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PLoS Genet. 2016 Mar 10;12(3):e1005926. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005926. eCollection 2016 Mar.

The Selective Advantage of Synonymous Codon Usage Bias in Salmonella.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Biomedical Center, Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

The genetic code in mRNA is redundant, with 61 sense codons translated into 20 different amino acids. Individual amino acids are encoded by up to six different codons but within codon families some are used more frequently than others. This phenomenon is referred to as synonymous codon usage bias. The genomes of free-living unicellular organisms such as bacteria have an extreme codon usage bias and the degree of bias differs between genes within the same genome. The strong positive correlation between codon usage bias and gene expression levels in many microorganisms is attributed to selection for translational efficiency. However, this putative selective advantage has never been measured in bacteria and theoretical estimates vary widely. By systematically exchanging optimal codons for synonymous codons in the tuf genes we quantified the selective advantage of biased codon usage in highly expressed genes to be in the range 0.2-4.2 x 10-4 per codon per generation. These data quantify for the first time the potential for selection on synonymous codon choice to drive genome-wide sequence evolution in bacteria, and in particular to optimize the sequences of highly expressed genes. This quantification may have predictive applications in the design of synthetic genes and for heterologous gene expression in biotechnology.

PMID:
26963725
PMCID:
PMC4786093
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1005926
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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