In the presence or absence of its regulatory factor, the monomeric glutamyl-tRNA synthetase from Bacillus subtilis can aminoacylate in vitro with glutamate both tRNAGlu and tRNAGln from B. subtilis and tRNAGln1 but not tRNAGln2 or tRNAGlu from Escherichia coli. The Km and Vmax values of the enzyme for its substrates in these homologous or heterologous aminoacylation reactions are very similar. This enzyme is the only aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase reported to aminoacylate with normal kinetic parameters two tRNA species coding for different amino acids and to misacylate at a high rate a heterologous tRNA under normal aminoacylation conditions. The exceptional lack of specificity of this enzyme for its tRNAGlu and tRNAGln substrates, together with structural and catalytic peculiarities shared with the E. coli glutamyl- and glutaminyl-tRNA synthetases, suggests the existence of a close evolutionary linkage between the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases specific for glutamate and those specific for glutamine. A comparison of the primary structures of the three tRNAs efficiently charged by the B. subtilis glutamyl-tRNA synthetase with those of E. coli tRNAGlu and tRNAGln2 suggests that this enzyme interacts with the G64-C50 or G64-U50 in the T psi stem of its tRNA substrates.