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Virus Res. 1999 Aug;62(2):119-28.

Rhinovirus 2A proteinase mediated stimulation of rhinovirus RNA translation is additive to the stimulation effected by cellular RNA binding proteins.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK.


The internal ribosome entry site (IRES) of enteroviruses, and especially human rhinoviruses (HRV), functions very inefficiently in rabbit reticulocyte lysates, but can be stimulated by addition of HeLa cell extracts. Two HeLa cell activities have been identified: the A-type activity is due to polypyrimidine tract binding protein and the B-type to unr. In addition HRV and enterovirus IRES function requires a third RNA binding protein, poly(rC) binding protein 2, but this is present in reticulocyte lysates in non-limiting amounts. IRES activity can also be stimulated by the cleavage of initiation factor eIF4G mediated by either HRV 2A protease, or foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) L protease. This raises the question of whether this stimulation is independent of that effected by the three RNA binding proteins, or whether cleaved eIF4G functionally mimics one or more of these proteins. It is shown here that the stimulation of HRV IRES activity resulting from cleavage of eIF4G is additive with the stimulation effected by HeLa cell A- and B-type activities. It is proposed that the role of the RNA binding proteins is to maintain or attain the appropriate 3-dimensional structure of the IRES RNA element, whereas the function of eIF4G is to deliver the 40S ribosomal subunit to the correct site on the IRES, a function which, for reasons not yet fully understood, is fulfilled more efficiently by the C-terminal cleavage product of eIF4G than by the intact factor.

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