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Thermophilic organisms must be capable of accurate translation at temperatures in which the individual components of the translation machinery and also specific amino acids are particularly sensitive. Thermus thermophilus is a good model organism for studies of thermophilic translation because many of the components in this process have undergone structural and biochemical characterization. We have focused on the pathways of aminoacyl-tRNA synthesis for glutamine, asparagine, proline, and cysteine. We show that the T. thermophilus prolyl-tRNA synthetase (ProRS) exhibits cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (CysRS) activity although the organism also encodes a canonical CysRS. The ProRS requires tRNA for cysteine activation, as is known for the characterized archaeal prolyl-cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (ProCysRS) enzymes. The heterotrimeric T. thermophilus aspartyl-tRNA(Asn) amidotransferase can form Gln-tRNA in addition to Asn-tRNA: however, a 13-amino-acid C-terminal truncation of the holoenzyme A subunit is deficient in both activities when assayed with homologous substrates. A survey of codon usage in completed prokaryotic genomes identified a higher Glu:Gln ratio in proteins of thermophiles compared to mesophiles.


Journal article



Publication Date





167 - 174


Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases, Aspartate-tRNA Ligase, Base Sequence, Codon, DNA, Bacterial, Evolution, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Nitrogenous Group Transferases, Protein Biosynthesis, RNA, Bacterial, RNA, Transfer, Amino Acyl, Sequence Deletion, Temperature, Thermus thermophilus