Upstream open-reading frames are unusual in mammalian mRNAs. The 5′ untranslated region of ADH5 mRNA contains an upstream open-reading frame (uORF) with two possible AUG start codons. Myf6 mRNA contains three tandem AUG repeats at the translation start site, a rare feature. Mutation at one or both of the upstream AUG codons in the ADH5 mRNA increased gene expression twofold in CV-1, NIH/3T3, HeLa, and SL2 cells. Mutation of these AUG codons led to 3- to 5-fold increases in activity as measured by in vitro translation assays using capped mRNAs. RNA toeprint analysis demonstrated many stalled ribosomes flanking the AUG codons and secondary structures near the AUGs. Secondary structures may increase the ability of ribosomes to recognize the two AUGs, despite their poor initiation context. The degree of repression by uAUGs varied significantly depending on the cell lines tested, which may partly explain the differential tissue expression. Myf6 is a critical myogenic transcription factor with the striking feature of three tandem AUG codons at the translation initiation site. This structure reduced expression; removing two of these AUGs led to a doubling of activity in CV-1, HeLa, and NIH/3T3 cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology