The theory of "codon-amino acid coevolution" was first proposed by Woese in 1967. It suggests that there is a stereochemical matching - that is, affinity - between amino acids and certain of the base triplet sequences that code for those amino acids. We have constructed a Common Periodic Table of Codons and Amino Acids, where the Nucleic Acid Table showed perfect axial symmetry for codons and the corresponding Amino Acid Table also displayed periodicity regarding the biochemical properties (charge and hydrophobicity) of the 20 amino acids and the position of the stop signals. The Table indicates that the middle (2nd) amino acid in the codon has a prominent role in determining some of the structural features of the amino acids. The possibility that physical contact between codons and amino acids might exist was tested on restriction enzymes. Many recognition site-like sequences were found in the coding sequences of these enzymes and as many as 73 examples of codon-amino acid co-location were observed in the 7 known 3D structures (December 2003) of endonuclease-nucleic acid complexes. These results indicate that the smallest possible units of specific nucleic acid-protein interaction are indeed the stereochemically compatible codons and amino acids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)