On Nature’s Strategy for Assigning Genetic Code Multiplicity
Simone Gardini, Sara Cheli, Silvia Baroni, Gabriele Di Lascio, Guido Mangiavacchi, Nicholas Micheletti, Carmen Luigia Monaco, Lorenzo Savini, Davide Alocci, Stefano Mangani, Neri Niccolai
Published: February 5, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0148174
Genetic code redundancy would yield, on the average, the assignment of three codons for each of the natural amino acids. The fact that this number is observed only for incorporating Ile and to stop RNA translation still waits for an overall explanation. Through a Structural Bioinformatics approach, the wealth of information stored in the Protein Data Bank has been used here to look for unambiguous clues to decipher the rationale of standard genetic code (SGC) in assigning from one to six different codons for amino acid translation. Leu and Arg, both protected from translational errors by six codons, offer the clearest clue by appearing as the most abundant amino acids in protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interfaces. Other SGC hidden messages have been sought by analyzing, in a protein structure framework, the roles of over- and under-protected amino acids.
Citation: Gardini S, Cheli S, Baroni S, Di Lascio G, Mangiavacchi G, Micheletti N, et al. (2016) On Nature’s Strategy for Assigning Genetic Code Multiplicity. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0148174. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148174
Editor: Denis Dupuy, Inserm U869, FRANCE
Received: October 7, 2015; Accepted: January 13, 2016; Published: February 5, 2016
Copyright: © 2016 Gardini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.
Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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