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J Virol. May 1984; 50(2): 507–514.
PMCID: PMC255658

In vitro translation of poliovirus RNA: utilization of internal initiation sites in reticulocyte lysate.


The translation of poliovirus RNA in rabbit reticulocyte lysate was examined. Translation of poliovirus RNA in this cell-free system resulted in an electrophoretic profile of poliovirus-specific proteins distinct from that observed in vivo or after translation in poliovirus-infected HeLa cell extract. A group of proteins derived from the P3 region of the polyprotein was identified by immunoprecipitation, time course, and N-formyl-[35S]methionine labeling studies to be the product of the initiation of protein synthesis at an internal site(s) located within the 3'-proximal RNA sequences. Utilization of this internal initiation site(s) on poliovirus RNA was abolished when reticulocyte lysate was supplemented with poliovirus-infected HeLa cell extract. Authentic P1-1a was also synthesized in reticulocyte lysate, indicating that correct 5'-proximal initiation of translation occurs in that system. We conclude that the deficiency of a component(s) of the reticulocyte lysate necessary for 5'-proximal initiation of poliovirus protein synthesis resulted in the ability of ribosomes to initiate translation on internal sequences. This aberrant initiation could be corrected by factors present in the HeLa cell extract. Apparently, under certain conditions, ribosomes are capable of recognizing internal sequences as authentic initiation sites.

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