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Biol Cell. 2007 Sep;99(9):475-87.

Halting a cellular production line: responses to ribosomal pausing during translation.

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School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Institute of Medical Sciences, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.


Cellular protein synthesis is a complex polymerization process carried out by multiple ribosomes translating individual mRNAs. The process must be responsive to rapidly changing conditions in the cell that could cause ribosomal pausing and queuing. In some circumstances, pausing of a bacterial ribosome can trigger translational abandonment via the process of trans-translation, mediated by tmRNA (transfer-messenger RNA) and endonucleases. Together, these factors release the ribosome from the mRNA and target the incomplete polypeptide for destruction. In eukaryotes, ribosomal pausing can initiate an analogous process carried out by the Dom34p and Hbs1p proteins, which trigger endonucleolytic attack of the mRNA, a process termed mRNA no-go decay. However, ribosomal pausing can also be employed for regulatory purposes, and controlled translational delays are used to help co-translational folding of the nascent polypeptide on the ribosome, as well as a tactic to delay translation of a protein while its encoding mRNA is being localized within the cell. However, other responses to pausing trigger ribosomal frameshift events. Recent discoveries are thus revealing a wide variety of mechanisms used to respond to translational pausing and thus regulate the flow of ribosomal traffic on the mRNA population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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