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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Jul 28;1386(1):1-15.

A peculiarity of the reaction of tRNA aminoacylation catalyzed by phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase from the extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus.

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Novosibirsk Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 630090, prospect Lavrentiev 8, Novosibirsk, Russia.


It was confirmed unambiguously that the anomalously high plateau in the tRNA aminoacylation reaction catalyzed by Thermus thermophilus phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase is a result of enzymatic synthesis of tRNA bearing two bound phenylalanyl residues (bisphenylalanyl-tRNA). The efficiency of bisphenylalanyl-tRNA formation was shown to be quite low: the second phenylalanyl residue is attached to tRNA approximately 50 times more slowly than the first one. The thermophilic synthetase can aminoacylate twice not only T. thermophilus tRNAPhe but also Escherichia coli tRNAPhe and E. coli tRNAPhe transcript, indicating that the presence of modified nucleotides is not necessary for tRNAPhe overcharging. Bisphenylalanyl-tRNA is stable in acidic solution, but it decomposes in alkaline medium yielding finally tRNA and free phenylalanine. Under these conditions phenylalanine is released from bisphenylalanyl-tRNA with almost the same rate as from monophenylalanyl-tRNA. In the presence of the enzyme the rate of bisphenylalanyl-tRNA deacylation increases. Aminoacylated tRNAPhe isolated from T. thermophilus living cells was observed to contain no detectable bisphenylalanyl-tRNA under normal growth of culture. A possible mechanism of bisphenylalanyl-tRNA synthesis is discussed.

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