Incorporation of the Arc1p tRNA-binding domain to the catalytic core of MetRS can functionally replace the yeast Arc1p-MetRS complex
The catalytic core of methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS) is conserved among all life kingdoms but, depending on species origin, is often linked to noncatalytic domains appended to its N- or C-terminus. These domains usually contribute to protein-protein or protein-tRNA interactions but their exact biological role and evolutionary purpose is poorly understood. Yeast MetRS contains an N-terminal appendix that mediates its interaction with the N-terminal part of Arc1p. Association with Arc1p controls the subcellular distribution of MetRS. Furthermore, the C-terminal part of Arc1p harbors a conserved tRNA-binding domain (TRBD) required for the Arc1p-dependent stimulation of the catalytic activity of MetRS. The same TRBD is found directly fused to catalytic domains of plant and nematode MetRS as well as human tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase. To investigate the purpose of Arc1p-MetRS complex formation in yeast, we tested the ability of TRBD to assist the function of MetRS independently of Arc1p. We attached the TRBD directly to the C-terminus of the MetRS catalytic core (MC) by constructing the chimeric protein MC-TRBD. The effect of MC-TRBD expression on yeast cell growth as well as its localization and in vitro aminoacylation activity were analyzed and compared to that of MC alone or wild-type MetRS, both in the absence or presence of Arc1p. We show that MC-TRBD exhibits improved enzymatic activity and can effectively substitute the MetRS-Arc1p binary complex in vivo. Moreover, MC-TRBD, being exclusively cytoplasmic, also mimics the MetRS-Arc1p complex in terms of subcellular localization. Our results suggest that the sole role of the N-terminal appended domain of yeast MetRS is to mediate the indirect association with the TRBD, which, nevertheless, can also function effectively in vivo when directly fused to the catalytic MetRS core. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.