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Physiological roles of recoding

Initially restricted to virus, recoding events are now identified in all the kingdoms of life. In a few cases the biological function of readthrough has been investigated, although in many cases it remains unfortunately totally mysterious.

- In prokaryotes, the most common programmed readthrough event corresponds to the insertion of the non-standard amino acid selenocysteine at the UGA codon.

- In archae it is though that pyrrolysine is co-translationaly incorporated at UAG codon using a PYLIS structure.

- In eukaryotes, apart from selenocysteine insertion, stop codon readthrough has been described in yeast and drosophila.

We are especially interested to better characterize physiological function of recoding. To this aim we developed a genomic approach to screen several genomes from bacteria, to yeast and mammals.

Interestingly we have identified an unanticipated link between programmed frameshifting and the yeast prion [PSI+], which highlights the importance of recoding to control several physiological functions.