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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 4;107(18):8298-303. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1000704107. Epub 2010 Apr 12.

Imprints of the genetic code in the ribosome.

Author information

  • 1The Jack H Skirball Center for Chemical Biology and Proteomics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

Abstract

The establishment of the genetic code remains elusive nearly five decades after the code was elucidated. The stereochemical hypothesis postulates that the code developed from interactions between nucleotides and amino acids, yet supporting evidence in a biological context is lacking. We show here that anticodons are selectively enriched near their respective amino acids in the ribosome, and that such enrichment is significantly correlated with the canonical code over random codes. Ribosomal anticodon-amino acid enrichment further reveals that specific codons were reassigned during code evolution, and that the code evolved through a two-stage transition from ancient amino acids without anticodon interaction to newer additions with anticodon interaction. The ribosome thus serves as a molecular fossil, preserving biological evidence that anticodon-amino acid interactions shaped the evolution of the genetic code.

PMID:
20385807
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2889578
Free PMC Article

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