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Conserved Upstream Open Reading Frame Nascent Peptides That Control Translation

Thomas E. Dever, Ivaylo P. Ivanov, Matthew S. Sachs
Published: 23 November 2020
Annual Review of Genetics , Volume 54, pp 237-264; doi:10.1146/annurev-genet-112618-043822

Abstract: Cells utilize transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms to alter gene expression in response to environmental cues. Gene-specific controls, including changing the translation of specific messenger RNAs (mRNAs), provide a rapid means to respond precisely to different conditions. Upstream open reading frames (uORFs) are known to control the translation of mRNAs. Recent studies in bacteria and eukaryotes have revealed the functions of evolutionarily conserved uORF-encoded peptides. Some of these uORF-encoded nascent peptides enable responses to specific metabolites to modulate the translation of their mRNAs by stalling ribosomes and through ribosome stalling may also modulate the level of their mRNAs. In this review, we highlight several examples of conserved uORF nascent peptides that stall ribosomes to regulate gene expression in response to specific metabolites in bacteria, fungi, mammals, and plants.
Keywords: gene expression / Translation / functions / uORF / Stalling / conserved / Nascent Peptides / Stall Ribosomes / Expression in Response

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