Abstract

A 50-nucleotide untranslated region is shown to be present within the coding sequence of Escherichia coli bacteriophage T4 gene 60, which encodes one of the subunits for its type II DNA topoisomerase. This interruption is part of the transcribed messenger RNA and appears not to be removed before translation. Thus, the usual colinearity between messenger RNA and the encoded protein sequence apparently does not exist in this case. The interruption is bracketed by a direct repeat of five base pairs. A mechanism is proposed in which folding of the untranslated region brings together codons separated by the interruption so that the elongating ribosome may skip the 50 nucleotides during translation. The alternative possibility, that the protein is efficiently translated from a very minor and undetectable form of processed messenger RNA, seems unlikely, but has not been completely ruled out.

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