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Nucleic Acids Res. 1990 Oct 25;18(20):6113-8.

Evidence for the frequent use of TTG as the translation initiation codon of mitochondrial protein genes in the nematodes, Ascaris suum and Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112.


Data obtained from alignments of nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial (mt) DNA molecules of the nematode worms Ascaris suum and Caenorhabditis elegans indicate that in six of the mt-protein genes of A. suum and three of the mt-protein genes of C. elegans TTG is used as the translation initiation codon. Also, GTT seems to be the translation initiation codon of the A. suum COIII gene. All of the five remaining A. suum mt-protein genes appear to begin with ATT and the remaining nine C. elegans mt-protein genes appear to begin with either ATT or ATA. Therefore, in contrast to all other metazoan mtDNAs sequenced so far, it is likely that none of the nematode mt-protein genes use the standard ATG translation initiation codon. Some A. suum and C. elegans mt-protein genes end in T or TA, suggesting that, as found in other metazoan mitochondria, 3'-terminal polyadenylation is occasionally necessary to generate complete translation termination codons in transcripts of nematode mt-protein genes.

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