5 S rRNA is involved in fidelity of translational reading frame.
J D Dinman, R B Wickner


Chromosomal mutants (maintenance of frame = mof) in which the efficiency of -1 ribosomal frameshifting is increased can be isolated using constructs in which lacZ expression is dependent upon a -1 shift of reading frame. We isolate a new mof mutation, mof9, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and show that it is complemented by both single and multi-copy 5 S rDNA clones. Two independent insertion mutations in the rDNA locus (rDNA::LEU2 and rDNA::URA3) also display the Mof- phenotype and are also complemented by single and multi-copy 5 S rDNA clones. Mutant 5 S rRNAs expressed from a plasmid as 20-50% of total 5 S rRNA in a wild-type host also induced the Mof- phenotype. The increase in frameshifting is greatest when the lacZ reporter gene is expressed on a high copy, episomal vector. No differences were found in 5 S rRNA copy number or electrophoretic mobilities in mof9 strains. Both mof9 and rDNA::LEU2 increase the efficiency of +1 frameshifting as well but have no effect on readthrough of UAG or UAA termination codons, indicating that not all translational specificity is affected. These data suggest a role for 5 S rRNA in the maintenance of frame in translation.