EF-G–induced ribosome sliding along the noncoding mRNA

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Science Advances  05 Jun 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 6, eaaw9049
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw9049


Translational bypassing is a recoding event during which ribosomes slide over a noncoding region of the messenger RNA (mRNA) to synthesize one protein from two discontinuous reading frames. Structures in the mRNA orchestrate forward movement of the ribosome, but what causes ribosomes to start sliding remains unclear. Here, we show that elongation factor G (EF-G) triggers ribosome take-off by a pseudotranslocation event using a small mRNA stem-loop as an A-site transfer RNA mimic and requires hydrolysis of about two molecules of guanosine 5′-triphosphate per nucleotide of the noncoding gap. Bypassing ribosomes adopt a hyper-rotated conformation, also observed with ribosomes stalled by the SecM sequence, suggesting common ribosome dynamics during translation stalling. Our results demonstrate a new function of EF-G in promoting ribosome sliding along the mRNA, in contrast to codon-wise ribosome movement during canonical translation, and suggest a mechanism by which ribosomes could traverse untranslated parts of mRNAs.

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