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Reichert, A. S.; Thurlow, D. L. und Mörl, M. (2001): A eubacterial origin for the human tRNA nucleotidyltransferase? In: Biological Chemistry, Vol. 382, Nr. 10: S. 1431-1438


tRNA CCA-termini are generated and maintained by tRNA nucleotidyltransferases. Together with poly(A) polymerases and other enzymes they belong to the nucleotidyltransferase superfamily. However, sequence alignments within this family do not allow to distinguish between CCA-adding enzymes and poly(A) polymerases. Furthermore, due to the lack of sequence information about animal CCA-adding enzymes, identification of corresponding animal genes was not possible so far. Therefore, we looked for the human homolog using the baker's yeast tRNA nucleotidyltransferase as a query sequence in a BLAST search. This revealed that the human gene transcript CGI-47, (\#AF151805) deposited in GenBank is likely to encode such an enzyme. To identify the nature of this protein, the cDNA of the transcript was cloned and the recombinant protein biochemically characterized, indicating that CGI-47 encodes a bona fide CCA-adding enzyme and not a poly(A) polymerase. This confirmed animal CCA-adding enzyme allowed us to identify putative homologs from other animals. Calculation of a neighbor-joining tree, using an alignment of several CCA-adding enzymes, revealed that the animal enzymes resemble more eubacterial ones than eukaryotic plant and fungal tRNA nucleotidyltransferases, suggesting that the animal nuclear cca genes might have been derived from the endosymbiotic progenitor of mitochondria and are therefore of eubacterial origin.