Nav: Home

Found in mistranslation

March 25, 2020

Nobody likes to make mistakes, because they usually cause trouble. But what if a mistake sometimes makes things better than before? If so, it may make sense not to aim for perfection. Just like we navigate from one language to another through translation, cells routinely translate from a primary language (encoded by sequences of DNA) into a second language (encoded by sequences of proteins). Bacteria do not always make a protein whose sequence is exactly as specified in the gene; invariably, there are a number of mistakes.

Scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, have found that such mistakes in protein synthesis ("mistranslation") can be beneficial under stress in E. coli. Proteins are key biomolecules, and any mistake in their sequence generally changes their structure and function, and harms cellular functioning. Given this, the high rate of errors in protein synthesis observed across living cells has been a puzzle. Older work had shown that specific sequence changes in certain proteins can generate 'super proteins' that are advantageous under certain stresses. However, cellular mistranslation is not directed at specific proteins; so why are mistakes in overall protein synthesis so common?

The new study finds a general advantage of mistranslation. More mistranslated proteins lead to an increase in the levels of a key quality control molecule (called Lon protease), which in turn brings cells closer to the threshold for activating a DNA repair response (the SOS response). This advance guard now sets mistranslating cells on high alert, conferring higher early survival without mutations, and consequently higher mutational resistance on encountering DNA damage. The authors speculate that such occasional but general benefits of errors in protein synthesis - leading to a quick stress response - could be one reason why a high rate of mistranslation persists in nature.
-end-


National Centre for Biological Sciences

Related Stress Articles:

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.
How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.
Stress in the powerhouse of the cell
University of Freiburg researchers discover a new principle -- how cells protect themselves from mitochondrial defects.
Measuring stress around cells
Tissues and organs in the human body are shaped through forces generated by cells, that push and pull, to ''sculpt'' biological structures.
Cellular stress at the movies
For the first time, biological imaging experts have used a custom fluorescence microscope and a novel antibody tagging tool to watch living cells undergoing stress.
Maternal stress at conception linked to children's stress response at age 11
A new study published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease finds that mothers' stress levels at the moment they conceive their children are linked to the way children respond to life challenges at age 11.
A new way to see stress -- using supercomputers
Supercomputer simulations show that at the atomic level, material stress doesn't behave symmetrically.
Beware of evening stress
Stressful events in the evening release less of the body's stress hormones than those that happen in the morning, suggesting possible vulnerability to stress in the evening.
How plants cope with stress
With climate change comes drought, and with drought comes higher salt concentrations in the soil.
Gene which decreases risk of social network-related stress, increases finance-related stress risk
Researchers have discovered that the same gene which increases your risk of depression following financial stress as you grow older also reduces your chance of depression associated with friendship and relationships stresses when young- your social network.
More Stress News and Stress Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.