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You are here: Home / Teams / Comparative and Integrative Genomics of Organ Development - S.Pantalacci/M. Semon / Publications / Recombination, meiotic expression and human codon usage.

Recombination, meiotic expression and human codon usage.

Fanny Pouyet, Dominique Mouchiroud, Laurent Duret, and Marie Semon (2017)

Elife, 6.

Synonymous codon usage (SCU) varies widely among human genes. In particular, genes involved in different functional categories display a distinct codon usage, which was interpreted as evidence that SCU is adaptively constrained to optimizetranslation efficiency in distinct cellular states. We demonstrate here that SCUis not driven by constraints on tRNA abundance, but by large-scale variation in GC-content, caused by meiotic recombination, via the non-adaptive process of GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC). Expression in meiotic cells is associated witha strong decrease in recombination within genes. Differences in SCU among functional categories reflect differences in levels of meiotic transcription, which is linked to variation in recombination and therefore in gBGC. Overall, the gBGC model explains 70% of the variance in SCU among genes. We argue that the strong heterogeneity of SCU induced by gBGC in mammalian genomes precludes any optimization of the tRNA pool to the demand in codon usage.

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