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Hungry Codons Promote Frameshifting in Human Mitochondrial Ribosomes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Temperley, Ricarda Richter, Sven Dennerlein, Professor Robert Lightowlers, Professor Zofia Chrzanowska-LightowlersORCiD



Human mitochondria are not strict adherents to the universal genetic code, with modifications that include the apparent recoding of two arginine triplets to termination signals. This use of both AGA and AGG occurs rarely in other mammals, and this putative change has long posed a challenging conundrum. A –1 mitoribosome frameshift upstream of the rare codons would necessitate recognition of only the conventional UAA and UAG termination codons. By using a sequence-specific endoribonuclease, we show that the rare arginine codons, presumably in association with other cis elements, promote frameshifting in human mitoribosomes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Temperley R, Richter R, Dennerlein S, Lightowlers RN, Chrzanowska-Lightowlers ZM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2010

Volume: 327

Issue: 5963

Pages: 301-301

Print publication date: 15/01/2010

Date deposited: 24/06/2010

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science


DOI: 10.1126/science.1180674


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Funder referenceFunder name
074454/Z/04/ZWellcome Trust
BB/F011520/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council