Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mechanical force releases nascent chain–mediated ribosome arrest in vitro and in vivo

Daniel H. Goldman, Christian M. Kaiser, Anthony Milin, Maurizio Righini, Ignacio Tinoco Jr., Carlos Bustamante

Protein synthesis rates can affect gene expression and the folding and activity of the translation product. Interactions between the nascent polypeptide and the ribosome exit tunnel represent one mode of regulating synthesis rates. The SecM protein arrests its own translation, and release of arrest at the translocon has been proposed to occur by mechanical force. Using optical tweezers, we demonstrate that arrest of SecM-stalled ribosomes can indeed be rescued by force alone and that the force needed to release stalling can be generated in vivo by a nascent chain folding near the ribosome tunnel exit. We formulate a kinetic model describing how a protein can regulate its own synthesis by the force generated during folding, tuning ribosome activity to structure acquisition by a nascent polypeptide.

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