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J Biol Chem. 2005 Jun 3;280(22):20945-53. Epub 2005 Mar 31.

Internal translation initiation mediated by the angiogenic factor Tie2.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y6, Canada.


Tie2 is an endothelium-specific receptor tyrosine kinase required for normal blood vessel maturation. We report that Tie2 mRNA translation is maintained under hypoxic conditions. To identify the mechanism responsible for this, we undertook structure/function analysis of the Tie2 5'-untranslated region (UTR). Transcription start site mapping indicates the existence of a several mRNA isoforms containing unusually long 5'-UTRs (>350 nucleotides) with five upstream open reading frames. We find internal ribosome binding activity that allows the Tie2 mRNA to initiate in a cap-independent fashion. Our data provide a framework for understanding how Tie2 mRNA is translated despite a cumbersome structured 5'-UTR and how its production is secured under unfavorable environmental conditions.

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