Transfer RNA: A dancer between charging and mis-charging for protein biosynthesisReport as inadecuate

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Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 56, Issue 10, pp 921–932

First Online: 27 August 2013Received: 31 May 2013Accepted: 13 August 2013DOI: 10.1007-s11427-013-4542-9

Cite this article as: XiaoLong, Z. & EnDuo, W. Sci. China Life Sci. 2013 56: 921. doi:10.1007-s11427-013-4542-9


Transfer RNA plays a fundamental role in the protein biosynthesis as an adaptor molecule by functioning as a biological link between the genetic nucleotide sequence in the mRNA and the amino acid sequence in the protein. To perform its role in protein biosynthesis, it has to be accurately recognized by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases aaRSs to generate aminoacyl-tRNAs aa-tRNAs. The correct pairing between an amino acid with its cognate tRNA is crucial for translational quality control. Production and utilization of mis-charged tRNAs are usually detrimental for all the species, resulting in cellular dysfunctions. Correct aa-tRNAs formation is collectively controlled by aaRSs with distinct mechanisms and-or other trans-factors. However, in very limited instances, mis-charged tRNAs are intermediate for specific pathways or essential components for the translational machinery. Here, from the point of accuracy in tRNA charging, we review our understanding about the mechanism ensuring correct aa-tRNA generation. In addition, some unique mis-charged tRNA species necessary for the organism are also briefly described.

KeywordstRNA aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase aminoacylation editing This article is published with open access at

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Author: Zhou XiaoLong - Wang EnDuo


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