The 20 aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are divided into two classes, I and II. Class I aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases contain a characteristic Rossman fold catalytic domain and are mostly monomeric. Class II aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases share an anti-parallel beta-sheet fold flanked by alpha-helices, and are mostly dimeric or multimeric, containing at least three conserved regions. However, tRNA binding involves an alpha-helical structure that is conserved between class I and class II synthetases. In reactions catalysed by the class I aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, the aminoacyl group is coupled to the 2'-hydroxyl of the tRNA, while, in class II reactions, the 3'-hydroxyl site is preferred. The synthetases specific for arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine, tyrosine, tryptophan and valine belong to class I synthetases; these synthetases are further divided into three subclasses, a, b and c, according to sequence homology. The synthetases specific for alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glycine, histidine, lysine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, and threonine belong to class-II synthetases.
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