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J Biol Chem. 2005 May 13;280(19):18610-22. Epub 2005 Mar 8.

Translation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI) proceeds from multiple mRNAs containing a novel cap-dependent internal ribosome entry site (IRES) that is active during poliovirus infection.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI) is an essential scaffolding protein required to recruit the 43 S complex to the 5'-end of mRNA during translation initiation. We have previously demonstrated that eIF4GI protein expression is translationally regulated. This regulation is mediated by cis-acting RNA elements, including an upstream open reading frame and an IRES that directs synthesis of five eIF4GI protein isoforms via alternative AUG initiation codon selection. Here, we further characterize eIF4GI IRES function and show that eIF4GI is expressed from several distinct mRNAs that vary via alternate promoter use and alternate splicing. Several mRNA variants contain the IRES element. We found that IRES activity mapped to multiple regions within the eIF4GI RNA sequence, but not within the 5'-UTR per se. However, the 5'-UTR enhanced IRES activity in vivo and played a role in initiation codon selection. The eIF4GI IRES was active when transfected into cells in an RNA form, and thus, does not require nuclear processing events for its function. However, IRES activity was found to be dependent upon the presence, in cis, of a 5' m7guanosine-cap. Despite this requirement, the eIF4GI IRES was activated by 2A protease cleavage of eIF4GI, in vitro, and retained the ability to promote translation during poliovirus-mediated inhibition of cap-dependent translation. These data indicate that intact eIF4GI protein is not required for the de novo synthesis of eIF4GI, suggesting its expression can continue under stress or infection conditions where eIF4GI is cleaved.

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