Slip of grip of a molecular motor on a crowded track: Modeling shift of reading frame of ribosome on RNA template
1 Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology - Kanpur 208016, India
2 Institute of Complex Systems II, Forschungszentrum Jülich - 52425 Jülich, Germany
Received: 11 May 2016
Accepted: 6 July 2016
We develop a stochastic model for the programmed frameshift of ribosomes synthesizing a protein while moving along a mRNA template. Normally the reading frame of a ribosome decodes successive triplets of nucleotides on the mRNA in a step-by-step manner. We focus on the programmed shift of the ribosomal reading frame, forward or backward, by only one nucleotide which results in a fusion protein; it occurs when a ribosome temporarily loses its grip to its mRNA track. Special “slippery” sequences of nucleotides and also downstream secondary structures of the mRNA strand are believed to play key roles in programmed frameshift. Here we explore the role of an hitherto neglected parameter in regulating −1 programmed frameshift. Specifically, we demonstrate that the frameshift frequency can be strongly regulated also by the density of the ribosomes, all of which are engaged in simultaneous translation of the same mRNA, at and around the slippery sequence. Monte Carlo simulations support the analytical predictions obtained from a mean-field analysis of the stochastic dynamics.
PACS: 87.16.-b – Subcellular structure and processes / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 05.70.Ln – Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics
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