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Science 301 (5630): 211-213

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tandem Transcription and Translation Regulatory Sensing of Uncharged Tryptophan tRNA

Guangnan Chen, and Charles Yanofsky*

Abstract: The Bacillus subtilis AT (anti-TRAP) protein inhibits the regulatory protein TRAP (trp RNA-binding attenuation protein), thereby eliminating transcription termination in the leader region of the trp operon. Transcription of the AT operon is activated by uncharged tryptophan transfer RNA (tRNATrp). Here we show that translation of AT also is regulated by uncharged tRNATrp. A 10-residue coding region containing three consecutive tryptophan codons is located immediately preceding the AT structural gene. Completion of translation of this coding region inhibits AT synthesis, whereas incomplete translation increases AT production. Tandem sensing of uncharged tRNATrp therefore regulates synthesis of AT, which in turn regulates TRAP's ability to inhibit trp operon expression.

Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: yanofsky{at}

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