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Is there proofreading during polypeptide synthesis?

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  • Research Article


The stoichiometric efficiency with which ternary complexes containing Phe-tRNAphe and Leu-tRNAleu support polypeptide synthesis has been compared in a poly(U)-directed, steady-state translation system. When unfractionated tRNA is used to support synthesis, the number of discharged ternary complexes per peptide bond formed is an average of 48 times greater for leucine than for phenylalanine. When three purified leucine isoacceptor species are tested, they each show a characteristic ratio of ternary complexes discharged per missense insertion, normalized to that for phenylalanine: these are 103, 76, and 45 for Leu- tRNA2leu , Leu- tRNA3leu , and Leu- tRNA4leu , respectively. The data are consistent with the functioning of a proofreading mechanism during translation.

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