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Nucleic Acids Research

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Nucleosides, Bacteria -- Biosynthesis -- Molecular aspects, Messenger RNA, Adenosine triphosphatase -- Synthesis


The universal N(6)-threonylcarbamoyladenosine (t6A) modification at position 37 of ANN-decoding tRNAs is central to translational fidelity. In bacteria, t6A biosynthesis is catalyzed by the proteins TsaB, TsaC/TsaC2, TsaD and TsaE. Despite intense research, the molecular mechanisms underlying t6A biosynthesis are poorly understood. Here, we report biochemical and biophysical studies of the t6A biosynthesis system from Thermotoga maritima. Small angle X-ray scattering analysis reveals a symmetric 2:2 stoichiometric complex of TsaB and TsaD (TsaB2D2), as well as 2:2:2 complex (TsaB2D2E2), in which TsaB acts as a dimerization module, similar to the role of Pcc1 in the archaeal system. The TsaB2D2 complex is the minimal platform for the binding of one tRNA molecule, which can then accommodate a single TsaE subunit. Kinetic data demonstrate that TsaB2D2 alone, and a TsaB2D2E1 complex with TsaE mutants deficient in adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity, can catalyze only a single cycle of t6A synthesis, while gel shift experiments provide evidence that the role of TsaE-catalyzed ATP hydrolysis occurs after the release of product tRNA. Based on these results, we propose a model for t6A biosynthesis in bacteria.


© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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