On the ribosomal density that maximizes protein translation rate

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During mRNA translation, several ribosomes attach to the same mRNA molecule simultaneously translating it into a protein. This pipelining increases the protein translation rate. A natural and important question is what ribosomal density maximizes the protein translation rate. Using mathematical models of ribosome flow along both a linear and a circular mRNA molecules we prove that typically the steady-state protein translation rate is maximized when the ribosomal density is one half of the maximal possible density. We discuss the implications of our results to endogenous genes under natural cellular conditions and also to synthetic biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0166481
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016


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