Protein synthesis in cells has been thoroughly investigated and characterized over the past 60 years. However, some fundamental issues remain unresolved, including the reasons for genetic code redundancy and codon bias. In this study, we changed the kinetics of the Eschrichia coli transcription and translation processes by mutating the promoter and ribosome binding domains and by using genetic code expansion. The results expose a counterintuitive phenomenon, whereby an increase in the initiation rates of transcription and translation lead to a decrease in protein expression. This effect can be rescued by introducing slow translating codons into the beginning of the gene, by shortening gene length or by reducing initiation rates. On the basis of the results, we developed a biophysical model, which suggests that the density of co-transcriptional-translation plays a role in bacterial protein synthesis. These findings indicate how cells use codon bias to tune translation speed and protein synthesis.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.
- codon bias
- genetic code expansion
- protein translation initiation
- rates of translation
- transcription initiation