Substrate-assisted mechanism of catalytic hydrolysis of misaminoacylated tRNA required for protein synthesis fidelity

Mykola M. Ilchenko, Mariia Yu Rybak, Alex V. Rayevsky, Oksana P. Kovalenko, Igor Ya Dubey, Michael A. Tukalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


D-aminoacyl-tRNA-deacylase (DTD) prevents the incorporation of D-amino acids into proteins during translation by hydrolyzing the ester bond between mistakenly attached amino acids and tRNAs. Despite extensive study of this proofreading enzyme, the precise catalytic mechanism remains unknown. Here, a combination of biochemical and computational investigations has enabled the discovery of a new substrate-assisted mechanism of D-Tyr-tRNA Tyr hydrolysis by Thermus thermophilus DTD. Several functional elements of the substrate, misacylated tRNA, participate in the catalysis. During the hydrolytic reaction, the 2 0 -OH group of the А76 residue of D-Tyr-tRNA Tyr forms a hydrogen bond with a carbonyl group of the tyrosine residue, stabilizing the transition-state intermediate. Two water molecules participate in this reaction, attacking and assisting ones, resulting in a significant decrease in the activation energy of the rate-limiting step. The amino group of the D-Tyr aminoacyl moiety is unprotonated and serves as a general base, abstracting the proton from the assisting water molecule and forming a more nucleophilic ester-attacking species. Quantum chemical methodology was used to investigate the mechanism of hydrolysis. The DFT-calculated deacylation reaction is in full agreement with the experimental data. The Gibbs activation energies for the first and second steps were 10.52 and 1.05 kcal/mol, respectively, highlighting that the first step of the hydrolysis process is the rate-limiting step. Several amino acid residues of the enzyme participate in the coordination of the substrate and water molecules. Thus, the present work provides new insights into the proofreading details of misacylated tRNAs and can be extended to other systems important for translation fidelity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-732
Number of pages14
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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