Research ArticleStress responses

Cells alter their tRNA abundance to selectively regulate protein synthesis during stress conditions

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Science Signaling  04 Sep 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 546, eaat6409
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aat6409

The right proteins at the right time

Cells must tailor protein synthesis so that proteins that enable growth and proliferation and those that enable adaptation under stressful conditions are produced at the appropriate times. Torrent et al. (see also the Focus by Pechmann) noted that yeast genes encoding proteins involved in growth and proliferation used common codons, whereas those encoding stress response proteins tended to use rare codons. Furthermore, the authors found that stress skewed the tRNA pool toward those tRNAs that recognized rare codons and that stress proteins were translated faster than those involved in growth and proliferation. Thus, codon usage and adjustments to the tRNA pool serve as an important layer of regulation to ensure that cells produce proteins appropriate to the conditions that they are experiencing.

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