Protein synthesis is a fundamental and ultimate process in living cells. Cells possess sophisticated machineries and continuously carry out complex processes. Monitoring protein synthesis in living cells not only inform us about the mechanism of translation but also deepen our insights about all aspects of life. Understanding the structure and mechanism of the ribosome and its associated factors helped us enlarge our knowledge on protein synthesis. Recently, with the dramatic advances of high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics, a new technique called ribosome profiling emerged. By retrieving mRNA fragments protected by translating ribosomes, ribosome profiling reveals global ribosome occupancy along mRNAs in living cells, which can inform us with the identity and quantity of proteins being made. Easily adapted to other organisms, ribosome profiling technique is expanding its application in revealing various cellular activities as well as the knowledge on protein synthesis. Here, we report the mechanism of translating mRNA cleavage by endoribonuclease RelE in vivo. RelE is an endoribonuclease that is induced during nutrient deficiency stress and specifically cleaves translating mRNAs upon binding to the ribosomal A site. Overexpression of RelE in living cells causes growth arrest by inhibiting global translation. We monitored RelE activity in vivo upon overexpression using ribosome profiling. The data show that RelE actively cuts translating mRNAs whenever the ribosomal A site is accessible, resulting in truncated mRNAs. RelE causes the ribosome complexes to accumulate near the 5' end of genes as the process of ribosome rescue, translation, and cleavage by RelE repeats. RelE cleavage specific sub-codon level ribosome profiling data also represent reading frame in Escherichia coli and sequence specificity of RelE cleavage in vivo. We report another ribosome profiling study on a methyltransferase TrmD in E. coli. TrmD is known to methylate G37 (the residue at 3' side of anticodon) of some tRNAs and be responsible for codon-anticodon interaction. We constructed a TrmD depletion E. coli strain, whose deletion results in lethality of cells. Resulting depletion of m1G37 in the strain leads to growth arrest. Lack of m1G37 of some tRNAs whose codons start with C showed frequent frameshift when translating the gene message in vitro. By using ribosome profiling, we successfully observed significant difference on translation process when codons interact with anticodons of tRNAs lacking m1G37. The data reveal slow translation rate or pauses on the tRNAs when missing the appropriate methylation, which corresponds to the previous biochemical data in vitro.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





RelE, endoribonuclease, TrmD, methyltransferase, ribosome profiling, m1G37



Included in

Chemistry Commons