AAT Bioquest

What enzyme is involved in amino acid activation?

Posted February 24, 2023


The enzyme aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase is involved in the process of amino acid activation. Aminoacyl-tRNA molecules have a vital role in protein synthesis, more specifically in pairing tRNAs with their cognate amino acid (corresponding tRNA). These enzymes catalyze the esterification of a tRNA molecule to its cognate amino acid and is known as aminoacylation. Aminoacylation occurs in two steps, the first step is the activation. During activation, an aminoacyl-AMP becomes formed on the enzyme through the hydrolysis of ATP. The second step is the transfer of activated amino acid residue from the adenylate to a tRNA molecule; this process is known as charging. As a final result of these processes, an aminoacyl-tRNA (aa-tRNA) is formed and transported by elongation factors to the ribosomes to assist in protein synthesis.

Additional resources

Amino acid activation analysis of primitive aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases encoded by both strands of a single gene using the malachite green assay

Amino Acid Reference Chart