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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 May 13;1627(1):1-6.

Glutamine is incorporated at the nonsense codons UAG and UAA in a suppressor-free Escherichia coli strain.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Stockholm University, S-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden.


Readthrough of the nonsense codons UAG, UAA, and UGA is seen in Escherichia coli strains lacking tRNA suppressors. Earlier results indicate that UGA is miscoded by tRNA(Trp). It has also been shown that tRNA(Tyr) and tRNA(Gln) are involved in UAG and UAA decoding in several eukaryotic viruses as well as in yeast. Here we have investigated which amino acid(s) is inserted in response to the nonsense codons UAG and UAA in E. coli. To do this, the stop codon in question was introduced into the staphylococcal protein A gene. Protein A binds to IgG, which facilitates purification of the readthrough product. We have shown that the stop codons UAG and UAA direct insertion of glutamine, indicating that tRNA(Gln) can read the two codons. We have also confirmed that tryptophan is inserted in response to UGA, suggesting that it is read by tRNA(Trp).

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