Indexed on: 30 Jan '07Published on: 30 Jan '07Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Biased usage of synonymous codons has been elucidated under the perspective of cellular tRNA abundance for quite a long time now. Taking advantage of publicly available gene expression data for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a systematic analysis of the codon and amino acid usages in two different coding regions corresponding to the regular (helix and strand) as well as the irregular (coil) protein secondary structures, have been performed. Our analyses suggest that apart from tRNA abundance, mRNA folding stability is another major evolutionary force in shaping the codon and amino acid usage differences between the highly and lowly expressed genes in S. cerevisiae genome and surprisingly it depends on the coding regions corresponding to the secondary structures of the encoded proteins. This is obviously a new paradigm in understanding the codon usage in S. cerevisiae. Differential amino acid usage between highly and lowly expressed genes in the regions coding for the irregular protein secondary structure in S. cerevisiae is expounded by the stability of the mRNA folded structure. Irrespective of the protein secondary structural type, the highly expressed genes always tend to encode cheaper amino acids in order to reduce the overall biosynthetic cost of production of the corresponding protein. This study supports the hypothesis that the tRNA abundance is a consequence of and not a reason for the biased usage of amino acid between highly and lowly expressed genes.