Institute of Human Genetics; Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Capecchi, Mario R.;
Hughes, Stephen H.; Wahl, Geoffrey M.;
Yeast super-suppressors are altered tRNAs capable of translating a nonsense codon in vitro.
tRNA isolated from two different yeast super-suppressor strains translates a known nonsense mutation in vitro, whereas tRNA from a closely related nonsuppressing strain does not. Suppression was assayed by translation of RNA isolated from an amber coat mutant of bacteriophage Qbeta (GB11) in a protein-synthesizing system derived from mouse tissue culture cells (L cells). Suppressed forms of Qbeta coat protein synthesized in vitro were quantitatively detected by a specific immunoprecipitation assay. The L-cell protein-synthesizing system also responds to E. coli suppressor tRNA. This indicates that the biochemical mechanism for nonsense suppression is very similar in yeast and E. coli. These findings also provide additional evidence that the amber codon (UAG) functions as one of the mammalian chain-terminating codons. Since the suppression assay utilizes protein-synthesizing components isolated from mammalian cells, it should prove useful in the search for mammalian nonsense suppressors