Kinetic and thermodynamic analysis of the role of start codon/anticodon base pairing during eukaryotic translation initiation

Sarah E. Kolitz, Julie E. Takacs, Jon R. Lorsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Start codon recognition is a crucial event in the initiation of protein synthesis. To gain insight into the mechanism of start codon recognition in eukaryotes, we used a yeast reconstituted initiation system to isolate the step of Met-tRNAi•eIF2•GTP ternary complex (TC) binding to the 40S subunit. We examined the kinetics and thermodynamics of this step in the presence of base changes in the mRNA start codon and initiator methionyl tRNA anticodon, in order to investigate the effects of base pairing and sequence on the stability of the resulting 43S•mRNA complex. We observed that the formation of three base pairs, rather than their identities, was the key determinant of stability of TC binding, indicating that nothing is inherently special about the sequence AUG for this step. Surprisingly, the rate constant for TC binding to the 40S subunit was strongly codon dependent, whereas the rate constant for TC dissociation from the 43S•mRNA complex was not. The data suggest a model in which, after the initial diffusion-limited encounter of TC with the 40S subunit, the formation of three matching start codon/anticodon base pairs triggers a conformational change that locks the complex into a stable state. This induced-fit mechanism supports the proposal that initiation codon recognition by the 43S complex induces a conformational change from an open state to a closed one that arrests movement along the mRNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-152
Number of pages15
JournalRNA
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Initiation factors
  • Kinetics
  • Protein synthesis
  • Ribosome
  • Thermodynamics
  • Translation initiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

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