March 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 5)


Strong Points: Good coverage of topic
Weak Points: Too little information about tmRNA

tmRNAs are bacterial molecules that have been described as a cross between tRNAs and mRNAs. They are implicated in the unusual process of trans-translation, which involves ribosomal switching between translation of a truncated mRNA and the tmRNA that invades it when translation is blocked. The resulting polypeptide gains a few amino acids from the tmRNA that targets it for destruction. Trans-translation probably plays a role in keeping ribosomes functioning and preventing the accumulation of undesired translation products. The tmRDB database provides access to sequence information about the tmRNAs known across the bacterial kingdom, as well as sequences of proteins associated with tmRNAs. The list of the former is extensive, indicating the importance of these molecules for bacterial survival. Structures, models, and links round out the site. My only complaint is the site’s limited description of tmRNAs.

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