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Thermodynamic and Kinetic Insights into Stop Codon Recognition by Release Factor 1


Stop codon recognition is a crucial event during translation termination and is performed by class I release factors (RF1 and RF2 in bacterial cells). Recent crystal structures showed that stop codon recognition is achieved mainly through a network of hydrogen bonds and stacking interactions between the stop codon and conserved residues in domain II of RF1/RF2. Additionally, previous studies suggested that recognition of stop codons is coupled to proper positioning of RF1 on the ribosome, which is essential for triggering peptide release. In this study we mutated four conserved residues in Escherichia coli RF1 (Gln185, Arg186, Thr190, and Thr198) that are proposed to be critical for discriminating stop codons from sense codons. Our thermodynamic and kinetic analysis of these RF1 mutants showed that the mutations inhibited the binding of RF1 to the ribosome. However, the mutations in RF1 did not affect the rate of peptide release, showing that imperfect recognition of the stop codon does not affect the proper positioning of RF1 on the ribosome.

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