Table of Contents

April 2018

Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases implement the genetic code and reflect the earliest episode of life. These enzymes are responsible for loading tRNA molecules with the correct amino acid. Two protein superfamilies of aminoacyl tRNA synthetases emerged, each responsible for ten amino acids. The delicate balance between these superfamilies is manifested in two structural motifs: the Backbone Brackets and the Arginine Tweezers. Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases constitute a reflexive system where each superfamily cannot exist without its counterpart. Both motifs support a popular hypothesis, which states that prototypic aminoacyl tRNA synthetases were once coded on complementary strands of the same gene. Kaiser et al.

Image Credit: Alexander Eisold


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