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:

Red light for stress
Researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo have created a biphasic luminescent material that changes color when exposed to mechanical stress.
How do our cells respond to stress?
Molecular biologists reverse-engineer a complex cellular structure that is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS
How stress remodels the brain
Stress restructures the brain by halting the production of crucial ion channel proteins, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.
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.
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

Listen Again: The Biology Of Sex
Original broadcast date: May 8, 2020. Many of us were taught biological sex is a question of female or male, XX or XY ... but it's far more complicated. This hour, TED speakers explore what determines our sex. Guests on the show include artist Emily Quinn, journalist Molly Webster, neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi, and structural biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Wubi Effect
When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huweai and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China's technological renaissance almost didn't happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn't fit on a keyboard.  Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with reporting assistance from Yang Yang. Special thanks to Martin Howard. You can view his renowned collection of typewriters at: antiquetypewriters.com Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.