The two subunits of human molybdopterin in synthase: evidence for a bicistronic messenger RNA with overlapping reading frames

J Sloan, James Robertson Kinghorn, Sheila Eileen Unkles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Molybdoenzymes are ubiquitous and require a prosthetic group called the molybdenum cofactor for activity. We provide evidence here that the two heteromeric subunits (MOCO1-A and MOCO1-B) of human molybdopterin synthase, which is involved in the conversion of precursor Z to molybdopterin in the molybdenum cofactor biosynthetic pathway, are specified by a single bicistronic mRNA with overlapping reading frames. The transcript is in low abundance and shows variable tissue distribution. We propose that leaky scanning of the first translational initiation codon for MOCO1-A by 40S ribosomal subunits occurs, allowing recognition of the AUG for the downstream MOCO1-B reading frame. Such a genetic arrangement may result in a constant ratio and close proximity of lowly expressed enzyme subunits which should, a priori, be especially advantageous for assembly in complex mammalian cells. The MOCO1 locus resides on human chromosome 5.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-858
Number of pages5
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1999

Keywords

  • MOLYBDENUM COFACTOR DEFICIENCY
  • ASPERGILLUS-NIDULANS
  • TRANSLATION
  • BIOSYNTHESIS
  • INITIATION
  • CLONING
  • EXPRESSION
  • OXIDASE
  • SYSTEMS
  • LOCUS

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