Translation inhibition by an mRNA coding region secondary structure is determined by its proximity to the AUG initiation codon

Stephen A. Liebhaber, Faith Cash, Susan S. Eshleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the present study we investigate the impact of highly stable coding region secondary structures on mRNA translation efficiency. By introducing antisense segments into the 3′ non-translated region of human α-globin mRNA we are able to synthesize a series of transcripts in which site-specific secondary structures are introduced without altering the primary structure of the 5′ non-translated region, the coding region, or the encoded protein product. Coding region duplexes in close proximity to the AUG initiation codon are found to inhibit translation severely to a degree equal to that of a duplex that extends into the 5′ non-translated region. In contrast, mRNAs containing duplexes positioned further 3′ in the coding region translate at levels that are significantly higher although are still below those of native α-globin mRNA. The primary determinant of translation inhibition by coding region duplexes appears to be the proximity of the duplex to the AUG initiation codon and reflects a parallel inhibition of monosome formation. These data demonstrate that extensive coding region secondary structures suppress translation to a minimal or to a substantial degree depending on their distance from the initiation codon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-621
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Volume226
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 1992
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • globin mRNA
  • mRNA: gene expression
  • secondary structure
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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