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Nucleic Acids Research

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Biosynthesis -- Molecular aspects


The universally conserved N 6-threonylcarbamoylade nosine (t 6 A) modification of tRNA is essential for translational fidelity. In bacteria, t 6 A biosynthesis starts with the TsaC/TsaC2-catalyzed synthesis of the intermediate threonylcarbamoyl adenylate (TC-AMP), followed by transfer of the threonylcarbamoyl (TC) moiety to adenine-37 of tRNA by the TC-transfer complex comprised of TsaB, TsaD and TsaE sub-units and possessing an ATPase activity required for multi-turnover of the t 6 A cycle. We report a 2.5-˚ A crystal structure of the T. maritima TC-transfer complex (TmTsaB 2 D 2 E 2) bound to Mg 2+-ATP in the AT-Pase site, and substrate analog carboxy-AMP in the TC-transfer site. Site directed mutagenesis results show that residues in the conserved Switch I and Switch II motifs of TsaE mediate the ATP hydrolysis-driven reactivation/reset step of the t 6 A cycle. Further , SAXS analysis of the TmTsaB 2 D 2-tRNA complex in solution reveals bound tRNA lodged in the TsaE binding cavity, confirming our previous biochemical data. Based on the crystal structure and molecular docking of TC-AMP and adenine-37 in the TC-transfer site, we propose a model for the mechanism of TC transfer by this universal biosynthetic system.


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