1932

Abstract

Protein synthesis by the ribosome is the final stage of biological information transfer and represents an irreversible commitment to gene expression. Accurate translation of messenger RNA is therefore essential to all life, and spontaneous errors by the translational machinery are highly infrequent (∼1/100,000 codons). Programmed −1 ribosomal frameshifting (−1PRF) is a mechanism in which the elongating ribosome is induced at high frequency to slip backward by one nucleotide at a defined position and to continue translation in the new reading frame. This is exploited as a translational regulation strategy by hundreds of RNA viruses, which rely on −1PRF during genome translation to control the stoichiometry of viral proteins. While early investigations of −1PRF focused on virological and biochemical aspects, the application of X-ray crystallography and cryo–electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and the advent of deep sequencing and single-molecule approaches have revealed unexpected structural diversity and mechanistic complexity. Molecular players from several model systems have now been characterized in detail, both in isolation and, more recently, in the context of the elongating ribosome. Here we provide a summary of recent advances and discuss to what extent a general model for −1PRF remains a useful way of thinking.

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2023-09-29
2024-07-15
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