Nonstop mRNAs pose a challenge for bacteria, because translation cannot terminate efficiently without a stop codon. The trans-translation pathway resolves nonstop translation complexes by removing the nonstop mRNA, the incomplete protein, and the stalled ribosome. P1 co-transduction experiments demonstrated that tmRNA, a key component of the trans-translation pathway, is essential for viability in Shigella flexneri. tmRNA was previously shown to be dispensable in the closely related species Escherichia coli, because E. coli contains a backup system for trans-translation mediated by the alternative release factor ArfA. Genome sequence analysis showed that S. flexneri does not have a gene encoding ArfA. E. coli ArfA could suppress the requirement for tmRNA in S. flexneri, indicating that tmRNA is essential in S. flexneri because there is no functional backup system. These data suggest that resolution of nonstop translation complexes is required for most bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)