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Transcription–translation coupling: Recent advances and future perspectives

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jason WoodgateORCiD, Professor Nikolay ZenkinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.The flow of genetic information from the chromosome to protein in all living organisms consists of two steps: (1) copying information coded in DNA into an mRNA intermediate via transcription by RNA polymerase, followed by (2) translation of this mRNA into a polypeptide by the ribosome. Unlike eukaryotes, where transcription and translation are separated by a nuclear envelope, in bacterial cells, these two processes occur within the same compartment. This means that a pioneering ribosome starts translation on nascent mRNA that is still being actively transcribed by RNA polymerase. This tethering via mRNA is referred to as ‘coupling’ of transcription and translation (CTT). CTT raises many questions regarding physical interactions and potential mutual regulation between these large (ribosome is ~2.5 MDa and RNA polymerase is 0.5 MDa) and powerful molecular machines. Accordingly, we will discuss some recently discovered structural and functional aspects of CTT.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Woodgate J, Zenkin N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Microbiology

Year: 2023

Volume: 120

Issue: 4

Pages: 539-546

Print publication date: 01/10/2023

Online publication date: 15/05/2023

Acceptance date: 05/05/2023

Date deposited: 01/06/2023

ISSN (print): 0950-382X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2958

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1111/mmi.15076


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Funder referenceFunder name
217189/Z/19/ZWellcome Trust
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council