The CCA-adding enzyme synthesizes the CCA sequence at the 3′ end of tRNA without a nucleic acid template. The crystal structures of class II Thermotoga maritima CCA-adding enzyme and its complexes with CTP or ATP were determined. The structure-based replacement of both the catalytic heads and nucleobase-interacting neck domains of the phylogenetically closely related Aquifex aeolicus A-adding enzyme by the corresponding domains of the T. maritima CCA-adding enzyme allowed the A-adding enzyme to add CCA in vivo and in vitro. However, the replacement of only the catalytic head domain did not allow the A-adding enzyme to add CCA, and the enzyme exhibited (A, C)-adding activity. We identified the region in the neck domain that prevents (A, C)-adding activity and defines the number of nucleotide incorporations and the specificity for correct CCA addition. We also identified the region in the head domain that defines the terminal A addition after CC addition. The results collectively suggest that, in the class II CCA-adding enzyme, the head and neck domains collaboratively and dynamically define the number of nucleotide additions and the specificity of nucleotide selection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)