Deletion analysis of a multifunctional yeast tRNA ligase polypeptide: Identification of essential and dispensable functional domains

B. L. Apostol, S. K. Westaway, J. Abelson, C. L. Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Splicing of tRNA precursors in extracts of Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires the action of two enzymes: a site specific endonuclease and a tRNA ligase. The tRNA ligase contains three distinct enzymatic activities: a polynucleotide kinase, a cyclic phosphodiesterase, and an RNA ligase. The polypeptide also has a high affinity pre-tRNA binding site based on its ability to form stable complexes with pre-tRNA substrates. To investigate the organization of functional enzymatic and binding elements within the polypeptide a series of defined tRNA ligase gene deletions were constructed and corresponding proteins were expressed in Escherichia coli as fusions with bacterial dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). The DHFR/ligase derivative proteins were then efficiently purified by affinity chromatography. The complete ligase fusion protein retained enzymatic and binding activities which were unaffected by the presence of the DHFR segment. Examination of tRNA ligase deletion derivatives revealed that the amino-terminal region was required for adenylylation, while the carboxyl-terminal region was sufficient for cyclic phosphodiesterase activity. Deletions within the central region affected kinase activity. Pre-tRNA binding activity was not strictly correlated with a distinct enzymatic domain. A DHFR/ligase-derived protein lacking kinase activity efficiently joined tRNA halves. We postulate that this variant utilizes a novel RNA ligation mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7445-7455
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume266
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jul 22 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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