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FEBS Lett. 1996 Dec 9;399(1-2):78-82.

Non-random usage of 'degenerate' codons is related to protein three-dimensional structure.

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CRC Biomolecular Structure Unit, The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK.


We report an analysis of a novel sequence-structure database of mammalian proteins incorporating nucleotide sequences of the exon regions of their genes together with protein sequence and structural information. We find that synonymous codon families (i.e. coding the same residue) have non-random codon distribution frequencies between protein secondary structure types. Their structural preferences are related to the third, 'silent' nucleotide position in a codon. We also find that some synonymous codons show very different or even opposite structural preferences at the N- or C-termini of structure fragments, relative to those observed for their amino acid residues.

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