The protein antizyme is a negative regulator of intracellular polyamine levels. Ribosomes synthesizing antizyme start in one ORF and at the codon 5' adjacent to its stop codon, shift +1 to a second and partially overlapping ORF which encodes most of the protein. The ribosomal frameshifting is a sensor and effector of an autoregulatory circuit which is conserved in animals, fungi and protists. Stimulatory signals encoded 5' and 3' of the shift site act to program the frameshifting. Despite overall conservation, many individual branches have evolved specific features surrounding the frameshift site. Among these are RNA pseudoknots, RNA stem-loops, conserved primary RNA sequences, nascent peptide sequences and branch-specific 'shifty' codons.