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The role of tRNA in translating the genetic code has received considerable attention over the last 50 years, and we now know in great detail how particular amino acids are specifically selected and brought to the ribosome in response to the corresponding mRNA codon. Over the same period, it has also become increasingly clear that the ribosome is not the only destination to which tRNAs deliver amino acids, with processes ranging from lipid modification to antibiotic biosynthesis all using aminoacyl‐tRNAs as substrates. Here we review examples of alternative functions for tRNA beyond translation, which together suggest that the role of tRNA is to deliver amino acids for a variety of processes that includes, but is not limited to, protein synthesis.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in FEBS Letters, volume 584, in 2009 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at .


Federation of European Biochemical Societies



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