A freestanding proofreading domain is required for protein synthesis quality control in Archaea
AuthorKorencic, D.; Ahel, I.; Schelert, J.; Sacher, M.; Ruan, B.; Stathopoulos, C.; Blum, P.; Ibba, M.; Söll, D.
Threonyl-tRNA synthetase (ThrRS) participates in protein synthesis quality control by selectively editing the misacylated species Ser-tRNAThr. In bacteria and eukaryotes the editing function of ThrRS resides in a highly conserved N-terminal domain distant from the active site. Most archaeal ThrRS proteins are devoid of this editing domain, suggesting evolutionary divergence of quality-control mechanisms. Here we show that archaeal editing of Ser-tRNAThr is catalyzed by a domain unrelated to, and absent from, bacterial and eukaryotic ThrRSs. Despite the lack of sequence homology, the archaeal and bacterial editing domains are both reliant on a pair of essential histidine residues suggestive of a common catalytic mechanism. Whereas the archaeal editing module is most commonly part of full-length ThrRS, several crenarchaeal species contain individual genes encoding the catalytic (ThrRS-cat) and editing domains (ThrRS-ed). Sulfolobus solfataricus ThrRS-cat was shown to synthesize both Thr-tRNAThr and Ser-tRNAThr and to lack editing activity against Ser-tRNAThr. In contrast, ThrRS-ed lacks aminoacylation activity but can act as an autonomous protein in trans to hydrolyze specifically Ser-tRNAThr, or it can be fused to ThrRS-cat to provide the same function in cis. Deletion analyses indicate that ThrRS-ed is dispensable for growth of S.solfataricus under standard conditions but is required for normal growth in media with elevated serine levels. The growth phenotype of the ThrRS-ed deletion strain suggests that retention of the discontinuous ThrRS quaternary structure relates to specific physiological requirements still evident in certain Archaea.
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