This enzyme belongs to the family of ligases, to be specific those forming carbon-oxygen bonds in aminoacyl-tRNA and related compounds. The systematic name of this enzyme class is L-arginine:tRNAArg ligase (AMP-forming). Other names in common use include arginyl-tRNA synthetase, arginyl-transfer ribonucleate synthetase, arginyl-transfer RNA synthetase, arginyl transfer ribonucleic acid synthetase, arginine-tRNA synthetase, and arginine translase. This enzyme participates in arginine and proline metabolism and aminoacyl-trna biosynthesis.
It contains a conserved domain at the N terminus called arginyl tRNA synthetase N terminal domain or additional domain 1 (Add-1). This domain is about 140 residues long and it has been suggested that it is involved in tRNA recognition.