‘2A-Like’ Signal Sequences Mediating Translational Recoding: A Novel Form of Dual Protein Targeting

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We report the initial characterization of an N-terminal oligopeptide ‘2A-like’ sequence that is able to function both as a signal sequence and as a translational recoding element. Owing to this translational recoding activity, two forms of nascent polypeptide are synthesized: (i) when 2A-mediated translational recoding has not occurred: the nascent polypeptide is fused to the 2A-like N-terminal signal sequence and the fusion translation product is targeted to the exocytic pathway, and, (ii) a translation product where 2A-mediated translational recoding has occurred: the 2A-like signal sequence is synthesized as a separate translation product and, therefore, the nascent (downstream) polypeptide lacks the 2A-like signal sequence and is localized to the cytoplasm. This type of dual-functional signal sequence results, therefore, in the partitioning of the translation products between the two sub-cellular sites and represents a newly described form of dual protein targeting.

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