PMID: 3045816Sep 1, 1988

Selection of the mRNA translation initiation region by Escherichia coli ribosomes

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
R A CalogeroClaudio O Gualerzi


Two genes specifying model mRNAs of minimal size and coding capacity, with or without the Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence, were assembled, cloned, and transcribed in high yields. These mRNAs, as well as synthetic polynucleotides, phage MS2 RNA, and a deoxyoctanucleotide complementary to the 3' end of 16S rRNA were used to study the mechanism of translation initiation in vitro. Escherichia coli 30S ribosomal subunits interact with all these nucleic acids, albeit with different affinities; the affinity for the mRNA with the SD sequence (Ka approximately 2 x 10(7) M-1) is more than an order of magnitude higher than that for the mRNA lacking this sequence. The initiation factors are equally required, regardless of the presence of the SD sequence, for 30S and 70S initiation complex formation and for mRNA translation, but the initiation factors do not affect the SD interaction or the binding of the mRNAs to the ribosomes. The SD interaction is also mechanistically irrelevant for 30S initiation complex formation and is not essential for translation in vitro or for the selection of the mRNA reading frame. It is suggested that the function of the SD interaction is to ensure a high concentration of the initiation triplet near the ribosomal ...Continue Reading


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