2015 Volume 32 Issue 2 Pages 157-163
Many eukaryotic mRNAs contain one or more upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in their 5′ untranslated regions (5′-UTRs). Some uORFs encode regulatory peptides that repress translation of the main ORF. To comprehensively identify uORFs encoding regulatory peptides, genome-wide searches for uORFs with evolutionarily conserved amino acid sequences, referred to as conserved peptide uORFs (CPuORFs), have been conducted using bioinfomatic approaches. To date, more than 40 homology groups of CPuORFs have been identified in dicotyledonous plants. The Arabidopsis thaliana ANAC096 gene is one of the CPuORF-containing genes; however, the ANAC096 CPuORF exerts only little peptide sequence-dependent effect on expression of the main ORF. Here, we investigated the effect of the CPuORF sequence of a tomato ANAC096 homologue on expression of the main ORF, because it has a more highly conserved amino acid sequence than the ANAC096 CPuORF. Mutational analyses revealed that the CPuORF of the tomato ANAC096 homologue represses main ORF expression in a peptide sequence-dependent manner, and determined the critical amino acid residues of the CPuORF peptide responsible for the repression. This study identified a novel peptide sequence-dependent regulatory uORF and demonstrated that the level of uORF peptide-mediated repression can differ among closely related homologues.