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FEBS Lett. 1991 Jul 22;285(2):165-9.

Codon bias and gene expression.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


The frequencies with which individual synonymous codons are used to code their cognate amino acids is quite variable from genome to genome and within genomes, from gene to gene. One particularly well documented codon bias is that associated with highly expressed genes in bacteria as well as in yeast; this is the so-called major codon bias. Here, it is suggested that the major codon bias is not an arrangement for regulating individual gene expression. Instead, the data suggest that this codon bias, which is correlated with a corresponding bias of tRNA abundance, is a global arrangement for optimizing the growth efficiency of cells. On the practical side, it is suggested that heterologous gene expression is not as sensitive to codon bias as previously thought, but that it is quite sensitive to other characteristics of the heterologous gene.

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