The Bacillus subtilis tyrS gene, encoding tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase, is a member of the T-box family of genes, which are regulated by control of readthrough of a leader region transcriptional terminator. Readthrough is induced by interaction of the cognate uncharged tRNA with the leader; the system responds to decreased tRNA charging, caused by amino acid limitation or insufficient levels of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. Recognition of the cognate tRNA is mediated by pairing of the anticodon of the tRNA with the specifier sequence of the leader, a codon specifying the appropriate amino acid; a second interaction between the acceptor end of the tRNA and an antiterminator structure is also important. Certain switches of the specifier sequence to a new codon result in a switch in the specificity of the amino acid response, while other switches do not. These effects may reflect additional sequence or structural requirements for the mRNA-tRNA interaction. This study includes investigation of the effects of a large number of specifier sequence switches in tyrS and analysis of structural differences between tRNA(Tyr) and tRNA species which interact inefficiently with the tyrS leader to promote antitermination.