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

Codon-dependent conformational change of elongation factor Tu preceding GTP hydrolysis on the ribosome.

The mechanisms by which elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) promotes the binding of aminoacyl-tRNA to the A site of the ribosome and, in particular, how GTP hydrolysis by EF-Tu is triggered on the ribosome, are not understood. We report steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence measurements, performed in the Escherichia coli system, in which the interaction of the complex EF-Tu.GTP.Phe-tRNAPhe with the ribosomal A site is monitored by the fluorescence changes of either mant-dGTP [3'-O-(N-methylanthraniloyl)-2-deoxyguanosine triphosphate], replacing GTP in the complex, or of wybutine in the anticodon loop of the tRNA. Additionally, GTP hydrolysis is measured by the quench-flow technique. We find that codon-anticodon interaction induces a rapid rearrangement within the G domain of EF-Tu around the bound nucleotide, which is followed by GTP hydrolysis at an approximately 1.5-fold lower rate. In the presence of kirromycin, the activated conformation of EF-Tu appears to be frozen. The steps following GTP hydrolysis--the switch of EF-Tu to the GDP-bound conformation, the release of aminoacyl-tRNA from EF-Tu to the A site, and the dissociation of EF-Tu-GDP from the ribosome--which are altogether suppressed by kirromycin, are not distinguished kinetically. The results suggest that codon recognition by the ternary complex on the ribosome initiates a series of structural rearrangements resulting in a conformational change of EF-Tu, possibly involving the effector region, which, in turn, triggers GTP hydrolysis.[1]


  1. Codon-dependent conformational change of elongation factor Tu preceding GTP hydrolysis on the ribosome. Rodnina, M.V., Fricke, R., Kuhn, L., Wintermeyer, W. EMBO J. (1995) [Pubmed]
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