Transfer-messenger RNA unfolds as it transits the ribosome

Iwona K. Wower, Christian W Zwieb, Jacek Wower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In bacteria, translation of mRNAs lacking stop codons produces truncated polypeptides and traps ribosomes in unproductive complexes. Potentially harmful truncated proteins are tagged with short peptides encoded by the mRNA-like domain of tmRNA and targeted for digestion by housekeeping proteases. We show that altered Escherichia coli transfer-messenger RNAs (tmRNAs) produce in vivo fusion proteins with peptide tags that extend far beyond the conventional termination signal of the wild-type tmRNA. Regions of tmRNA capable of serving as templates for protein synthesis include helix 5, as well as pseudoknots 2, 3, and 4. The removal of all six in-frame stop codons negatively affects tmRNA processing, thereby preventing translation of the 3′ portion of the tRNA-like domain. These findings provide evidence that trans-translation can be accompanied by the unfolding of significant portions of the tmRNA molecule. Many of these conformational changes are likely to be required during trans-translation to maintain the ribosomal subunits in close proximity to the tmRNA for monitoring its transit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-673
Number of pages6
JournalRNA
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

RNA Folding
Transfer RNA
Ribosomes
Messenger RNA
Terminator Codon
Peptides
Ribosome Subunits
Housekeeping
Proteins
Protein Biosynthesis
tmRNA
Digestion
Peptide Hydrolases
Escherichia coli
Bacteria

Keywords

  • Protein tagging
  • Ribosome rescue
  • RNA structure
  • tmRNA
  • trans-translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Wower, I. K., Zwieb, C. W., & Wower, J. (2005). Transfer-messenger RNA unfolds as it transits the ribosome. RNA, 11(5), 668-673. https://doi.org/10.1261/rna.7269305

Transfer-messenger RNA unfolds as it transits the ribosome. / Wower, Iwona K.; Zwieb, Christian W; Wower, Jacek.

In: RNA, Vol. 11, No. 5, 05.2005, p. 668-673.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wower, IK, Zwieb, CW & Wower, J 2005, 'Transfer-messenger RNA unfolds as it transits the ribosome', RNA, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 668-673. https://doi.org/10.1261/rna.7269305
Wower, Iwona K. ; Zwieb, Christian W ; Wower, Jacek. / Transfer-messenger RNA unfolds as it transits the ribosome. In: RNA. 2005 ; Vol. 11, No. 5. pp. 668-673.
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