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Environ Microbiol. 2005 Jan;7(1):47-54.

Divergent transcriptional and translational signals in Archaea.

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Danish Archaea Centre, Institute of Molecular Biology, Copenhagen University, SĂžlvgade 83H, DK-1307 Copenhagen K, Denmark.


Many Archaea, in contrast to bacteria, produce a high proportion of leaderless transcripts, show a wide variation in their consensus Shine-Dalgarno (S-D) sequences and frequently use GUG and UUG start codons. In order to understand the basis for these differences, 18 complete archaeal genomes were examined for sequence signals that are positionally conserved upstream from genes. These functional motifs include box A promoter sequences for leaderless transcripts and S-D sequences for transcripts with leaders. Most of the box A sequences were preceded by a BRE-like motif and followed by a previously undetected A/T peak centred on position -10. Moreover, the sequence of the predominant S-D motifs in an archaeon is shown to depend on the precise number of nucleotides between the conserved anti-S-D CCUCC sequence and the 3'-terminal nucleotide of 16S RNA. Correlations with phylogenetic trees, constructed for the 18 Archaea, reveal that usage of high levels of both S-D motifs, and GUG and UUG start codons occurs exclusively in the shorter branched Archaea. High levels of leaderless transcripts are found in the longer branched Archaea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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