The imprint of codons on protein structure.

06:00 EDT 14th May 2011 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "The imprint of codons on protein structure."

The "central dogma" of biology outlines the unidirectional flow of interpretable data from genetic sequence to protein sequence. This has led to the idea that a protein's structure is dependent only on its amino acid sequence and not its genetic sequence. Recently, however, a more than transient link between the coding genetic sequence and the protein structure has become apparent. The two interact at the ribosome via the process of co-translational protein folding. Evidence for co-translational folding is growing rapidly, but the influence of codons on the protein structure attained is still highly contentious. It is theorised that the speed of codon translation modulates the time available for protein folding and hence the protein structure. Here, past and present research regarding synonymous codons and codon translation speed are reviewed within the context of protein structure attainment.


Department of Statistics, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Biotechnology journal
ISSN: 1860-7314


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A set of three nucleotides in a protein coding sequence that specifies individual amino acids or a termination signal (CODON, TERMINATOR). Most codons are universal, but some organisms do not produce the transfer RNAs (RNA, TRANSFER) complementary to all codons. These codons are referred to as unassigned codons (CODONS, NONSENSE).

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The level of protein structure in which combinations of secondary protein structures (alpha helices, beta sheets, loop regions, and motifs) pack together to form folded shapes called domains. Disulfide bridges between cysteines in two different parts of the polypeptide chain along with other interactions between the chains play a role in the formation and stabilization of tertiary structure. Small proteins usually consist of only one domain but larger proteins may contain a number of domains connected by segments of polypeptide chain which lack regular secondary structure.

The level of protein structure in which regular hydrogen-bond interactions within contiguous stretches of polypeptide chain give rise to alpha helices, beta strands (which align to form beta sheets) or other types of coils. This is the first folding level of protein conformation.

The characteristic 3-dimensional shape of a protein, including the secondary, supersecondary (motifs), tertiary (domains) and quaternary structure of the peptide chain. PROTEIN STRUCTURE, QUATERNARY describes the conformation assumed by multimeric proteins (aggregates of more than one polypeptide chain).

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