Protein Structure and the Sequential Structure of mRNA: Alpha-Helix and Beta-Sheet Signals at the Nucleotide Level

Søren Brunak, Jacob Engelbrecht

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    A direct comparison of experimentally determined protein structures and their corresponding protein coding mRNA sequences has been performed, We examine whether real world data support the hypothesis that clusters of rare codons correlate with the location of structural units in the resulting protein, The degeneracy of the genetic code allows for a biased selection of codons which may control the translational rate of the ribosome, and may thus in vivo have a catalyzing effect on the folding of the polypeptide chain, A complete search for GenBank nucleotide sequences coding for structural entries in the Brookhaven Protein Data Bank produced 719 protein chains with matching mRNA sequence, amino acid sequence, and secondary structure assignment, By neural network analysis, we found strong signals in mRNA sequence regions surrounding helices and sheets, These signals do not originate from the clustering of rare codons, but from the similarity of codons coding for very abundant amino acid residues at the N- and C-termini of helices and sheets, No correlation between the positioning of rare codons and the location of structural units was found, The mRNA signals were also compared with conserved nucleotide features of 16S-like ribosomal RNA sequences and related to mechanisms for maintaining the correct reading frame by the ribosome. (C) 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics
    Pages (from-to)237-252
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

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