Anticodon domain methylated nucleosides of yeast tRNA(Phe) are significant recognition determinants in the binding of a phage display selected peptide.

PMID 11714272


The contributions of the natural modified nucleosides to RNA identity in protein/RNA interactions are not understood. We had demonstrated that 15 amino acid long peptides could be selected from a random phage display library using the criterion of binding to a modified, rather than unmodified, anticodon domain of yeast tRNA(Phe) (ASL(Phe)). Affinity and specificity of the selected peptides for the modified ASL(Phe) have been characterized by fluorescence spectroscopy of the peptides' tryptophans. One of the peptides selected, peptide t(F)2, exhibited the highest specificity and most significant affinity for ASL(Phe) modified with 2'-O-methylated cytidine-32 and guanosine-34 (Cm(32) and Gm(34)) and 5-methylated cytidine-40 (m(5)C(40)) (K(d) = 1.3 +/- 0.4 microM) and a doubly modified ASL(Phe)-Gm(34),m(5)C(40) and native yeast tRNA(Phe) (K(d) congruent with 2.3 and 3.8 microM, respectively) in comparison to that for the unmodified ASL(Phe) (K(d) = 70.1 +/- 12.3 microM). Affinity was reduced when a modification altered the ASL loop structure, and binding was negated by modifications that disfavored hairpin formation. Peptide t(F)2's higher affinity for the ASL(Phe)-Cm(32),Gm(34),m(5)C(40) hairpin and fluorescence resonance energy transfer from its tryptophan to the hypermodified wybutosine-37 in the native tRNA(Phe) placed the peptide across the anticodon loop and onto the 3'-side of the stem. Inhibition of purified yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (FRS) catalyzed aminoacylation of cognate yeast tRNA(Phe) corroborated the peptide's binding to the anticodon domain. The phage-selected peptide t(F)2 has three of the four amino acids crucial to G(34) recognition by the beta-structure of the anticodon-binding domain of Thermus thermophilus FRS and exhibited circular dichroism spectral properties characteristic of beta-structure. Thus, modifications as simple as methylations contribute identity elements that a selected peptide specifically recognizes in binding synthetic and native tRNA and in inhibiting tRNA aminoacylation.