Dieter Söll

Dieter Söll's picture
Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Professor of Chemistry
+1 (203) 432-6200

Professor of Chemistry
Member of Yale faculty since 1967


Our recent work has concentrated on the diverse roles of transfer RNA in various biological systems. We have focused on the evolutionary role of non-canonical components of the translational machinery. In particular, we are investigating the extensive use of transfer RNA-dependent amino acid transformations as the essential route to the synthesis of Asn-tRNA and Gln-tRNA in a vast variety of organisms. In addition, we are characterizing the mode of action of a novel bi-functional prolyl-tRNA synthetase which also forms Cys-tRNA, an enzyme present in archaea and lower eukaryotes. These findings redefine our understanding of aminoacyl-tRNA synthesis and provide novel insight into the possible origins of protein biosynthesis.


Ph.D. Stuttgart University, 1962
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1962-65
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1965-67


Guggenheim Fellow, 1972, 1989
Fellow, American Association of the Advancement of Science; Alexander von Humbolt U.S. Senior Scientist Award, 1988
Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology; Member, National Academy of Sciences

Recent Publications

A. Curnow, M. Ibba, & D. Söll, D. tRNA-dependent asparagine formation. Nature1996, 382, 589-590.

M. Ibba, S. Morgan, A.W. Curnow, D.R. Pridmore, U.C. Vothknecht, W. Gardner, W. Lin, C.R. Woese, & D. Söll, D. A euryarchaeal lysyl-tRNA synthetase: resemblance to class I synthetases. Science 1997, 278, 1119-1122.

C. Stathopoulos, T. Li, R. Longman, U.C. Vothknecht, H. Becker, M. Ibba, & D. Söll, D. One polypeptide with two aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase activities. Science2000, 287, 479-482.

D.L. Tumbula, H.D. Becker, W.Z. Chang, & D. Söll. Domain-specific recruitment of amide amino acids for protein synthesis. Nature 2000, 407, 106-110.

C.R. Woese, G. Olsen, M. Ibba, D. Söll, D. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, the genetic code, and the evolutionary process. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 2000, 64, 202-236.

Research Interests