The role of the AUU initiation codon in the negative feedback regulation of the gene for translation initiation factor IF3 in Escherichia coli

Molecular Microbiology
C SacerdotM Springer


The expression of the infC gene encoding translation initiation factor IF3 is negatively autoregulated at the level of translation, i.e. the expression of the gene is derepressed in a mutant infC background where the IF3 activity is lower than that of the wild type. The special initiation codon of infC, AUU, has previously been shown to be essential for derepression in vivo. In the present work, we provide evidence that the AUU initiation codon causes derepression by itself, because if the initiation codon of the thrS gene, encoding threonyl-tRNA synthetase, is changed from AUG to AUU, its expression is also derepressed in an infC mutant background. The same result was obtained with the rpsO gene encoding ribosomal protein S15. We also show that derepression of infC, thrS, and rpsO is obtained with other 'abnormal' initiation codons such as AUA, AUC, and CUG which initiate with the same low efficiency as AUU, and also with ACG which initiates with an even lower efficiency. Under conditions of IF3 excess, the expression of infC is repressed in the presence of the AUU or other 'abnormal' initiation codons. Under the same conditions and with the same set of 'abnormal' initiation codons, the repression of thrS and rpsO expression i...Continue Reading


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