Chembox new
ImageFile = Pyrrolysine.svg
ImageSize = 200
ImageFile1 = Pyrrolysine-3D-balls.png IUPACName =
OtherNames =
Section1 = Chembox Identifiers
PubChem =
SMILES = N [C@@H] (CCCCNC( [C@H] 1 [C@H] (C)CC=N1)=O)C(O)=O

Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = C12H21N3O3
MolarMass = 255.313 g/mol
Appearance =
Density =
MeltingPt =
BoilingPt =
Solubility =

Pyrrolysine is a naturally occurring, genetically coded amino acid used by some methanogenic archaea in enzymes that are part of their methane-producing metabolism. Its systematic name is "N"6- [(2"R",3"R")-3-methyl-3,4-dihydro-2"H"-pyrrol-2-ylcarbonyl] -L-lysine.

This lysine derivative is encoded by the UAG codon (normally the 'amber' stop codon), possibly modified by the presence of a specific downstream sequence, named PYLIS, which forms a stem-loop in the mRNA, forcing the incorporation of pyrrolysine instead of terminating translation. It is also of interest to note that UAG appears to be used much less often than other stop codons and whenever it is found in an open reading frame it is always followed by one or more of the other two stop codons shortly after.

Near a methyltransferase gene cluster of "Methanosarcina barkeri" is the "pylT" gene, which encodes an unusual transfer RNA (tRNA) with a CUA anticodon. The adjacent "pylS" gene encodes a class II aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase that charges the "pylT"-derived tRNA with pyrrolysine. The operon containing "pylT" and "pylS" are also found in the genomes of other sequenced members of the "Methanosarcinaceae" family. Homologs of "pylS" and "pylT" are found in a Gram-positive bacterium, "Desulfitobacterium hafniense", although the function of these putative genes in this organism is unknown. It was initially shown that "pylT" encoded tRNA (CUA) can be charged with lysine by PylS. Recently, it has been shown that the tRNA(CUA) can be charged with lysine "in vitro" by the concerted action of the "M. barkeri" Class I and Class II Lysyl-tRNA synthetases. Charging a tRNA(CUA) with lysine was originally hypothesized to be the first step in translating UAG amber codons as pyrrolysine in certain methanogens. The current model based on "in vitro" and "in vivo" data favors direct charging of pyrrolysine on to the tRNA(CUA) by the protein product of the "pylS" gene. This makes Pyrrolysine the 22nd genetically encoded natural amino acid. The mechanism of encoding makes it the 21st natural directly encoded amino acid.

The joint nomenclature committee of the IUPAC/IUBMB has officially recommended the three-letter symbol Pyl and the one-letter symbol O for pyrrolysine.

ee also

*Genetic code
*selenocysteine, the 21st genetically encoded amino acid.


* cite journal
author = John F. Atkins and Ray Gesteland
title = The 22nd Amino Acid
year = 2002
journal = Science
volume = 296
issue = 5572
pages =1409–1410
doi = 10.1126/science.1073339
pmid = 12029118


External links

* [ Chemical and Engineering News article (May 27, 2002) on discovery of the amino acid]

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