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Studies on translation initiation and gene expression in Escherichia coli

by Gonzalez de Valdivia, Ernesto I.

Abstract (Summary)
In prokaryotes, several mRNA sequences surrounding the initiation codon have been found to influence the translation process; these include the downstream region and its codon context, the Shine-Dalgarno sequence and the S1 ribosomal protein-binding site. In this thesis, the purpose has been to study the role of the downstream region and Shine-Dalgarno-like sequences on early translation elongation and gene expression in Escherichia coli.The downstream region (DR) after the initiation codon (around five to seven codons), has an important role in the initiation of translation. We find that most of the codons which give very low gene expression at +2 (considering AUG as +1), reach 5 to 10 fold higher expression when those codons are positioned posteriori to +2, with the exception of the NGG codons. The NGG codons abort the translation process if located within the first five codons of the DR, due to peptidyl-tRNA drop-off. However, when the NGG codons are situated further down from the DR, the protein expression was increased at the same level of expression as in the presence of any other codon.The Shine-Dalgarno (SD) is an important region of initiation in translation of bacteria. In spite of this, it has been found that Gram-negative bacteria could translate mRNAs with weak or non-functional SD, while the DR carries out a main role in the efficiency of translation. In addition, positions of SD and SD-like sequences are very important to direct initiation of translation in the choice between two possible initiation codons. A strong SD between two initiation sites will favor the second initiation site if it consists of a canonical start codon followed by a good DR.The results suggest that the mRNA sequences surrounding the initiation codon: the downstream region and the Shine-Dalgarno and SD-like sequences, are very important contributors to the translation level and gene expression in Escherichia coli.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Downstream region; NGG codons; abortive translation; drop-off; Shine-Dalgarno sequence; gene expression and Escherichia coli

ISBN:91-7155-214-6

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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