The translation elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) delivers aminoacyl-tRNAs to ribosomes by recognizing the tRNA acceptor and T stems. However, the unusual truncation observed in some animal mitochondrial tRNAs seems to prevent recognition by a canonical EF-Tu. For instance, nematode mitochondria contain tRNAs lacking a T or D arm. We recently found an atypical EF-Tu (EF-Tu1) specific for nematode mitochondrial tRNAs that lack the T arm. We have now discovered a second factor, EF-Tu2, which binds only to tRNAs that lack a D arm. EF-Tu2 seems unique in its amino acid specificity because it recognizes the aminoacyl moiety of seryl-tRNAs and the tRNA structure itself. Such EF-Tu evolution might explain tRNA structural divergence in animal mitochondria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology