Temperature-dependent translation of leaderless and canonical mRNAs in Escherichia coli

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Abstract

Leaderless mRNAs beginning with a 5′-terminal start codon occur in all biological systems. In this work, we have studied the comparative translational efficiency of leaderless and leadered mRNAs as a function of temperature by in vitro translation competition assays with Escherichia coli extracts. At low temperature (25°C) leaderless mRNAs were found to be translated comparatively better than mRNAs containing an internal canonical ribosome binding site, whereas at high temperature (42°C) the translational efficiency of canonical mRNAs is by far superior to that of leaderless mRNA. The inverse correlation between temperature and translational efficiency characteristic for the two mRNA classes was attributed to structural features of the mRNA(s) and to the reduced stability of the translation initiation complex formed at a 5′-terminal start codon at elevated temperature.

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