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.

National Centre for Biological Sciences

Related Stress Articles from Brightsurf:

Stress-free gel
Researchers at The University of Tokyo studied a new mechanism of gelation using colloidal particles.

Early life stress is associated with youth-onset depression for some types of stress but not others
Examining the association between eight different types of early life stress (ELS) and youth-onset depression, a study in JAACAP, published by Elsevier, reports that individuals exposed to ELS were more likely to develop a major depressive disorder (MDD) in childhood or adolescence than individuals who had not been exposed to ELS.

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.

Read More: Stress News and Stress Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to