Organization of the multiaminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complex and the cotranslational protein folding

Published date : 30 Jun 2015

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) play an essential role in the protein synthesis by catalyzing an attachment of their cognate amino acids to tRNAs. Unlike their prokaryotic counterparts, ARSs in higher eukaryotes form a multiaminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complex (MARS), consisting of the subset of ARS polypeptides and three auxiliary proteins. The intriguing feature of MARS complex is the presence of only nine out of twenty ARSs, specific for Arg, Asp, Gln, Glu, Ile, Leu, Lys, Met, and Pro, regardless of the organism, cell, or tissue types. Although existence of MARSs complex in higher eukaryotes has been already known for more than four decades, its functional significance remains elusive. We found that seven of the nine corresponding amino acids (Arg, Gln, Glu, Ile, Leu, Lys, and Met) together with Ala form a predictor of the protein a-helicity. Remarkably, all amino acids (besides Ala) in the predictor have the highest possible number of side-chain rotamers. Therefore, compositional bias of a typical ahelix can contribute to the helix’s stability by increasing the entropy of the folded state. It also appears that position-specific a-helical propensity, specifically periodic alternation of charged and hydrophobic residues in the helices, may well be provided by the structural organization of the complex. Considering characteristics of MARS complex from the perspective of the a-helicity, we hypothesize that specific composition and structure of the complex represents a functional mechanism for coordination of translation with the fast and correct folding of amphiphilic a-helices.

Journal Paper
Protein Science 24 (2015) Pg. 1475-1485, doi: 10.1002/pro.2735
Date of acceptance