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Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2011 Mar-Apr;2(2):233-46. doi: 10.1002/wrna.48. Epub 2010 Sep 27.

The tmRNA-tagging mechanism and the control of gene expression: a review.

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ProteoNic, Niels Bohrweg 11-13, 2333 CA Leiden, The Netherlands.


The tmRNA-mediated trans-translation system is a unique quality control system in eubacteria that combines translational surveillance with the rescue of stalled ribosomes. During trans-translation, the chimeric tmRNA molecule--which acts as both tRNA and mRNA--is delivered to the ribosomal A site by a ribonucleoprotein complex of SmpB and EF-Tu-GTP, allowing the stalled ribosome to switch template and resume translation on a small coding sequence inside the tmRNA molecule. As a result, the aberrant protein becomes tagged by a sequence that is a target for proteolytic degradation. Thus, the system elegantly combines ribosome recycling with a clean-up function when triggered by truncated transcripts or rare codons. In addition, recent observations point to a specific regulation of the translation of a small number of genes by tmRNA-mediated inhibition or stimulation. In this review, we discuss the most prominent biochemical and structural aspects of trans-translation and then focus on the specific role of tmRNA in stress management and cell-cycle control of morphologically complex bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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