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Translation Termination and Yeast Prions (Introductory Remarks of the Guest Editor of This Special Issue)

L. L. Kisselev

Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Vavilova 32, Moscow, 117984 Russia; fax: (095) 135-1405; E-mail: kissel@imb.ac.ru

Received July 10, 1999
Protein biosynthesis is the final step in the transfer of genetic information in the cell. In turn, its last step is the release of a nascent polypeptide from the ribosome. Therefore, termination of translation may be considered (if we do not take into account protein post-translational modification and folding) as a final step of the transition from genotype to phenotype through the classic DNA--RNA--protein pathway. In a narrow sense, termination of translation is the hydrolytic cleavage of peptidyl-tRNA into free tRNA and completed polypeptide chain carrying all the information encoded in the corresponding mRNA and DNA. Then the completed protein molecule is released from the ribosome and the ribosome dissociates into its components (subunits, factors, mRNA, tRNA, etc.). After the synthesis is completed, the polypeptide chain is folded either cotranslationally or by an additional specialized mechanism, depending on the nature of the protein, organism, and other factors. This issue of Biochemistry (Moscow) highlights from various points of view the problem of translation termination, excluding protein folding. Yeast termination factors with prion-like properties are also considered.
KEY WORDS: protein biosynthesis, translation termination, prokaryotes, eukaryotes, release factors, prions