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J Bacteriol. 1993 Oct;175(20):6476-83.

Mutations affecting pseudoknot control of the replication of B group plasmids.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


The translational initiation region of the mRNA for the replication initiation protein (RepA) of pMU720 is predicted to be sequestered in an inhibitory secondary structure designated stem-loop III. Activation of repA translation requires both the disruption of stem-loop III by ribosomes involved in the translation and termination of the leader peptide RepB and the formation of a pseudoknot, a tertiary RNA structure. Disruption of stem-loop III by site-directed mutagenesis was found to be insufficient to allow high repA expression in the absence of pseudoknot formation, indicating that the pseudoknot acts as an enhancer of repA translation. Furthermore, extending the length of the leader peptide RepB and changing the distance between the pseudoknot and repA Shine-Dalgarno sequence were found to have major effects on the translation of repA.

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