Factors Affecting Translational Efficiency of Bacteriophages

Title: Factors Affecting Translational Efficiency of Bacteriophages
Authors: Prabhakaran, Ramanandan
Date: 2015
Abstract: Mass production of translationally optimized bacteriophages (hereafter referred to as phages) is the need of the hour in the application of phages to therapy. Understanding translational efficiency of phages is the major preliminary step for mass producing efficient phages. The objective of this thesis is to understand factors affecting translational efficiency of phages. In chapter two, we hypothesized that weak translation initiation efficiency is responsible for weak codon concordance of Escherichia coli lambdoid phages with that of their hosts. We measured the strength of translation initiation using two indices namely minimum folding energy (MFE) and proportion of Shine-Dalgarno sequence (PSD). Empirical results substantiate our hypothesis suggesting lack of strong selection for improving codon adaptation in these phages is due to their weak translation initiation. In chapter three, we measured codon usage concordance between GC-rich and GC-poor Aeromonas phages with their GC-rich host Aeromonas salmonicida. We found low codon usage concordance in the GC-poor Aeromonas phages. We were interested in testing for the role of tRNAs in the GC-poor phages. We observed that the GC-poor phages carry tRNAs for codons that are overused by the phages and underused by the host. These findings suggest that the GC-poor Aeromonas phages carry their own tRNAs for compensating for the compositional difference between their genomes and that of their host. Previously several studies have reported observed avoidance of stable secondary structures in start site of mRNA in a wide range of species. We probed the genomes of 422 phage species and measured their secondary structure stability using MFE. We observed strong patterns of secondary structure avoidance (less negative MFE values) in the translation initiation region (TIR) and translation termination region (TTR) of all analyzed phages. These findings imply selection is operating at these translationally important sites to control stable secondary structures in order to maintain efficient translation.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/32106
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -