Shine-Dalgarno (SD) motifs are thought to play an important role in translational initiation in bacteria. Paradoxically, ribosome profiling studies in E. coli show no correlation between the strength of an mRNA’s SD motif and how efficiently it is translated. Performing profiling on ribosomes with altered anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequences, we reveal a genome-wide correlation between SD strength and ribosome occupancy that was previously masked by other contributing factors. Using the antibiotic retapamulin to trap initiation complexes at start codons, we find that the mutant ribosomes select start sites correctly, arguing that start sites are hardwired for initiation through the action of other mRNA features. We show that A-rich sequences upstream of start codons promote initiation. Taken together, our genome-wide study reveals that SD motifs are not necessary for ribosomes to determine where initiation occurs, though they do affect how efficiently initiation occurs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)