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Biochimie. 1991 Jul-Aug;73(7-8):1121-9.

A rRNA-mRNA base pairing model for UGA-dependent termination.

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MAX-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik, Abt Wittmann, Berlin, Germany.


A series of site-directed mutations has been constructed in E coli 16S rRNA and shown to suppress UGA-dependent translational termination. With the exception of the C726 to G base change, all were constructed in helix 34. Characterization of these mutations is reviewed here and from these data and mRNA-rRNA base pairing model for the termination event is presented. The interaction functions via antiparallel base pairing between either 1 of the 2 UCA motifs in helix 34 and the complementary UGA stop codon on the message, thus forming a quasicontinuous A-type helical structure that is further stabilized by stacking enthalpy. Finally, rRNA motifs potentially required for UAA and UAG-dependent translational termination are discussed.

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