Quality control of the elongation step of protein synthesis by tmRNP.

J. Wower, I. K. Wower, B. Kraal, C. W. Zwieb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Trans-translation is a quality-control process, activated upon premature termination of protein elongation, which recycles stalled ribosomes and degrades incomplete polypeptides. These functions are facilitated by transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA, also called 10Sa RNA or SsrA RNA), a small stable RNA molecule encoded by the SsrA gene found in bacteria, chloroplasts and mitochondria. Most tmRNAs consist of a tRNA- and an mRNA-like domain connected by up to four pseudoknots. Comparative sequence analysis provided the first insight into tmRNA secondary and three-dimensional structure. Studies of the E. coli tmRNA in vitro and in vivo demonstrated that tmRNA functions as a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex with elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), protein SmpB and ribosomal protein S1. The tRNA-like and mRNA-like activities of tmRNA mark prematurely terminated proteins for degradation by attaching to their C-termini peptide tags, which are recognized by numerous proteases. Studies aimed at understanding the details of the molecular mechanisms of trans-translation are ongoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2978S-82S
JournalThe Journal of nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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