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Translational termination without a stop codon.

James N.R., Brown A., Gordiyenko Y., Ramakrishnan V.

Ribosomes stall when they encounter the end of messenger RNA (mRNA) without an in-frame stop codon. In bacteria, these "nonstop" complexes can be rescued by alternative ribosome-rescue factor A (ArfA). We used electron cryomicroscopy to determine structures of ArfA bound to the ribosome with 3'-truncated mRNA, at resolutions ranging from 3.0 to 3.4 angstroms. ArfA binds within the ribosomal mRNA channel and substitutes for the absent stop codon in the A site by specifically recruiting release factor 2 (RF2), initially in a compact preaccommodated state. A similar conformation of RF2 may occur on stop codons, suggesting a general mechanism for release-factor-mediated translational termination in which a conformational switch leads to peptide release only when the appropriate signal is present in the A site.

Science 354:1437-1440(2016) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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