Cell mechanism regulating protein synthesis in stress conditions discovered
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IMAGE: this is Marc Torrent at the UAB. view more 

Credit: UAB

The different genes within the genome must be expressed in precise levels and in the exact moment if the complex balance regulating cell activity is to be maintained. The messenger RNA (mRNA) conveys genetic information from DNA to ribosomes, where proteins are synthesised through the union of amino acids. These amino acids are supplied by fragments of transfer RNA (tRNA), which decode the information contained within the mRNA codons (group of three bases sequencing each amino acid) in order to chain them correctly and synthesise each protein.

The study headed by researchers Marc Torrent from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Madan Babu from the Medical Research Council Cambridge, United Kingdom, for the first time describes the mechanism used by cells to optimise the production of proteins in stressful situations by altering tRNA abundance.

The research, conducted with Saccharomyces cerevisae yeast, suggests that the mRNAs coded by proteins needed in times of stress prefer a different set of codons. This is correlated to the changes produced in the relative abundance of the different tRNAs.

These observations suggest that the

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