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Science. 1999 Sep 10;285(5434):1722-5.

Recognition of the codon-anticodon helix by ribosomal RNA.

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  • 1Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5126, USA.


Translational fidelity is established by ribosomal recognition of the codon-anticodon interaction within the aminoacyl-transfer RNA (tRNA) site (A site) of the ribosome. Experiments are presented that reveal possible contacts between 16S ribosomal RNA and the codon-anticodon complex. N1 methylation of adenine at position 1492 (A1492) and A1493 interfered with A-site tRNA binding. Mutation of A1492 and A1493 to guanine or cytosine also impaired A-site tRNA binding. The deleterious effects of A1492G or A1493G (or both) mutations were compensated by 2'fluorine substitutions in the mRNA codon. The results suggest that the ribosome recognizes the codon-anticodon complex by adenine contacts to the messenger RNA backbone and provide a mechanism for molecular discrimination of correct versus incorrect codon-anticodon pairs.

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