Projects & Grants
|Blastocrithidia and Trypanosoma as optimal models for testing the emergence and features of alternative genetic codes
|prof. MSc. Vjačeslav Jurčenko, Ph.D.
|1/2022 - 12/2024
|Standardní projekt GA ČR
|The genetic code is not absolutely universal, since several non-standard variants have been described in the mitochondrial, as well as the prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. The most common deviation represents a stop-to-sense codon reassignment. We have recently described a novel protist, Blastocrithidia nonstop, in which all three stop codons specify amino acids. This drastic departure from the standard code was enabled by a previously unknown alteration of tRNA, which has also occurred in several unrelated eukaryotic lineages. Here we aim to shed light on the impact of termination factors and tRNA structure on translation in nonstandard codes. Blastocrithidia and the related Trypanosoma, which has a standard genetic code, represent ideal models for dissecting the evolution of genetic code and its consequences for protein translation. Using a range of molecular and in silico approaches, we want to understand which molecular processes govern the emergence and functioning of deviated or ambiguous genetic codes.