2A-induced ribosome stalling
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Originally 2A was characterised in foot-and-mouth disease virus. Site directed mutagenesis identified a C-terminus consensus motif [D(V/I)ExNPGP] and it is proposed that 2A interacts with the exit tunnel of the ribosome in a way that a specific peptide bond is skipped between the last glycine of 2A and the proline of 2B, thus providing a discontinuity in translation, resulting in release of discrete proteins from one single ORF. 2A was also identified in other picornaviruses, positive, single and double-stranded RNA insect viruses and mammalian rotaviruses. A motif present at the C-terminus of the 2A oligopeptide [D(V/I)ExNPGP] is very highly, though not completely conserved . The sequence upstream of this motif shows, however, no apparent conservation between 2As of different viruses. In this study, extensive site-directed mutagenesis were performed on several 2A sequences and a series of ‘hybrid’ 2As comprising different consensus motifs juxtaposed with different upstream contexts were created as part of a detailed analysis of the mechanism of 2A-mediated ribosome stalling. The results demonstrated that a minimal region of twenty to twenty-three amino acids interacts with the exit tunnel of the ribosome to bring about a pause in processivity, alter the peptidyl transferase centre geometry and restrict the ribosome A site via two distinctive stalling mechanisms. Other molecular analyses tested here will require further optimisations or alternative methods: a visual method to explore the dynamics of re-initiation of translation from proline codon, purification of the translation-regulating factors and structural resolution of 2A sequences. Previously, cellular 2As were identified in non-LTR retrotransposons of trypanosomes. It is reported here as part of two other cellular organisms Saccoglossus kowalevskii (acorn worm) and Branchiostoma floridae (amphioxus). In the acorn worm, the nucleotides sequences corresponding to 2A motifs were part of the untranslated genome. In amphioxus, three 2A elements were identified in hypothetical proteins, and at the N-terminus of twenty non-LTR retrotransposons.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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