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Isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase (IleRS) is an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase whose essential function is to aminoacylate tRNAIle with isoleucine. Like some other aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, IleRS can mischarge tRNAIle and correct this misacylation through a separate post-transfer editing function. To explore the biological significance of this editing function, we created a ileS(T233P) mutant of Bacillus subtilis that allows tRNAIle mischarging while retaining wild-type Ile-tRNAIle synthesis activity. As seen in other species defective for aminoacylation quality control, the growth rate of the ileS(T233P) strain was not significantly different from wild-type. When the ileS(T233P) strain was assessed for its ability to promote distinct phenotypes in response to starvation, the ileS(T233P) strain was observed to exhibit a significant defect in formation of environmentally resistant spores. The sporulation defect ranged from 3-fold to 30-fold and was due to a delay in activation of early sporulation genes. The loss of aminoacylation quality control in the ileS(T233P) strain resulted in the inability to compete with a wild-type strain under selective conditions that required sporulation. These data show that the quality control function of IleRS is required in B. subtilis for efficient sporulation and suggests that editing by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases may be important for survival under starvation/nutrient limitation conditions.


This article was originally published in Scientific Reports, volume 7, in 2017.


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