Aminoacylation of tRNA generates an aminoacyl-tRNA (aa-tRNA) that is active for protein synthesis on the ribosome. Quantification of aminoacylation of tRNA is critical to understand the mechanism of specificity and the flux of the aa-tRNA into the protein synthesis machinery, which determines the rate of cell growth. Traditional assays for the quantification of tRNA aminoacylation involve radioactivity, either with a radioactive amino acid or with a [3'-32P]-labeled tRNA. We describe here a label-free assay that monitors aminoacylation by biotinylation-streptavidin (SA) conjugation to the α-amine or the α-imine of the aminoacyl group on the aa-tRNA. The conjugated aa-tRNA product is readily separated from the unreacted tRNA by a denaturing polyacrylamide gel, allowing for quantitative measurement of aminoacylation. This label-free assay is applicable to a wide range of amino acids and tRNA sequences and to both classes of aminoacylation. It is more sensitive and robust than the assay with a radioactive amino acid and has the potential to explore a wider range of tRNA than the assay with a [3'-32P]-labeled tRNA. This label-free assay reports kinetic parameters of aminoacylation quantitatively similar to those reported by using a radioactive amino acid, suggesting its broad applicability to research relevant to human health and disease.
Gamper, Howard and Hou, Ya-Ming, "A Label-Free Assay for Aminoacylation of tRNA" (2020). Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 173.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
This article is the author’s final published version in Genes, Volume 11, Issue 10, October 2020, Article number 1173.
The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101173. Copyright © Gamper and Hou