Neddylation is a post-translational modification that controls the cell cycle and proliferation by conjugating the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 to specific targets. Here we report that glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GlyRS), an essential enzyme in protein synthesis, also plays a critical role in neddylation. In human cells, knockdown of GlyRS, but not knockdown of a different tRNA synthetase, decreased the global level of neddylation and caused cell-cycle abnormality. This function of GlyRS is achieved through direct interactions with multiple components of the neddylation pathway, including NEDD8, E1, and E2 (Ubc12). Using various structural and functional approaches, we show that GlyRS binds the APPBP1 subunit of E1 and captures and protects activated E2 (NEDD8-conjugated Ubc12) before the activated E2 reaches a downstream target. Therefore, GlyRS functions as a chaperone that critically supports neddylation. This function is probably conserved in all eukaryotic GlyRS enzymes and may contribute to the strong association of GlyRS with cancer progression.