The Usage of Codons Which are Similar to Stop Codons in the Genomes of Xylella fastidiosa and Xanthomonas citri
During the evolution of living organisms, a natural selection event occurs toward the optimization of their genomes regarding the usage of codons. During this process which is known as codon bias, a set of preferred codons is naturally defined in the genome of a given organism, since there are 61 possible codons (plus 3 stop codons) to 20 amino acids. Such event leads to optimization of metabolic cellular processes such as translational efficiency, RNA stability and energy saving. Although we know why, we do not know how exactly a set of preferred codons for each amino acid is defined for a given genome considering that the usage frequency of each synonymous codons is peculiar to each organism. In order to help answering this question, we analyzed the usage frequency of codons which are similar to stop codons, since a minor mutation on these codons may lead to a stop codon into the open reading frame compromising the protein expression as a result. We found a reduced use of those codons in Xanthomomas axonopodis pv. citri which presents an optimized genome regarding codon usage. On the other hand, such codons are more often used in Xylella fastidiosa, which does not seem to have established codon preferences as previously shown. Our results support that a set of preferred codons is not randomly selected and propose new ideas to the field warranting further experiments in this regard.