start codons other than ATG

Paul Digard pd1 at
Wed Aug 27 14:10:48 EST 1997

Amalia Gomez Serrano wrote:
> Is the occurrence of other start codons different from ATG, i.e. GTG,TTG
> or CTG linked to any specific factor?
> is it species, genra- linked?
> has anybody any knowledge on this subject, or any reference i could look
> up?
> Thanks in advance
> amalia


I presume you mean in eukaryotes?  If so, try the following ref;

Kozak, M (1989). Context effects and inefficient initiation at non-AUG
codons in eucaryotic cell free systems.  Mol. Cell Biol. 9, 5073-5080.

Also, I _think_ (I can't find my copy, and it was 10 yrs ago..) the next
reference describes  such an instance in a real gene. 

Hassin, D., Korn, R., and Horwitz, M.S. (1987). A Major Internal
Initiation Site for the in Vitro Translation of the Adenovirus DNA
Polymerase. Virology 155, 214-22.

Anyway, the above are in retic lysate, so I'm not sure quite how
relevant they are to real life. Kozak's article has more refs for in
vivo stuff though.

I've also heard it proposed more recently that the HSV TK gene uses a
non AUG codon to intiate one of the three species found in infected
cells, but I don't have any references for that.

Hope this is useful, but I'm sure there's much more up to date info just
waiting to be found in a literature search!





Dr Paul Digard
Division of Virology                    Tel 01223 336921
Department of Pathology                 Fax 01223 336926
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road
Cambridge CB2 1QB

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