tRNA selection and kinetic proofreading in translation.
Using single-molecule methods we observed the stepwise movement of aminoacyl-tRNA (aa-tRNA) into the ribosome during selection and kinetic proofreading using single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET). Intermediate states in the pathway of tRNA delivery were observed using antibiotics and nonhydrolyzable GTP analogs. We identified three unambiguous FRET states corresponding to initial codon recognition, GTPase-activated and fully accommodated states. The antibiotic tetracycline blocks progression of aa-tRNA from the initial codon recognition state, whereas cleavage of the sarcin-ricin loop impedes progression from the GTPase-activated state. Our data support a model in which ribosomal recognition of correct codon-anticodon pairs drives rotational movement of the incoming complex of EF-Tu-GTP-aa-tRNA toward peptidyl-tRNA during selection on the ribosome. We propose a mechanistic model of initial selection and proofreading.