Synthesis of the CCA end of essential tRNAs is performed either by CCA-adding enzymes or as a collaboration between enzymes restricted to CC- and A-incorporation. While the occurrence of such tRNA nucleotidyltransferases with partial activities seemed to be restricted to Bacteria, the first example of such split CCA-adding activities was reported in Schizosaccharomyces pombe
. Here, we demonstrate that the choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta
also carries CC- and A-adding enzymes. However, these enzymes have distinct evolutionary origins. Furthermore, the restricted activity of the eukaryotic CC-adding enzymes has evolved in a different way compared to their bacterial counterparts. Yet, the molecular basis is very similar, as highly conserved positions within a catalytically important flexible loop region are missing in the CC-adding enzymes. For both the CC-adding enzymes from S. rosetta
as well as S. pombe
, introduction of the loop elements from closely related enzymes with full activity was able to restore CCA-addition, corroborating the significance of this loop in the evolution of bacterial as well as eukaryotic tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Our data demonstrate that partial CC- and A-adding activities in Bacteria and Eukaryotes are based on the same mechanistic principles but, surprisingly, originate from different evolutionary events.
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