Author(s): Feagin JE, Shaw JM, Simpson L, Stuart K
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The cytochrome b gene of Trypanosoma brucei has an ATG codon near its 5' end but the cytochrome b genes of the related kinetoplastids Leishmania tarentolae and Crithidia fasciculata lack an ATG. Recent results have shown that 34 uridines that are not encoded in the genome are added within the 5' end of T. brucei cytochrome b transcripts during or after transcription. These additions create an AUG in the transcript that is 20 amino acids upstream of the AUG predicted from the genomic sequence. We report here that the cytochrome b transcripts of L. tarentolae and C. fasciculata also contain added uridines within their 5' ends. The additions occur in similar numbers and positions and an in frame AUG is created at a similar site in all three species. These data strongly suggest that the created AUG functions as the initiation codon for cytochrome b in these species. Since some other kinetoplastid mitochondrial genes also lack conventional initiation codons, creation of initiation codons may be an important function of uridine addition.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access