Archaeal non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 1.65 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.219 
  • R-Value Work: 0.194 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.195 

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Structure of an archaeal non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase: a missing link in the evolution of Gln-tRNAGln formation

Nureki, O.O'Donoghue, P.Watanabe, N.Ohmori, A.Oshikane, H.Araiso, Y.Sheppard, K.Soll, D.Ishitani, R.

(2010) Nucleic Acids Res 

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkq605
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    The molecular basis of the genetic code relies on the specific ligation of amino acids to their cognate tRNA molecules. However, two pathways exist for the formation of Gln-tRNA(Gln). The evolutionarily older indirect route utilizes a non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase (ND-GluRS) that can form both Glu-tRNA(Glu) and Glu-tRNA(Gln). The Glu-tRNA(Gln) is then converted to Gln-tRNA(Gln) by an amidotransferase. Since the well-characterized bacterial ND-GluRS enzymes recognize tRNA(Glu) and tRNA(Gln) with an unrelated α-helical cage domain in contrast to the β-barrel anticodon-binding domain in archaeal and eukaryotic GluRSs, the mode of tRNA(Glu)/tRNA(Gln) discrimination in archaea and eukaryotes was unknown. Here, we present the crystal structure of the Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus ND-GluRS, which is the evolutionary predecessor of both the glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (GlnRS) and the eukaryotic discriminating GluRS. Comparison with the previously solved structure of the Escherichia coli GlnRS-tRNA(Gln) complex reveals the structural determinants responsible for specific tRNA(Gln) recognition by GlnRS compared to promiscuous recognition of both tRNAs by the ND-GluRS. The structure also shows the amino acid recognition pocket of GluRS is more variable than that found in GlnRS. Phylogenetic analysis is used to reconstruct the key events in the evolution from indirect to direct genetic encoding of glutamine.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan. nureki@ims.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
Glutamyl-tRNA synthetase553Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus str. Delta HMutation(s): 0 
Find proteins for O26157 (Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus (strain ATCC 29096 / DSM 1053 / JCM 10044 / NBRC 100330 / Delta H))
Explore O26157 
Go to UniProtKB:  O26157
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupO26157
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 1.65 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.219 
  • R-Value Work: 0.194 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.195 
  • Space Group: P 21 21 21
Unit Cell:
Length ( Å )Angle ( ˚ )
a = 54.07α = 90
b = 99.898β = 90
c = 105.402γ = 90
Software Package:
Software NamePurpose
HKL-2000data reduction
HKL-2000data scaling

Structure Validation

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Entry History 

Deposition Data

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2010-08-04
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2011-07-13
    Changes: Version format compliance
  • Version 1.2: 2024-03-13
    Changes: Data collection, Database references, Derived calculations