Agmatine-conjugated cytidine in a tRNA anticodon is essential for AUA decoding in archaea

Tsutomu Suzuki, Yoshiho Ikeuchi, Satoshi Kimura, Tomoyuki Numata, Daigo Nakamura, Takashi Yokogawa, Toshihiko Ogata, Takeshi Wada, Takeo Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


A modified base at the first (wobble) position of some tRNA anticodons is critical for deciphering the genetic code. In eukaryotes and eubacteria, AUA codons are decoded by tRNAsIle with modified bases pseudouridine (and/or inosine) and lysidine, respectively. The mechanism by which archaeal species translate AUA codons is unclear. We describe a polyamine-conjugated modified base, 2-agmatinylcytidine (agm 2 C or agmatidine), at the wobble position of archaeal tRNA Ile that decodes AUA codons specifically. We demonstrate that archaeal cells use agmatine to synthesize agm 2 C of tRNA Ile. We also identified a new enzyme, tRNA Ile -agm 2 C synthetase (TiaS), that catalyzes agm 2 C formation in the presence of agmatine and ATP. Although agm 2 C is chemically similar to lysidine, TiaS constitutes a distinct class of enzyme from tRNA Ile -lysidine synthetase (TilS), suggesting that the decoding systems evolved convergently across domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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