Indexed on: 24 Aug '18Published on: 24 Aug '18Published in: PloS one
We examined 20,648 prokaryotic unique taxids with respect to the annotation of the 3' end of the 16S rRNA, which contains the anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence. We used the sequence of highly conserved helix 45 of the 16S rRNA as a guide. By this criterion, 8,153 annotated 3' ends correctly included the anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence, but 12,495 were foreshortened or otherwise mis-annotated, missing part or all of the anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence, which immediately follows helix 45. We re-annotated, giving a total of 20,648 16S rRNA 3' ends. The vast majority indeed contained a consensus anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence, embedded in a highly conserved 13 base "tail". However, 128 exceptional organisms had either a variant anti-Shine-Dalgarno, or no recognizable anti-Shine-Dalgarno, in their 16S rRNA(s). For organisms both with and without an anti-Shine-Dalgarno, we identified the Shine-Dalgarno motifs actually enriched in front of each organism's open reading frames. This showed to what extent the Shine-Dalgarno motifs correlated with anti-Shine Dalgarno motifs. In general, organisms whose rRNAs lacked a perfect anti-Shine-Dalgarno motif also lacked a recognizable Shine-Dalgarno. For organisms whose 16S rRNAs contained a perfect anti-Shine-Dalgarno motif, a variety of results were obtained. We found one genus, Alteromonas, where several taxids apparently maintain two different types of 16S rRNA genes, with different, but conserved, antiSDs. The fact that some organisms do not seem to have or use Shine-Dalgarno motifs supports the idea that prokaryotes have other robust mechanisms for recognizing start codons for translation.