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Abstract on Lost in Translation: How 'Risky' Amino Acids Abort Elongation in Protein Synthesis Original source 

Lost in Translation: How 'Risky' Amino Acids Abort Elongation in Protein Synthesis

Protein synthesis is a complex process that involves the translation of genetic information into functional proteins. This process is essential for the proper functioning of cells and organisms. However, errors can occur during protein synthesis, leading to the production of non-functional or even harmful proteins. One of the ways in which errors can occur is through the incorporation of 'risky' amino acids into the growing protein chain. In this article, we will explore how these 'risky' amino acids can abort elongation in protein synthesis.

The Basics of Protein Synthesis

Before we dive into the details of how 'risky' amino acids can affect protein synthesis, let's first review the basics of this process. Protein synthesis occurs in two main stages: transcription and translation. During transcription, the DNA sequence of a gene is copied into a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule. This mRNA molecule then travels to the ribosome, where it serves as a template for the synthesis of a protein.

During translation, the ribosome reads the mRNA sequence and uses it to assemble a chain of amino acids in the correct order. Each amino acid is brought to the ribosome by a transfer RNA (tRNA) molecule, which recognizes a specific three-letter sequence (codon) on the mRNA. The ribosome then catalyzes the formation of a peptide bond between the amino acids, elongating the protein chain.

'Risky' Amino Acids

While the genetic code is highly specific, there are some instances where the wrong amino acid can be incorporated into the growing protein chain. This can occur when a tRNA molecule recognizes the wrong codon on the mRNA, or when a non-standard amino acid is present in the cell.

Some amino acids are considered 'risky' because they have chemical properties that can interfere with protein synthesis. For example, proline and glycine are both highly rigid amino acids that can disrupt the folding of the protein chain. Similarly, cysteine contains a reactive sulfur atom that can form disulfide bonds with other cysteine residues, leading to the formation of incorrect protein structures.

The Role of Release Factors

When a 'risky' amino acid is incorporated into the growing protein chain, it can cause the ribosome to stall. This occurs because the ribosome recognizes that the amino acid is not compatible with the tRNA molecule that brought it to the ribosome. In response, the ribosome recruits a release factor, which catalyzes the hydrolysis of the peptide bond between the 'risky' amino acid and the preceding amino acid. This releases the incomplete protein chain from the ribosome and terminates protein synthesis.

Implications for Protein Function

The incorporation of 'risky' amino acids into a protein can have significant implications for its function. In some cases, the protein may be non-functional or even harmful. For example, mutations that introduce 'risky' amino acids into the hemoglobin protein can lead to sickle cell anemia, a genetic disorder that affects the shape and function of red blood cells.

Conclusion

In summary, the incorporation of 'risky' amino acids into the growing protein chain can lead to the termination of protein synthesis. This occurs when the ribosome recognizes that the amino acid is not compatible with the tRNA molecule that brought it to the ribosome. While this process serves as a quality control mechanism to prevent the production of non-functional or harmful proteins, it can also have significant implications for protein function. By understanding the role of 'risky' amino acids in protein synthesis, we can gain insights into the molecular basis of genetic disorders and other diseases.

FAQs

1. What are some examples of 'risky' amino acids?

- Proline, glycine, and cysteine are all considered 'risky' amino acids due to their chemical properties.

2. How does the ribosome recognize that a 'risky' amino acid has been incorporated into the growing protein chain?

- The ribosome recognizes that a 'risky' amino acid has been incorporated when the tRNA molecule that brought it to the ribosome is not compatible with the codon on the mRNA.

3. What are some implications of incorporating 'risky' amino acids into a protein?

- Incorporating 'risky' amino acids into a protein can lead to the production of non-functional or even harmful proteins. This can have significant implications for protein function and can contribute to the development of genetic disorders and other diseases.

 


This abstract is presented as an informational news item only and has not been reviewed by a medical professional. This abstract should not be considered medical advice. This abstract might have been generated by an artificial intelligence program. See TOS for details.

Most frequent words in this abstract:
protein (6), synthesis (4), acids (3), amino (3)