Whole genome analysis reveals a high incidence of non-optimal codons in secretory signal sequences of Escherichia coli
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Translational pausing may occur due to a number of mechanisms, including the presence of non-optimal codons, and it is thought to play a role in the folding of specific polypeptide domains during translation and in the facilitation of signal peptide recognition during sec-dependent protein targeting. In this whole genome analysis of Escherichia coli we have found that non-optimal codons in the signal peptide-encoding sequences of secretory genes are overrepresented relative to the "mature" portions of these genes; this is in addition to their overrepresentation in the 5'-regions of genes encoding non-secretory proteins. We also find increased non-optimal codon usage at the 3' ends of most E. coli genes, in both non-secretory and secretory sequences. Whereas presumptive translational pausing at the 5' and 3' ends of E. coli messenger RNAs may clearly have a general role in translation, we suggest that it also has a specific role in sec-dependent protein export, possibly in facilitating signal peptide recognition. This finding may have important implications for our understanding of how the majority of non-cytoplasmic proteins are targeted, a process that is essential to all biological cells.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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