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Journal Article

How tRNAs dictate nuclear codon reassignments: Only a few can capture non-cognate codons.


Kollmar,  M.
Research Group of Systems Biology of Motor Proteins, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Kollmar, M., & Mühlhausen, S. (2017). How tRNAs dictate nuclear codon reassignments: Only a few can capture non-cognate codons. RNA Biology, 14(3), 293-299. doi:10.1080/15476286.2017.1279785.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-E630-E
mRNA decoding by tRNAs and tRNA charging by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are biochemically separated processes that nevertheless in general involve the same nucleotides. The combination of charging and decoding determines the genetic code. Codon reassignment happens when a differently charged tRNA replaces a former cognate tRNA. The recent discovery of the polyphyly of the yeast CUG sense codon reassignment challenged previous mechanistic considerations and led to the proposal of the so-called tRNA loss driven codon reassignment hypothesis. Accordingly, codon capture is caused by loss of a tRNA or by mutations in the translation termination factor, subsequent reduction of the codon frequency through reduced translation fidelity and final appearance of a new cognate tRNA. Critical for codon capture are sequence and structure of the new tRNA, which must be compatible with recognition regions of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. The proposed hypothesis applies to all reported nuclear and organellar codon reassignments.