Selection for tandem stop codons in ciliate species with reassigned stop codons

Autoři: Ira Fleming aff001;  Andre R. O. Cavalcanti aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Molecular Biology, Pomona College, Claremont, CA, United States of America aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225804


The failure of mRNA translation machinery to recognize a stop codon as a termination signal and subsequent translation of the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) is referred to as stop codon readthrough, the frequency of which is related to the length, composition, and structure of mRNA sequences downstream of end-of-gene stop codons. Secondary in-frame stop codons within a few positions downstream of the primary stop codons, so-called tandem stop codons (TSCs), serve as backup termination signals, which limit the effects of readthrough: polypeptide product degradation, mislocalization, and aggregation. In this study, ciliate species with UAA and UAG stop codons reassigned to code for glutamine are found to possess statistical excesses of TSCs at the beginning of their 3’ UTRs. The overrepresentation of TSCs in these species is greater than that observed in standard code organisms. Though the overall numbers of TSCs are lower in most species with alternative stop codons because they use fewer than three unique stop codons, the relatively great overrepresentation of TSCs in alternative-code ciliate species suggests that there exist stronger selective pressures to maintain TSCs in these organisms compared to standard code organisms.

Klíčová slova:

3' UTR – Eukaryota – Genome annotation – Genomic libraries – Messenger RNA – Untranslated regions – Tetrahymena thermophila – Signal termination


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11