Crystallogenesis at the Heart of the Interplay between Science and Technology in the Quest to Comprehend tRNA Biology

Published on Feb 6, 2013in Crystal Growth & Design4.15
· DOI :10.1021/cg3017003
Richard Giegé53
Estimated H-index: 53
Transfer RNAs (tRNA) are small RNAs that provide the interface between DNA and ribosome-dependent protein synthesis, besides being involved in many other cellular processes. They interact with an impressive number of small molecule and macromolecular ligands and show structural and functional plasticity far to be deciphered. Here it is shown how tRNA biology was (and still is) idea and technology-driven and why crystallogenesis was at the heart of this science/technology interplay. Thus the quest to understand tRNA recognition/misrecognition by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS) stimulated biologists since the 1960s to crystallize tRNAs and their protein partners under their different functional states. This led to novel crystallization methods (vapor phase diffusion, microdialysis), characterization of system-specific additives (polyamines, metal ions, adenylate analogues), and discovery of ammonium sulfate as a crystallant for tRNA:aaRS complexes. Studies on the physical chemistry of tRNA and aaRS crysta...
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