Glutamyl-tRNA(Gln) amidotransferase A subunit (IPR004412)

Short name: GatA

Overlapping homologous superfamilies

Family relationships

  • Amidase (IPR000120)
    • Glutamyl-tRNA(Gln) amidotransferase A subunit (IPR004412)


Amidase signature (AS) enzymes are a large group of hydrolytic enzymes that contain a conserved stretch of approximately 130 amino acids known as the AS sequence. They are widespread, being found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. AS enzymes catalyse the hydrolysis of amide bonds (CO-NH2), although the family has diverged widely with regard to substrate specificity and function. Nonetheless, these enzymes maintain a core alpha/beta/alpha structure, where the topologies of the N- and C-terminal halves are similar. AS enzymes characteristically have a highly conserved C-terminal region rich in serine and glycine residues, but devoid of aspartic acid and histidine residues, therefore they differ from classical serine hydrolases. These enzymes posses a unique, highly conserved Ser-Ser-Lys catalytic triad used for amide hydrolysis, although the catalytic mechanism for acyl-enzyme intermediate formation can differ between enzymes [PMID: 15595822].

Examples of AS enzymes include:

  • Peptide amidase (Pam) [PMID: 15595822], which catalyses the hydrolysis of the C-terminal amide bond of peptides.
  • Fatty acid amide hydrolases [PMID: 17015445], which hydrolyse fatty acid amid substrates (e.g. cannabinoid anandamide and sleep-inducing oleamide), thereby controlling the level and duration of signalling induced by this diverse class of lipid transmitters.
  • Malonamidase E2 [PMID: 12032064], which catalyses the hydrolysis of malonamate into malonate and ammonia, and which is involved in the transport of fixed nitrogen from bacteroids to plant cells in symbiotic nitrogen metabolism.
  • Subunit A of Glu-tRNA(Gln) amidotransferase [PMID: 12521300],a heterotrimeric enzyme that catalyses the formation of Gln-tRNA(Gln) by the transamidation of misacylated Glu-tRNA(Gln) via amidolysis of glutamine.

In many species, Gln-tRNA ligase is missing. tRNA(Gln) is misacylated with Glu after which a heterotrimeric amidotransferase converts Glu to Gln. This group represents the amidase chain of the heterotrimer, encoded by the gatA gene called glutamyl-tRNA(Gln) amidotransferase, A subunit EC:6.3.5. This enzyme functions as an alternative to a direct Gln-tRNA synthetase (Gln-tRNA ligase) in mitochondria, chloroplasts, Gram-positive bacteria, cyanobacteria, and the Archaea.

The archaea have an Asp-tRNA(Asn) amidotransferase instead of an Asp-tRNA ligase. In the archaea, a paralog of gatB is found, here designated gatB_rel, that is a candidate B subunit of the Asp-tRNA(Asn) amidotransferase. The gatA-encoded subunit may be shared by gatB and gatB_rel.

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006412 translation

Molecular Function

GO:0050567 glutaminyl-tRNA synthase (glutamine-hydrolyzing) activity

Cellular Component

GO:0030956 glutamyl-tRNA(Gln) amidotransferase complex

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.