The operon of 2.4.1 encodes the ß-and α-polypeptides of the B875 complex, the L and M polypeptides of the reaction centre and the gene product. A previous report from the authors’ laboratory indicated the potential existence of a 20-codon open reading frame ( now designated ) located immediately upstream of the structural gene. It is now demonstrated that is translated and that the specific levels or nature of the rare codons within affect the expression of Using a series of -specific mutations, both as translational fusions and incorporated into the genome in single copy, evidence has been obtained that translation initiation through may be essential to translation of Further, the abundance, quality and distribution of rare codons within may serve to ‘gate’ the entry of ribosomes at The data also suggest that translation of is uncoupled from that of with the latter capable of being produced in excess of the former. It is also revealed that the secondary structure at the 5′ end of the large and small transcripts may play a role in mRNA stability and that stability of the small transcript is independent of translation.


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