Indexed on: 14 May '08Published on: 14 May '08Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
Nearly all members of a widespread family of bacterial transposable elements related to insertion sequence 3 (IS3), therefore called the IS3 family, very likely use programmed -1 ribosomal frameshifting to produce their transposase, a protein required for mobility. Comparative analysis of the potential frameshift signals in this family suggested that most of the insertion sequences from the IS51 group contain in their mRNA an elaborate pseudoknot that could act as a recoding stimulator. It results from a specific intramolecular interaction between an apical loop and an internal loop from two stem-loop structures. Directed mutagenesis, chemical probing, and gel mobility assays of the frameshift region of one element from the IS51 group, IS3411, provided clear evidences of the existence of the predicted structure. Modeling was used to generate a three-dimensional molecular representation of the apical loop-internal loop complex. We could demonstrate that mutations affecting the stability of the structure reduce both frameshifting and transposition, thus establishing the biological importance of this new type of RNA structure for the control of transposition level.