Mutations affecting translation of the bacteriophage T4 rIIB gene cloned in Escherichia coli

Research paper by Sidney Shinedling, Margit Gayle, David Pribnow, Larry Gold

Indexed on: 01 May '87Published on: 01 May '87Published in: Molecular & general genetics : MGG


Mutant ribosome binding sites of the bacteriophage T4 rIIB gene, resident on an 873 bp DNA fragment, were cloned into a plasmid vector as in-frame fusions to a reporter gene, beta-galactosidase. The collection of mutations included changes in the region 5′ to the Shine/Dalgarno sequence, a mutation of the Shine/Dalgarno sequence, the alternate initiation codons GUG, AUA and ACG, and mutants in which several closely spaced initiation codons compete with each other on the same mRNA. The results show that the secondary structure variations we have installed 5′ to the Shine/Dalgarno sequence have little effect on translation. GUG is essentially as good an initiator of translation as AUG when they are assayed on separate messages, but is outcompeted at least 50-fold in the sequence AUGUG. AUA and ACG are poor start codons, and are temperature sensitive. The initiation codon pair AUGAUA, in which the AUG is only two nucleotides from the Shine/Dalgarno sequence, displays a novel cold-sensitive phenotype.