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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2016 Jul 15;602:95-105. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2016.03.005. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Transfer RNA: From pioneering crystallographic studies to contemporary tRNA biology.

Author information

1
UPR 9002 du CNRS, Architecture et Réactivité de l'ARN, IBMC, Université de Strasbourg, 15 rue René Descarte, Strasbourg, F-67084, France.
2
UPR 2357 du CNRS, IBMP, Université de Strasbourg, 12 rue du général Zimmer, F-67084, Strasbourg, France.
3
UPR 9002 du CNRS, Architecture et Réactivité de l'ARN, IBMC, Université de Strasbourg, 15 rue René Descarte, Strasbourg, F-67084, France; Department of Chemistry, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, USA.
4
UMR 7156 du CNRS, Génétique Moléculaire, Génomique, Microbiologie, Université de Strasbourg, 4 Allée Konrad Roentgen, Strasbourg, F-67084, France.
5
UPR 9002 du CNRS, Architecture et Réactivité de l'ARN, IBMC, Université de Strasbourg, 15 rue René Descarte, Strasbourg, F-67084, France. Electronic address: c.sauter@ibmc-cnrs.unistra.fr.

Abstract

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) play a key role in protein synthesis as adaptor molecules between messenger RNA and protein sequences on the ribosome. Their discovery in the early sixties provoked a worldwide infatuation with the study of their architecture and their function in the decoding of genetic information. tRNAs are also emblematic molecules in crystallography: the determination of the first tRNA crystal structures represented a milestone in structural biology and tRNAs were for a long period the sole source of information on RNA folding, architecture, and post-transcriptional modifications. Crystallographic data on tRNAs in complex with aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) also provided the first insight into protein:RNA interactions. Beyond the translation process and the history of structural investigations on tRNA, this review also illustrates the renewal of tRNA biology with the discovery of a growing number of tRNA partners in the cell, the involvement of tRNAs in a variety of regulatory and metabolic pathways, and emerging applications in biotechnology and synthetic biology.

KEYWORDS:

Crystallography; Genetic code; Protein synthesis; RNA:protein recognition; Transfer RNA; Translation

PMID:
26968773
DOI:
10.1016/j.abb.2016.03.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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