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Stop-Stall Mechanism May Limit Number of Proteins Synthesized from mRNA

06:11 EST 5 Feb 2018 | Genetic Engineering News

A messenger RNA (mRNA) does more than provide ribosomes a template for creating a sequence of amino acids. It also conveys regulatory information, including so-called stop codons. But just as cars sometimes drive through stop signals on the road, ribosomes sometimes “read through” an mRNA’s stop codon, staying attached to the mRNA even though they have strayed into the mRNA’s 3′ noncoding region. Missing a stop may sound like pure dysfunction, but it may, according to an international team of scientists, be part of a previously unknown regulatory mechanism. A molecular biologist from Lomonosov Moscow State University together with foreign colleagues discovered a stop-stall mechanism that they call a "molecular timer." It appears to control the number of protein molecules produced by a cell and prevents the generation of extra molecules. When activated with drugs, such a timer may help combat cancerous tumors. The amount of time ...

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