Chimeric Translation for Mitochondrial Peptides: Regular and Expanded Codons

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2019 Aug 23;17:1195-1202. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2019.08.006. eCollection 2019.


Frameshifting protein translation occasionally results from insertion of amino acids at isolated mono- or dinucleotide-expanded codons by tRNAs with expanded anticodons. Previous analyses of two different types of human mitochondrial MS proteomic data (Fisher and Waters technologies) detect peptides entirely corresponding to expanded codon translation. Here, these proteomic data are reanalyzed searching for peptides consisting of at least eight consecutive amino acids translated according to regular tricodons, and at least eight adjacent consecutive amino acids translated according to expanded codons. Both datasets include chimerically translated peptides (mono- and dinucleotide expansions, 42 and 37, respectively). The regular tricodon-encoded part of some chimeric peptides corresponds to standard human mitochondrial proteins (mono- and dinucleotide expansions, six (AT6, CytB, ND1, 2xND2, ND5) and one (ND1), respectively). Chimeric translation probably increases the diversity of mitogenome-encoded proteins, putatively producing functional proteins. These might result from translation by tRNAs with expanded anticodons, or from regular tricodon translation of RNAs where transcription/posttranscriptional edition systematically deleted mono- or dinucleotides after each trinucleotide. The pairwise matched combination of adjacent peptide parts translated from regular and expanded codons strengthens the hypothesis that translation of stretches of consecutive expanded codons occurs. Results indicate statistical translation producing distributions of alternative proteins. Genetic engineering should account for potential unexpected, unwanted secondary products.

Keywords: Non-canonical transcription; Non-canonical translation; RNA editing; delRNAs; tRNA hopping.