Protein lysine acetylation is a widely conserved posttranslational modification in all three domains of life. Lysine acetylation frequently occurs in aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) from many organisms. In this study, we determined the impact of the naturally occurring acetylation at lysine-73 (K73) in Escherichia coli
class II alanyl-tRNA synthetase (AlaRS) on its alanylation activity. We prepared an AlaRS K73Ac variant in which Nε
-lysine was incorporated at position 73 using an expanded genetic code system in E. coli
. The AlaRS K73Ac variant showed low activity compared to the AlaRS wild type (WT). Nicotinamide treatment or CobB-deletion in an E. coli
led to elevated acetylation levels of AlaRS K73Ac and strongly reduced alanylation activities. We assumed that alanylation by AlaRS is affected by K73 acetylation, and the modification is sensitive to CobB deacetylase in vivo. We also showed that E. coli
expresses two CobB isoforms (CobB-L and CobB-S) in vivo. CobB-S displayed the deacetylase activity of the AlaRS K73Ac variant in vitro. Our results imply a potential regulatory role for lysine acetylation in controlling the activity of aaRSs and protein synthesis.
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