During translation, the biosynthesis of polypeptides is dynamically regulated. The translation rate along messenger RNA (mRNA), which is dependent on the codon, structure, and sequence, is not always constant. However, methods for measuring the duration required for polypeptide elongation on an mRNA of interest have not been developed. In this work, we used a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) technique to monitor mRNA translation in an Escherichia coli cell-free translation system in real time. This method permitted us to evaluate the translation of proteins of interest fused upstream of a streptavidin-binding peptide (SBP) fusion protein. The translation of mRNA encoding the SBP fusion protein alone was observed as a mass increase on a streptavidin-modified QCM plate. Addition of the protein of interest resulted in a delay in the mass change corresponding to the traveling time of the ribosome along the coding region of the protein of interest. With this technique, the lengths of coding sequences, codon usages, influences of unique sequences, and various protein-coding sequences were evaluated. The results showed that the traveling time of the translating ribosome depends on the length of the coding region translated but is also affected by the sequence itself. Differences in the time lags for various proteins imply that mRNA coding sequences may regulate gene expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry