A mathematical modelling framework for elucidating the role of feedback control in translation termination

Eric de Silva, J Krishnan, Russell Betney, Ian Stansfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Translation is the final stage of gene expression where messenger RNA is used as a template for protein polymerization from appropriate amino acids. Release of the completed protein requires a release factor protein acting at the termination/stop codon to liberate it. In this paper we focus on a complex feedback control mechanism involved in the translation and synthesis of release factor proteins, which has been observed in different systems. These release factor proteins are involved in the termination stage of their own translation. Further, mutations in the release factor gene can result in a premature stop codon. In this case translation can result either in early termination and the production of a truncated protein or readthrough of the premature stop codon and production of the complete release factor protein. Thus during translation of the release factor mRNA containing a premature stop codon, the full length protein negatively regulates its production by its action on a premature stop codon, while positively regulating its production by its action on the regular stop codon. This paper develops a mathematical modelling framework to investigate this complex feedback control system involved in translation. A series of models is established to carefully investigate the role of individual mechanisms and how they work together. The steady state and dynamic behaviour of the resulting models are examined both analytically and numerically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-821
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
Early online date20 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2010


  • Feedback control
  • Complex control system
  • Translation termination
  • Dynamic analysis
  • Control structure


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