Insights into substrate promiscuity of human seryl-tRNA synthetase

Kaitlyn M. Holman, Anupama K. Puppala, Jonathan W. Lee, Hyun Lee, Miljan Simonović
2017 RNA: A publication of the RNA Society  
Seryl-tRNA synthetase (SerRS) attaches L-serine to the cognate serine tRNA (tRNA Ser ) and the noncognate selenocysteine tRNA (tRNA Sec ). The latter activity initiates the anabolic cycle of selenocysteine (Sec), proper decoding of an in-frame Sec UGA codon, and synthesis of selenoproteins across all domains of life. While the accuracy of SerRS is important for overall proteome integrity, it is its substrate promiscuity that is vital for the integrity of the selenoproteome. This raises a
more » ... n as to what elements in the two tRNA species, harboring different anticodon sequences and adopting distinct folds, facilitate aminoacylation by a common aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. We sought to answer this question by analyzing the ability of human cytosolic SerRS to bind and act on tRNA Ser , tRNA Sec , and 10 mutant and chimeric constructs in which elements of tRNA Ser were transposed onto tRNA Sec . We show that human SerRS only subtly prefers tRNA Ser to tRNA Sec , and that discrimination occurs at the level of the serylation reaction. Surprisingly, the tRNA mutants predicted to adopt either the 7/5 or 8/5 fold are poor SerRS substrates. In contrast, shortening of the acceptor arm of tRNA Sec by a single base pair yields an improved SerRS substrate that adopts an 8/4 fold. We suggest that an optimal tertiary arrangement of structural elements within tRNA Sec and tRNA Ser dictate their utility for serylation. We also speculate that the extended acceptor-TΨC arm of tRNA Sec evolved as a compromise for productive binding to SerRS while remaining the major recognition element for other enzymes involved in Sec and selenoprotein synthesis.
doi:10.1261/rna.061069.117 pmid:28808125 fatcat:d7bzr3dljjbnvimg5t77e5yf7e