BACKGROUND: Evidence in diverse organisms suggests that codon optimality is a major determinant of mRNA translation and degradation. Codon optimality is thought to act by modulating the efficiency of ribosome elongation. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a recent study has identified 17 adjacent codon pairs that mediate strong inhibition of translation elongation. However, relationships between the inhibitory codon pairs and other aspects of gene expression are unknown.
RESULTS: To gain insights into how the inhibitory codon pairs may affect aspects of gene expression, we utilized existing datasets to conduct genome-scale analyses in S. cerevisiae. Our analysis revealed the following points. First, the inhibitory codon pairs are significantly associated with faster mRNA decay. The association is not solely due to the content of nucleotides, individual codons, or dipeptides encoded by the inhibitory codon pairs. Second, the inhibitory codon pairs cannot fully explain the previously known relationship of codon optimality with mRNA stability, suggesting that optimality of individual codons and properties of adjacent codon pairs both contribute to gene regulation. Finally, although the inhibitory codon pairs are associated with slower mRNA synthesis and protein instability, the associations can be attributed to usage bias in individual codons.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests an association of inhibitory codon pairs with mRNA stability and thus another layer of complexity in the codon-mediated gene regulation.
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Harigaya, Yuriko and Parker, Roy, "The link between adjacent codon pairs and mRNA stability." (2017). Chemistry & Biochemistry Faculty Contributions. 116.