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Codon usage frequency influences protein structure and function. The frequency with which codons are used potentially impacts primary, secondary and tertiary protein structure. Poor expression, loss of function, insolubility, or truncation can result from species-specific differences in codon usage. "Codon harmonization" more closely aligns native codon usage frequencies with those of the expression host particularly within putative inter-domain segments where slower rates of translation may play a role in protein folding. Heterologous expression of Plasmodium falciparum genes in Escherichia coli has been a challenge due to their AT-rich codon bias and the highly repetitive DNA sequences. Here, codon harmonization was applied to the malarial antigen, CelTOS (Cell-traversal protein for ookinetes and sporozoites). CelTOS is a highly conserved P. falciparum protein involved in cellular traversal through mosquito and vertebrate host cells. It reversibly refolds after thermal denaturation making it a desirable malarial vaccine candidate. Protein expressed in E. coli from a codon harmonized sequence of P. falciparum CelTOS (CH-PfCelTOS) was compared with protein expressed from the native codon sequence (N-PfCelTOS) to assess the impact of codon usage on protein expression levels, solubility, yield, stability, structural integrity, recognition with CelTOS-specific mAbs and immunogenicity in mice. While the translated proteins were expected to be identical, the translated products produced from the codon-harmonized sequence differed in helical content and showed a smaller distribution of polypeptides in mass spectra indicating lower heterogeneity of the codon harmonized version and fewer amino acid misincorporations. Substitutions of hydrophobic-to-hydrophobic amino acid were observed more commonly than any other. CH-PfCelTOS induced significantly higher antibody levels compared with N-PfCelTOS; however, no significant differences in either IFN-γ or IL-4 cellular responses were detected between the two antigens.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: AMB Express
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An amino acid-specifying codon that has been converted to a stop codon (CODON, TERMINATOR) by mutation. Its occurance is abnormal causing premature termination of protein translation and results in production of truncated and non-functional proteins. A nonsense mutation is one that converts an amino acid-specific codon to a stop codon.
A process of GENETIC TRANSLATION whereby the last amino acid is added to a lengthening polypeptide. This termination is signaled from the MESSENGER RNA, by one of three termination codons (CODON, TERMINATOR) that immediately follows the last amino acid-specifying CODON.
A sequence of successive nucleotide triplets that are read as CODONS specifying AMINO ACIDS and begin with an INITIATOR CODON and end with a stop codon (CODON, TERMINATOR).
A naturally occurring amino acid in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. It is found in tRNAs and in the catalytic site of some enzymes. The genes for glutathione peroxidase and formate dehydrogenase contain the TGA codon, which codes for this amino acid.
Any codon that signals the termination of genetic translation (TRANSLATION, GENETIC). PEPTIDE TERMINATION FACTORS bind to the stop codon and trigger the hydrolysis of the aminoacyl bond connecting the completed polypeptide to the tRNA. Terminator codons do not specify amino acids.
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