Prokaryotic release factors

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There are three known prokaryotic release factors involved in the termination of translation.

  • RF1 recognizes the stop codon UAG
  • RF2 recognizes the stop codon UGA (both RF1 and RF2 recognize the stop codon UAA)
  • RF3 promotes termination by either factor by accelerating dissociation.

The release factors provide the means of termination by having a conformation that mimics that of tRNA molecules. The decoding release factor binds to the A site of the ribosome and directly recognise the stop codon [1]. Once RF1 (or RF2) and RF3 are bound to the ribosome, the polypeptide is released, and the ribosome and release factors dissasemble, thus completing the process of translation [2].


  1. "Direct recognition of mRNA stop signals by Escherichia coli polypeptide chain release factor two". Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  2. "Mapping Functionally Important Motifs SPF and GGQ of the Decoding Release Factor RF2 to the Escherichia coli Ribosome by Hydroxyl Radical Footprinting". Retrieved 2006-11-28.