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Gene Review

prfB  -  peptide chain release factor RF-2

Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. MG1655

Synonyms: ECK2886, JW5847, supK
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Disease relevance of prfB


High impact information on prfB

  • Sequencing the prfB gene from E.coli B and MRE600 strains showed that residue 246 is coded as alanine, in contrast to K12 RF2 [3].
  • Complementation, reversion, and gene fusion analyses led to the conclusion that supK is a S. typhimurium RF2 mutation and this opal RF2 mutation generates a UGA suppressor activity, presumably because of inefficient translation termination due to the reduced cellular level of RF2 [4].
  • Thus, we refer to the two genes as the prfB-herC operon [1].
  • The prfB gene is followed by an open reading frame encoding a 57,603-Da protein [1].
  • The effect of introducing prfB mutations into mutant strains containing altered trp leader regions that influence basal level transcription readthrough was also determined [5].

Chemical compound and disease context of prfB


Biological context of prfB

  • The expression system was programmed with a plasmid containing a trpE-prfB fusion gene so that each of the products of the competing events could be measured [7].
  • Termination at UGA competes with selenocysteine (Sec) incorporation at Sec-dedicated UGA codons, and RF2 thereby counteracts expression of selenoproteins. prfB is an essential gene in E. coli and can therefore not be removed in order to increase yield of recombinant selenoproteins [8].
  • Comparison of the sequence of this region of the chromosome with DNA data bases identified the gene immediately downstream of recJ as prfB, which encodes translational release factor 2 and has been mapped near recJ at 62 min [9].

Other interactions of prfB

  • The efficiency of natural frameshift was 18% as measured by using the monolysogenic lambda assay vector containing prfB-lacZ fusions, and increased up to 30% in the prfB mutants [6].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of prfB

  • Titration and Conditional Knockdown of the prfB Gene in Escherichia coli: Effects on Growth and Overproduction of the Recombinant Mammalian Selenoprotein Thioredoxin Reductase [8].


  1. Chromosomal location and structure of the operon encoding peptide-chain-release factor 2 of Escherichia coli. Kawakami, K., Jönsson, Y.H., Björk, G.R., Ikeda, H., Nakamura, Y. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1988) [Pubmed]
  2. Properties of peptide chain release factor 2 from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2): conserved primary structure but no frameshift regulation. Ogawara, H., Urabe, H., Ohtaki, R., Nakamura, Y. J. Bacteriol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  3. A post-translational modification in the GGQ motif of RF2 from Escherichia coli stimulates termination of translation. Dinçbas-Renqvist, V., Engström, A., Mora, L., Heurgué-Hamard, V., Buckingham, R., Ehrenberg, M. EMBO J. (2000) [Pubmed]
  4. Autogenous suppression of an opal mutation in the gene encoding peptide chain release factor 2. Kawakami, K., Nakamura, Y. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1990) [Pubmed]
  5. Regulation of basal level expression of the tryptophan operon of Escherichia coli. Roesser, J.R., Nakamura, Y., Yanofsky, C. J. Biol. Chem. (1989) [Pubmed]
  6. Sequence and functional analysis of mutations in the gene encoding peptide-chain-release factor 2 of Escherichia coli. Mikuni, O., Kawakami, K., Nakamura, Y. Biochimie (1991) [Pubmed]
  7. Competition between frameshifting, termination and suppression at the frameshift site in the Escherichia coli release factor-2 mRNA. Adamski, F.M., Donly, B.C., Tate, W.P. Nucleic Acids Res. (1993) [Pubmed]
  8. Titration and Conditional Knockdown of the prfB Gene in Escherichia coli: Effects on Growth and Overproduction of the Recombinant Mammalian Selenoprotein Thioredoxin Reductase. Rengby, O., Arn??r, E.S. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2007) [Pubmed]
  9. Nucleotide sequence of the Escherichia coli recJ chromosomal region and construction of recJ-overexpression plasmids. Lovett, S.T., Kolodner, R.D. J. Bacteriol. (1991) [Pubmed]
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