Different pattern of codon recognition by mammalian mitochondrial tRNAs

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Jun;77(6):3164-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.77.6.3164.


Analysis of an almost complete mammalian mitochondrial DNA sequence has identified 23 possible tRNA genes and we speculate here that these are sufficient to translate all the codons of the mitochondrial genetic code. This number is much smaller than the minimum of 31 required by the wobble hypothesis. For each of the eight genetic code boxes with four codons for one amino acid we find a single specific tRNA gene with T in the first (wobble) position of the anticodon. We suggest that these tRNAs with U in the wobble position can recognize all four codons in these genetic code boxes either by a "two out of three" base interaction or by U.N wobble.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticodon / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cattle
  • Codon / genetics*
  • Computers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genetic Code*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mitochondria
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics*
  • Uridine / analogs & derivatives


  • Anticodon
  • Codon
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Transfer
  • Uridine