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RNA. 2006 Oct;12(10):1825-34. Epub 2006 Aug 29.

RNA aptamers to mammalian initiation factor 4G inhibit cap-dependent translation by blocking the formation of initiation factor complexes.

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  • 1Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) plays a crucial multimodulatory role in mRNA translation and decay by interacting with other translation factors and mRNA-associated proteins. In this study, we isolated eight different RNA aptamers with high affinity to mammalian eIF4G by in vitro RNA selection amplification. Of these, three aptamers (apt3, apt4, and apt5) inhibited the cap-dependent translation of two independent mRNAs in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate system. The cap-independent translation directed by an HCV internal ribosome entry site was not affected. Addition of exogenous eIF4G reversed the aptamer-mediated inhibition of translation. Even though apt3 and apt4 were selected independently, they differ only by two nucleotides. The use of truncated eIF4G variants in binding experiments indicated that apt4 (and probably apt3) bind to both the middle and C-terminal domains of eIF4G, while apt5 binds only to the middle domain of eIF4G. Corresponding to the difference in the binding sites in eIF4G, apt4, but not apt5, hindered eIF4G from binding to eIF4A and eIF3, in a purified protein solution system as well as in a crude lysate system. Therefore, the inhibition of translation by apt4 (and apt3) is due to the inhibition of formation of initiation factor complexes involving eIF4A and eIF3. On the other hand, apt5 had a much weaker affinity to eIF4G than apt4, but inhibited translation much more efficiently by an unknown mechanism. The five additional aptamers have sequences and predicted secondary structures that are largely different from each other and from apt3 through apt5. Therefore, we speculate that these seven sets of aptamers may bind to different regions in eIF4G in different fashions.

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