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J Mol Biol. 1983 Feb 15;164(1):59-71.

Effects of surrounding sequence on the suppression of nonsense codons.


Using a lacI-Z fusion system, we have determined the efficiency of suppression of nonsense codons in the I gene of Escherichia coli by assaying beta-galactosidase activity. We examined the efficiency of four amber suppressors acting on 42 different amber (UAG) codons at known positions in the I gene, and the efficiency of a UAG suppressor at 14 different UGA codons. The largest effects were found with the amber suppressor supE (Su2), which displayed efficiencies that varied over a 35-fold range, and with the UGA suppressor, which displayed a 170-fold variation in efficiency. Certain UGA sites were so poorly suppressed (less than 0.2%) by the UGA suppressor that they were not originally detected as nonsense mutations. Suppression efficiency can be correlated with the sequence on the 3' side of the codon being suppressed, and in many cases with the first base on the 3' side. In general, codons followed by A or G are well suppressed, and codons followed by U or C are poorly suppressed. There are exceptions, however, since codons followed by CUG or CUC are well suppressed. Models explaining the effect of the surrounding sequence on suppression efficiency are considered in the Discussion and in the accompanying paper.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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