Ribosome profiling in archaea reveals leaderless translation, novel translational initiation sites, and ribosome pausing at single codon resolution

Diego Rivera Gelsinger, Emma Dallon, Rahul Reddy, Fuad Mohammad, Allen R Buskirk, and Jocelyne DiRuggiero

Nucleic Acids Res (2020), doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa304

Gelsinger et al. developed ribosome profiling for a member of the Archaea and elucidated the translational landscape, for the first time, in the third domain of life. They determined the major ribosome footprint of Archaea to be comparable in size to that of Eukarya and captured high-resolution periodicity and reading frame in sequenced footprints. Ribosome activity was manipulated with translation inhibitors to reveal ribosome pausing at specific codons. Footprint lengths were assigned to stages of translation in a primarily leaderless transcriptome. Lastly, the drug harringtonine arrested ribosomes at initiation sites on genes. This unveiled potential protein-coding variants such as those that are extremely small or that are within known genes. Ribosome profiling revealed an uncharacterized complexity of translation in the Archaea and has the potential to uncover novel translation mechanisms.

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