Errors in translational decoding: tRNA wobbling or misincorporation?

by Xumin Ou, Jingyu Cao, Anchun Cheng, Maikel P. Peppelenbosch, Qiuwei Pan

As the central dogma of molecular biology, genetic information flows from DNA through transcription into RNA followed by translation of the message into protein by transfer RNAs (tRNAs). However, mRNA translation is not always perfect, and errors in the amino acid composition may occur. Mistranslation is generally well tolerated, but once it reaches superphysiological levels, it can give rise to a plethora of diseases. The key causes of mistranslation are errors in translational decoding of the codons in mRNA. Such errors mainly derive from tRNA misdecoding and misacylation, especially when certain codon-paired tRNA species are missing. Substantial progress has recently been made with respect to the mechanistic basis of erroneous mRNA decoding as well as the resulting consequences for physiology and pathology. Here, we aim to review this progress with emphasis on viral evolution and cancer development.

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