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A Bias in the Reading of the Genetic Code of Escherichia coli is a Characteristic for Genes that Specify Stress-induced MazF-mediated Proteins

[ Vol. 21 , Issue. 4 ]

Author(s):

Akanksha Nigam, Adi Oron-Gottesman and Hanna Engelberg-Kulka*   Pages 311 - 318 ( 8 )

Abstract:


Background: Escherichia coli (E. coli) mazEF, a stress-induced toxin-antitoxin (TA) system, has been studied extensively. The MazF toxin is an endoribonuclease that cleaves RNAs at ACA sites. Thereby, under stress, the induced MazF generates a Stress-induced Translation Machinery (STM), composed of MazF processed mRNAs and selective ribosomes that specifically translate the processed mRNAs.

Materials and Methods: Based on the data from the EcoCyc website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the sequence of all E. coli MG1655 genes were scanned for ACA sites upstream from the initiation codons. Among these sequences, the fuzznuc program of the "European Molecular Biology Open Software Suite" (EMBOSS) was used to find the "ACA" pattern. The distribution of the ACA threonine codon, both in-frame and out-of-frame, was determined by using the HTML Script Program (Supplementary Material).

Results: Here it is reported that for most of the E. coli proteins mediated by stress-induced MazF, the ACA threonine codon in their mRNAs is not in-frame but rather out-of-frame; in these same RNAs, the three synonymous threonine codons, ACG, ACU, and ACC, are in-frame. In contrast, for proteins translated by the canonical translation system, in the majority of mRNAs, the ACA codon is located in-frame.

Conclusion: The described bias in the genetic code is a characteristic of E. coli genes specifying for stress-induced MazF-mediated proteins.

Keywords:

Genetic code, Toxin-Antitoxin (TA) modules, E. coli, MazF toxin, ACA sites, genes.

Affiliation:

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, IMRIC, The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, IMRIC, The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, IMRIC, The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120

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