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Non-protein amino acids, particularly isomers of the proteinogenic amino acids, present a threat to proteome integrity if they are mistakenly inserted into proteins. Quality control during aminoacyl-tRNA synthesis reduces non-protein amino acid incorporation by both substrate discrimination and proofreading. For example phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (PheRS) proofreads the non-protein hydroxylated phenylalanine derivative m-Tyr after its attachment to tRNAPhe. We now show in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that PheRS misacylation of tRNAPhe with the more abundant Phe oxidation product o-Tyr is limited by kinetic discrimination against o-Tyr-AMP in the transfer step followed by o-Tyr-AMP release from the synthetic active site. This selective rejection of a non-protein aminoacyl-adenylate is in addition to known kinetic discrimination against certain non-cognates in the activation step as well as catalytic hydrolysis of mispaired aminoacyl-tRNAPhe species. We also report an unexpected resistance to cytotoxicity by a S. cerevisiae mutant with ablated post-transfer editing activity when supplemented with o-Tyr, cognate Phe, or Ala, the latter of which is not a substrate for activation by this enzyme. Our phenotypic, metabolomic, and kinetic analyses indicate at least three modes of discrimination against non-protein amino acids by S. cerevisiae PheRS and support a non-canonical role for SccytoPheRS post-transfer editing in response to amino acid stress.


This article was originally published in Journal of Biological Chemistry, volume 291, in 2016.


American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology



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