Research Topic

Microbial Regulation of Translation

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About this Research Topic

Since the description of the operon model by Jacob and Monod during the early 1960s, the concept that reading the genetic information must be regulated has been central to our understanding of biology. This is particularly true for microbes that can adapt to an incredible variety of environments. Based on the ...

Since the description of the operon model by Jacob and Monod during the early 1960s, the concept that reading the genetic information must be regulated has been central to our understanding of biology. This is particularly true for microbes that can adapt to an incredible variety of environments. Based on the research performed since the description of the operon, we have gained a deep understanding of the diverse strategies used by microbes to modulate transcription of the genetic information from DNA to RNA. In contrast, the mechanisms involved in the regulation of translation of messenger RNA to proteins has received less attention and is often absent in molecular biology courses.
During the last decade, new techniques have been developed and older techniques have been optimized. The speed of translation, RNA folding and RNA modifications can now be globally quantified in diverse conditions allowing us to scrutinize the functionality of translation components in vivo hence providing unprecedented opportunities to the field of translation regulation. So far, results show that translation can be regulated through a great variety of strategies. Some, such as riboswitches and sRNA depend on changes of the accessibility of the ribosome to its binding sites in mRNA. Others, such as those depending on hibernation factors or rRNA processing, depending on changes of the ribosome itself by either changing the amount of active ribosomes or by changing the type of mRNA that are bound by ribosomes and translated. While it is well established that translation is modulated at the level of initiation, recent data suggest that translation can also be regulated at the level of elongation. For example, an alteration of the speed of elongation can be induced by changes in tRNA modifications or by peptides that can induce translational pauses under specific conditions. Finally, changes in tRNA levels or aminoacylation were also shown to play a relevant role in translation elongation.
Given the great potential and the new opportunities that translation research is encountering nowadays to understand the regulation of microbial physiology, we propose “Microbial regulation of translation” as a Research Topic to discuss the current and central ideas of the field.


Keywords: Translation, Regulation of expression, Bacteria, Virus, Fungi


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