, Volume 196, Issue 3, pp 526-529

The hisD-hisC gene border of the Salmonella typhimurium histidine operon

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We have sequenced the hisD-hisC gene border of the Salmonella typhimurium histidine operon. The translation termination codon of the hisD gene overlaps with the translation initiation codon of the hisC gene in the manner \(\overline {{\text{A}}\underline {{\text{UG}}} } \underline {\text{A}} \). The Shine-Dalgarno sequence of the hisC gene is contained entirely within hisD and there is no intercistronic space since all of the bases are utilized in coding. Two mutations that alter the hisD-hisC gene border are analyzed. Both mutations simultaneously abolish the termination codon of hisD and modify the initiation codon of hisC. One of the mutations changes the hisC initiation codon from AUG to AUU. The AUU codon is 10 to 20% as efficient as AUG for initiation of translation of the hisC gene. The mutant hisC ribosome binding site is compared to the ribosome binding site of the Escherichia coli infC gene which has been reported to contain an AUU initiation codon. The role of overlapping termination/initiation codons in regulating translation of polycistronic mRNAs in bacterial operons is discussed.