The unusual translational initiation codon AUU limits the expression of the infC (initiation factor IF3) gene of Escherichia coli

Molecular & General Genetics : MGG
M Brombach, C L Pon


The expression of infC, the structural gene for translational initiation factor IF3, has been studied in different constructs under the control of the lambda PL and tac promoters. The amount of synthesized IF3 has been determined by a quantitative functional test and the levels of IF3-specific mRNA have been estimated. The synthesis of IF3 is strongly enhanced when the unusual AUU initiation codon is changed to AUG by site-directed mutagenesis. Removal of the sequence upstream from the start codon including most of the Shine-Dalgarno sequence, as well as part of a 10 bp region with potential complementarity to an internal region of the 16S rRNA, which is unique to the IF3 mRNA, reduced but did not completely abolish the high expression of infC obtained after introduction of the AUG initiation codon. The level of IF3 mRNA was found to be positively influenced by the presence of the rplT gene in the plasmid downstream from the infC gene. In vivo accumulation of a large excess of IF3, obtained when the infC gene was placed under the control of an incompletely repressed tac promoter, was not accompanied by any noticeable adverse phenotype.


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Related Concepts

DNA Sequence
Sense Codon
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