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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Homology of yeast mitochondrial leucyl-tRNA synthetase and isoleucyl- and methionyl-tRNA synthetases of Escherichia coli.

Respiratory deficient mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae previously assigned to complementation group G59 are pleiotropically deficient in respiratory chain components and in mitochondrial ATPase. This phenotype has been shown to be a consequence of mutations in a nuclear gene coding for mitochondrial leucyl-tRNA synthetase. The structural gene (MSL1) coding for the mitochondrial enzyme has been cloned by transformation of two different G59 mutants with genomic libraries of wild type yeast nuclear DNA. The cloned gene has been sequenced and shown to code for a protein of 894 residues with a molecular weight of 101,936. The amino-terminal sequence (30-40 residues) has a large percentage of basic and hydroxylated residues suggestive of a mitochondrial import signal. The cloned MSL1 gene was used to construct a strain in which 1 kb of the coding sequence was deleted and substituted with the yeast LEU2 gene. Mitochondrial extracts obtained from the mutant carrying the disrupted MSL1::LEU2 allele did not catalyze acylation of mitochondrial leucyl-tRNA even though other tRNAs were normally charged. These results confirmed the correct identification of MSL1 as the structural gene for mitochondrial leucyl-tRNA synthetase. Mutations in MSL1 affect the ability of yeast to grow on nonfermentable substrates but are not lethal indicating that the cytoplasmic leucyl-tRNA synthetase is encoded by a different gene. The primary sequence of yeast mitochondrial leucyl-tRNA synthetase has been compared to other bacterial and eukaryotic synthetases. Significant homology has been found between the yeast enzyme and the methionyl- and isoleucyl-tRNA synthetases of Escherichia coli. The most striking primary sequence homology occurs in the amino-terminal regions of the three proteins encompassing some 150 residues. Several smaller domains in the more internal regions of the polypeptide chains, however, also exhibit homology. These observations have been interpreted to indicate that the three synthetases may represent a related subset of enzymes originating from a common ancestral gene.[1]


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