Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 597–601 | Cite as

On malleability in the genetic code

  • Dennis W. Schultz
  • Michael Yarus
Letter to the Editor

Abstract

To explain now-numerous cases of codon reassignment (departure from the “universal” code), we suggest a pathway in which the transformed codon is temporarily ambiguous. All the unusual tRNA activities required have been demonstrated. In addition, the repetitive use of certain reassignments, the phylogenetic distribution of reassignments, and the properties of present-day reassigned tRNAs are each consistent with evolution of the code via an ambiguous translational intermediate.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andersson DI, Bohman K, Isaksson LA, Kurland C (1982) Translation rates and misreading characteristics of rpsD mutants inEscherichia coli. Mol Gen Genet 187:467–472CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Edelman L, Culbertson MR (1991) Exceptional codon recognition by the glutamine tRNAs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. EMBO J 10: 1481–1491PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Ellis N, Gallant J (1982) An estimate of the global error frequency in translation. Mol Gen Genet 188:169–172CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Feng Y, Copeland TD, Oroszlan S, Rein A, Levin JG (1990) Identification of amino acids inserted during suppression of UAA and UGA termination codons at the gag-pol junction of Moloney murine leukemia virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 87:8860–8863PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Gallant J, Palmer L (1979) Error propagation in viable cells. Mech Ageing Dev 10:27–38CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Hanyu N, Kuchino Y, Nishimura S, Beier H (1986) Dramatic events in ciliate evolution: alteration of UAA and UAG termination codons to glutamine codons due to anticodon mutations in two Tetrahymena tRNAGGln. EMBO J 5:1307–1311PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hirsh D (1971) Tryptophan tRNA as the UGA suppressor. J Mol Biol 58:439–458PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Ikemura T, Wada K (1991) Evident diversity of codon usage patterns of human genes with respect to chromosome banding patterns and chromosome numbers; relation between nucleotide sequence data and cytogenetic data. Nucleic Acids Res 19:4333–4339PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Kano A et al. (1993) Unassigned or nonsense codons in Micrococcus luteus. J Mol Biol 230:51–56CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Osawa S, Jukes TH (1989) Codon reassignment (codon capture) in evolution. J Mol Evol 28:271–278CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Osawa S et al. (1992) Recent evidence for evolution of the genetic code. Microbiol Rev 56:229–264PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Osawa S, Jukes TH (1995) On codon reassignment. J Mol Evol 41: 247–249CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Santos MAS, Keith G, Tuite MF (1993) Non-standard translational events inCandida albicans mediated by an unusual seryl-tRNA with a 5′-CAG-3′ (leucine) anticodon. EMBO J 12:607–616PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Santos MAS, Tuite MF (1995) The CUG codon is decoded in vivo as serine and not leucine in Candida albicans. Nucleic Acids Res 23:1481–1486PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Sharp PM, Lloyd AT (1993) Regional base composition variation along yeast chromosome III: evolution of chromosome primary structure. Nucleic Acids Res 21:179–183PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Schultz DW, Yarns M (1994a) tRNA structure and ribosomal decoding: I. tRNA nucleotide 27–43 mutations enhance first position wobble. J Mol Biol 235:1381–1394Google Scholar
  17. Schultz DW, Yarns M (1994b) tRNA structure and ribosomal decoding II. Interaction between anticodon helix and other tRNA mutations. J Mol Biol 235:1395–1405Google Scholar
  18. Schultz DW, Yarns M (1994c) Transfer RNA mutations and the malleability of the genetic code. J Mol Biol 235:1377–1380Google Scholar
  19. Skuzeski JM, Nichols LM, Gesteland RF, Atkins JF (1991) The signal for a leaky UAG stop codon in several plant viruses includes the two downstream codons. J Mol Biol 218:365–373CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Strigini P, Brickman E (1973) Analysis of specific misreading inEscherichia coli. J Mol Biol 75:659–672CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Sueoka N (1993) Directional mutation pressure, mutator mutations, and dynamics of molecular evolution. J Mol Evol 37:137–153PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Tourancheau AB, Tsao N, Klobutcher LA, Pearlman RE, Adoutte A (1995) Genetic code deviations in the ciliates: evidence for multiple and independent events. EMBO J 14:3262–3267PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Urban C, Hildburg B (1995) Cysteine tRNAs of plant origin as novel UGA suppressors. Nucleic Acids Res 23:4591–4597PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Weiss WA, Freidberg EC (1986) Normal yeast tRNAGGln (CAG) can suppress amber codons and is encoded by an essential gene. J Mol Biol 192:725–735CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Yarus M, Smith D (1995) tRNA on the ribosome: a Waggle theory. In: Söll D, RajBhandary UL (eds) tRNA, structure, biosynthesis, and function. ASM Press, Washington, DC, pp 443–469Google Scholar
  26. Yokogawa T, Suzuki T, Ueda T, Mori M, Ohama T, Kuchion Y, Yoshinari S, Motoki I, Nishikawa K, Osawa S, Watanabe K (1992) Serine tRNA complementary to the nonuniversal serine codon CUG in Candida cylindracae: evolutionary implications. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89:7408–7411PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis W. Schultz
    • 1
  • Michael Yarus
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Medical GeneticsOregon Health Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations