In a screen for calcium-regulated gene expression during growth and development ofDictyostelium discoideum we have identified an asparaginyl tRNA synthetase (ddAsnRS) gene, the second tRNA synthetase gene identified in this organism. TheddAsnRS gene shows many unique features. One, it is repressed by lowering cellular calcium, making it the first known calcium-regulated tRNA synthetase. Two, despite the calcium-dependence, its expression is unaltered during the cell cycle, making this the firstD. discoideum gene to show a calcium-dependent but cell cycle phase-independent expression. Finally, the N-terminal domain of the predicted ddAsnRS protein shows higher sequence similarity to Glutaminyl tRNA synthetases than to other Asn tRNA synthetases. These unique features of theAsnRS from this primitive eukaryote not only point to a novel mechanism regulating the components of translation machinery and gene expression by calcium, but also hint at a link between the evolution ofGlnRS andAsnRS in eukaryotes.
Volume 46, 2021
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