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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006;34(16):4583-92. Epub 2006 Sep 8.

Codon usage bias and tRNA over-expression in Buchnera aphidicola after aromatic amino acid nutritional stress on its host Acyrthosiphon pisum.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Fonctionnelle Insectes et Interactions, UMR INRA/INSA de Lyon, 203 B√Ętiment Louis Pasteur, 69621 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.


Codon usage bias and relative abundances of tRNA isoacceptors were analysed in the obligate intracellular symbiotic bacterium, Buchnera aphidicola from the aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, using a dedicated 35mer oligonucleotide microarray. Buchnera is archetypal of organisms living with minimal metabolic requirements and presents a reduced genome with high-evolutionary rate. Codonusage in Buchnera has been overcome by the high mutational bias towards AT bases. However, several lines of evidence for codon usage selection are given here. A significant correlation was found between tRNA relative abundances and codon composition of Buchnera genes. A significant codon usage bias was found for the choice of rare codons in Buchnera: C-ending codons are preferred in highly expressed genes, whereas G-ending codons are avoided. This bias is not explained by GC skew in the bacteria and might correspond to a selection for perfect matching between codon-anticodon pairs for some essential amino acids in Buchnera proteins. Nutritional stress applied to the aphid host induced a significant overexpression of most of the tRNA isoacceptors in bacteria. Although, molecular regulation of the tRNA operons in Buchnera was not investigated, a correlation between relative expression levels and organization in transcription unit was found in the genome of Buchnera.

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