What are the effects of the different binding strength/affinity between the synonymous codons corresponding to a single tRNA ?

  • $\begingroup$ Your question could do with clarification. You ask a specific question in your title, but you need to spell out what you mean by "preference" in the body of the question. Asking if literature exists, is not a scientific question of any sort, and appears to be concerned with something different, more in the realm of chemistry. Nor do you give us any indication of what you have found out for yourself on this topic. See the help on "how do I ask a good question". Nevertheless, I have given you an answer. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 8, 2018 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ I have now edited your question to a form that is more acceptable to SE Biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 9, 2018 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


There is an extensive literature on synonymous codons and their usage in different organisms. I shall assume that the question concerns relationship between strength of codon–anticodon interaction and the efficiency (speed in this case) of translation.

  • It is not disputed (I am aware of few experiments on this) that the strength of codon–anticodon interaction depends on the number of hydrogen bonds made.
  • It was predicted that for optimal rate of translation one needs a balance between association and dissociation of the codon–anticodon pair. Hence weak interactions (all AU) — which would disfavour association — or strong interactions (all GC) — which would disfavour dissociation — would not allow a rate of protein synthesis as fast as that for intermediate interactions (mixed AU,GC).
  • This appeared to be borne out in the codon usage patterns of rapidly growing organisms such as Escherichia coli, something subsequently confirmed by more extensive studies. To be precise, the more highly expressed proteins (e.g. ribosomal proteins) were encoded by mRNAs containing the intermediate codon–anticodon interactions predicted to allow rapid translation. In contrast, poorly expressed proteins (e.g. repressors) were encoded my mRNAs predicted to produce slower translation.
  • One should be aware, however, that there are other factors that influence the codon usage in different organisms, and that these can overide the effect of codon–anticodon interaction strength.

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