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J Cell Sci. 2004 Aug 1;117(Pt 17):3725-34.

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complexes: beyond translation.

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  • 1National Creative Research Initiatives Center for ARS Network, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Although aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are housekeeping enzymes essential for protein synthesis, they can play non-catalytic roles in diverse biological processes. Some ARSs are capable of forming complexes with each other and additional proteins. This characteristic is most pronounced in mammals, which produce a macromolecular complex comprising nine different ARSs and three additional factors: p43, p38 and p18. We have been aware of the existence of this complex for a long time, but its structure and function have not been well understood. The only apparent distinction between the complex-forming ARSs and those that do not form complexes is their ability to interact with the three non-enzymatic factors. These factors are required not only for the catalytic activity and stability of the associated ARSs, such as isoleucyl-, methionyl-, and arginyl-tRNA synthetase, but also for diverse signal transduction pathways. They may thus have joined the ARS community to coordinate protein synthesis with other biological processes.

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