Yeast as a Sensor of Factors Affecting the Accuracy of Protein Synthesis

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Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

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The cell monitors and maintains the fidelity of translation during the three stages of protein synthesis: initiation, elongation and termination. Errors can arise by multiple mechanisms, such as altered start site selection, reading frame shifts, misincorporation or nonsense codon suppression. All of these events produce incorrect protein products. Translational accuracy is affected by both cis- and trans-acting elements that insure the proper peptide is synthesized by the protein synthetic machinery. Many cellular components are involved in the accuracy of translation, including RNAs (transfer RNAs, messenger RNAs and ribosomal RNAs) and proteins (ribosomal proteins and translation factors). The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has proven an ideal system to study translational fidelity by integrating genetic approaches with biochemical analysis. This review focuses on the ways studies in yeast have contributed to our understanding of the roles translation factors and the ribosome play in assuring the accuracy of protein synthesis.