In this study, we analyzed the correlation between codon usage bias and Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence conservation, using complete genome sequences of nine prokaryotes. For codon usage bias, we adopted the codon adaptation index (CAI), which is based on the codon usage preference of genes encoding ribosomal proteins, elongation factors, heat shock proteins, outer membrane proteins, and RNA polymerase subunit proteins. To compute SD sequence conservation, we used SD motif sequences predicted by Tompa and systematically aligned them with 5′UTR sequences. We found that there exists a clear correlation between the CAI values and SD sequence conservation in the genomes of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Haemophilus influenzae, Archaeoglobus fulgidus, Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, and Methanococcus jannaschii, and no relationship is found in M. genitalium, M. pneumoniae, and Synechocystis. That is, genes with higher CAI values tend to have more conserved SD sequences than do genes with lower CAI values in these organisms. Some organisms, such as M. thermoautotrophicum, do not clearly show the correlation. The biological significance of these results is discussed in the context of the translation initiation process and translation efficiency.
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