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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 12;105(6):2146-50. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708894105. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

Translation initiation factor a/eIF2(-gamma) counteracts 5' to 3' mRNA decay in the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, 1030 Vienna, Austria.


The trimeric translation initiation factor a/eIF2 of the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus is pivotal for binding of initiator tRNA to the ribosome. Here, we present in vitro and in vivo evidence that the a/eIF2 gamma-subunit exhibits an additional function with resemblance to the eukaryotic cap-complex. It binds to the 5'-triphosphate end of mRNA and protects the 5' part from degradation. This unprecedented capacity of the archaeal initiation factor further indicates that 5' --> 3' directional mRNA decay is a pathway common to all domains of life.

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