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Nucleic Acids Res. 1991 Jun 25;19(12):3185-92.

Eukaryotic start and stop translation sites.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235.


Sequences flanking translational initiation and termination sites have been compiled and statistically analyzed for various eukaryotic taxonomic groups. A few key similarities between taxonomic groups support conserved mechanisms of initiation and termination. However, a high degree of sequence variation at these sites within and between various eukaryotic groups suggest that translation may be modulated for many mRNAs. Multipositional analysis of di-, tri-, and quadrinucleotide sequences flanking start/stop sites indicate significant biases. In particular, strong tri-nucleotide biases are observed at the -3, -2, and -1 positions upstream of the start codon. These biases and the interspecific variation in nucleotide preferences at these three positions have lead us to propose a revised model of the interaction of the 18S ribosomal RNA with the mRNA at the site of translation initiation. Unusually strong biases against the CG dinucleotide immediately downstream of termination codons suggest that they may lead to faulty termination and/or failure of the ribosome to disassociate from the mRNA.

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