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Biosystems. 2013 Mar;111(3):156-74. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2013.01.011. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Polymerization of non-complementary RNA: systematic symmetric nucleotide exchanges mainly involving uracil produce mitochondrial RNA transcripts coding for cryptic overlapping genes.

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National Natural History Museum Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel.


Usual DNA→RNA transcription exchanges T→U. Assuming different systematic symmetric nucleotide exchanges during translation, some GenBank RNAs match exactly human mitochondrial sequences (exchange rules listed in decreasing transcript frequencies): C↔U, A↔U, A↔U+C↔G (two nucleotide pairs exchanged), G↔U, A↔G, C↔G, none for A↔C, A↔G+C↔U, and A↔C+G↔U. Most unusual transcripts involve exchanging uracil. Independent measures of rates of rare replicational enzymatic DNA nucleotide misinsertions predict frequencies of RNA transcripts systematically exchanging the corresponding misinserted nucleotides. Exchange transcripts self-hybridize less than other gene regions, self-hybridization increases with length, suggesting endoribonuclease-limited elongation. Blast detects stop codon depleted putative protein coding overlapping genes within exchange-transcribed mitochondrial genes. These align with existing GenBank proteins (mainly metazoan origins, prokaryotic and viral origins underrepresented). These GenBank proteins frequently interact with RNA/DNA, are membrane transporters, or are typical of mitochondrial metabolism. Nucleotide exchange transcript frequencies increase with overlapping gene densities and stop densities, indicating finely tuned counterbalancing regulation of expression of systematic symmetric nucleotide exchange-encrypted proteins. Such expression necessitates combined activities of suppressor tRNAs matching stops, and nucleotide exchange transcription. Two independent properties confirm predicted exchanged overlap coding genes: discrepancy of third codon nucleotide contents from replicational deamination gradients, and codon usage according to circular code predictions. Predictions from both properties converge, especially for frequent nucleotide exchange types. Nucleotide exchanging transcription apparently increases coding densities of protein coding genes without lengthening genomes, revealing unsuspected functional DNA coding potential.

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