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This article is the author's final published version in PLoS ONE, Volume 18, Issue 2, February 2023, Article number e0282091.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2023 Inokuchi et al.


The role of ribosome recycling factor (RRF) of E. coli was studied in vivo and in vitro. We used the translational coupling without the Shine-Dalgarno sequence of downstream ORF (d-ORF) as a model system of the RRF action in natural termination of protein synthesis. For the in vivo studies we used the translational coupling by the adjacent coat and lysis genes of RNA phage GA sharing the termination and initiation (UAAUG) and temperature sensitive RRF. The d-ORF translation was measured by the expression of the reporter lacZ gene connected to the 5'-terminal part of the lysis gene. The results showed that more ribosomes which finished upstream ORF (u-ORF) reading were used for downstream reading when RRF was inactivated. The in vitro translational coupling studies with 027mRNA having the junction sequence UAAUG with wild-type RRF were carried out with measuring amino acids incorporation. The results showed that ribosomes released by RRF read downstream from AUG of UAAUG. In the absence of RRF, ribosomes read downstream in frame with UAA. These in vivo and in vitro studies indicate that RRF releases ribosomes from mRNA at the termination codon of u-ORF. Furthermore, the non-dissociable ribosomes read downstream from AUG of UAAUG with RRF in vitro. This suggests that complete ribosomal splitting is not required for ribosome release by RRF in translational coupling. The data are consistent with the interpretation that RRF functions mostly as a ribosome releasing factor rather than ribosome splitting factor. Additionally, the in vivo studies showed that short (less than 5 codons) u-ORF inhibited d-ORF reading by ribosomes finishing u-ORF reading, suggesting that the termination process in short ORF is not similar to that in normal ORF. This means that all the preexisting studies on RRF with short mRNA may not represent what goes on in natural termination step.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

journal.pone.0282091.s001.pdf (117 kB)
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