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Glutamyl-tRNA synthetases (GluRS) provide Glu-tRNA for different processes including protein synthesis, glutamine transamidation and tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. Many organisms contain multiple GluRSs, but whether these duplications solely broaden tRNA specificity or also play additional roles in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis is not known. Previous studies have shown that GluRS1, one of two GluRSs from the extremophile Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, is inactivated when intracellular heme is elevated suggesting a specific role for GluRS1 in the regulation of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. We now show that, in vitro, GluRS1 activity is reversibly inactivated upon oxidation by hemin and hydrogen peroxide. The targets for oxidation-based inhibition were found to be cysteines from a SWIM zinc-binding motif located in the tRNA acceptor helix-binding domain. tRNAGlu was able to protect GluRS1 against oxidative inactivation by hemin plus hydrogen peroxide. The sensitivity to oxidation of A. ferrooxidans GluRS1 might provide a means to regulate tetrapyrrole and protein biosynthesis in response to extreme changes in both the redox and heme status of the cell via a single enzyme.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, volume 398, in 2010.

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