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Oncogene. 1999 Jul 29;18(30):4326-35.

Differential expression of Myc1 and Myc2 isoforms in cells transformed by eIF4E: evidence for internal ribosome repositioning in the human c-myc 5'UTR.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, Shreveport 71130-3932, USA.


eIF4E is essential for translation initiation, but its overexpression causes malignant transformation. Recent work demonstrated that eIF4E/F participates in exposing and locating alternate translation start codons during scanning. Translation initiation of several important protooncogenes and growth-regulators, such as Myc and FGF-2, can start at CUG start codon(s) upstream of the normal open reading frame (ORF). The resulting amino-terminal extension alters the properties of these proteins and their intracellular distribution. In cells overexpressing eIF4E, c-myc is overexpressed and particularly the larger, CUG-initiated form (Myc1). Recent reports suggest that synthesis of Myc2, the normally expressed AUG-initiated form, is mediated by an IRES. To determine what role eIF4E might play in c-myc expression, the c-myc 5' untranslated region (UTR) was fused in-frame to CAT reporters, and several more derivative constructs were made. In vitro translation experiments (with and without eIF4E/F); expression in CHO cells transformed with eIF4E; and deletion/mutation analysis demonstrated that Myc1 is translated by a scanning mechanism, while Myc2 is translated by Internal Ribosome Repositioning. Moreover, the existence of a true IRES in the 5'UTR was contradicted by its failure to direct translation of a circular transcript, in contrast to hsp70. The c-myc 5'UTR also failed to engage in translation in the absence of functional eIF4F, after cleavage of the eIF4G component with CVB4 protease-2A. The Internal Repositioning Element (IRPE) in c-myc 5'UTR was delimited to nucleotides (nt) 394-440 from the P1 transcription start site.

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