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Making the jump: new insights into the mechanism of trans-translation

Jacek Wower1, Iwona K Wower1 and Christian Zwieb2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.

2 Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, 11937 US Highway 271, Tyler, TX 75708, USA.

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Journal of Biology 2008, 7:17  doi:10.1186/jbiol78

Published: 30 June 2008


The transfer-messenger ribonucleoprotein (tmRNP), which is composed of RNA and a small protein, small protein B (SmpB), recycles ribosomes that are stalled on broken mRNAs lacking stop codons and tags the partially translated proteins for degradation. Although it is not yet understood how the ribosome gets from the 3' end of the truncated message onto the messenger portion of the tmRNA to add the tag, a recent study in BMC Biology has shed some light on this astonishing feat.