grenoble Outstation, B.P. 156, 38042 Grenoble Cedex, France.


The aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are ubiquitous enzymes which catalyze a crucial step of the cell life, the specific attachment of amino acids to their cognate tRNA. The amino acid sequences of three archaeal seryl-tRNA synthetases (SerRS) from Haloarcula marismortui and Methanococcus jannaschii, both belonging to the group of Euryarchaeota, and from Sulfolobus solfataricus, of the group of Crenarchaeota, were aligned with other eubacterial and eukaryal available SerRS sequences. In an attempt to identify some features of adaptation to extreme environments of these organisms, amino acid composition and amino acid substitutions between mesophilic and thermophilic SerRS were analyzed. In addition, universal phylogenetic trees of SerRS including the three known archaeal sequences, rooted by the threonyl-tRNA synthetases were inferred. Amino acid analyses of the SerRS revealed two ways of adaptation to thermophilic environments between the Eubacteria and the Archaea; most of the usually described amino acid substitutions were nonsignificant in the case of archaeal thermophilic SerRS and most amino acid composition biases seemed to be linked to the genome G+C content pressure. The phylogenetic analysis of the SerRS showed the Archaea to be paraphyletic, H. marismortui emerging with the Gram-positive Bacteria, M. jannaschii being near the root of the tree, and S. solfataricus branching with Eucarya.

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