The tRNA-binding moiety in GCN2 contains a dimerization domain that interacts with the kinase domain and is required for tRNA binding and kinase activation

Hongfang Qiu; Jinsheng Dong; Cuihua Hu; Francklyn, Christopher S.; Hinnebusch, Alan G.
March 2001
EMBO Journal;3/15/2001, Vol. 20 Issue 6, p1425
Academic Journal
GCN2 stimulates translation of GCN4 mRNA in amino acid-starved cells by phosphorylating translation initiation factor 2. GCN2 is activated by binding of uncharged tRNA to a domain related to histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HisRS). The HisRS-like region contains two dimerization domains (HisRS-N and HisRS-C) required for GCN2 function in vivo but dispensable for dimerization by full-length GCN2. Residues corresponding to amino acids at the dimer interface of Escherichia coli HisRS were required for dimerization of recombinant HisRS-N and for tRNA binding by full-length GCN2, suggesting that HisRS-N dimerization promotes tRNA binding and kinase activation. HisRS-N also interacted with the protein kinase (PK) domain, and a deletion impairing this interaction destroyed GCN2 function without reducing tRNA binding; thus, HisRS-N-PK interaction appears to stimulate PK function. The C-terminal domain of GCN2 (C-term) interacted with the PK domain in a manner disrupted by an activating PK mutation (E803V). These results suggest that the C-term is an autoinhibitory domain, counteracted by tRNA binding. We conclude that multiple domain interactions, positive and negative, mediate the activation of GCN2 by uncharged tRNA.


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