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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1992;22(5):243-75.

Experimental studies on the origin of the genetic code and the process of protein synthesis: a review update.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Alabama, Birminghanm 35294.

Abstract

This article is an update of our earlier review (Lacey and Mullins, 1983) in this journal on the origin of the genetic code and the process of protein synthesis. It is our intent to discuss only experimental evidence published since then although there is the necessity to mention the old enough to place the new in context. We do not include theoretical nor hypothetical treatments of the code or protein synthesis. Relevant data regarding the evolution of tRNAs and the recognition of tRNAs by aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetases are discussed. Our present belief is that the code arose based on a core of early assignments which were made on a physico-chemical and anticodonic basis and this was expanded with new assignments later. These late assignments do not necessarily show an amino acid-anticodon relatedness. In spite of the fact that most data suggest a code origin based on amino acid-anticodon relationships, some new data suggesting preferential binding of Arg to its codons are discussed. While information regarding coding is not increasing very rapidly, information regarding the basic chemistry of the process of protein synthesis has increased significantly, principally relating to aminoacylation of mono- and polyribonucleotides. Included in those studies are several which show stereoselective reactions of L-amino acids with nucleotides having D-sugars. Hydrophobic interactions definitely play a role in the preferences which have been observed.

PMID:
1454353
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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