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Initiation with Elongator tRNAs

Samhita, Laasya and Virumaee, Kai and Remme, Jaanus and Varshney, Umesh (2013) Initiation with Elongator tRNAs. In: Journal of Bacteriology, 195 (18). pp. 4202-4209.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.00637-13


In all domains of life, initiator tRNA functions exclusively at the first step of protein synthesis while elongator tRNAs extend the polypeptide chain. Unique features of initiator tRNA enable it to preferentially bind the ribosomal P site and initiate translation. Recently, we showed that the abundance of initiator tRNA also contributes to its specialized role. This motivates the question, can a cell also use elongator tRNA to initiate translation under certain conditions? To address this, we introduced non-AUG initiation codons CCC (Pro), GAG (Glu), GGU (Gly), UCU (Ser), UGU (Cys), ACG (Thr), AAU (Asn), and AGA (Arg) into the uracil DNA glycosylase gene (ung) used as a reporter gene. Enzyme assays from log-phase cells revealed initiation from non-AUG codons when intracellular initiator tRNA levels were reduced. The activity increased significantly in stationary phase. Further increases in initiation from non-AUG codons occurred in both growth phases upon introduction of plasmid-borne genes of cognate elongator tRNAs. Since purine-rich Shine-Dalgarno sequences occur frequently on mRNAs (in places other than the canonical AUG codon initiation contexts), initiation with elongator tRNAs from the alternate contexts may generate proteome diversity under stress without compromising genomic integrity. Thus, by changing the relative amounts of initiator and elongator tRNAs within the cell, we have blurred the distinction between the two classes of tRNAs thought to be frozen through years of evolution.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Bacteriology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Society for Microbiology.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Microbiology & Cell Biology
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2013 11:34
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2013 11:34
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/47424

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