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Trends Biochem Sci. 2001 Dec;26(12):705-9.

Engaging the ribosome: universal IFs of translation.

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Laboratories of Molecular Biophysics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Eukaryotic initiation factor 1A (eIF1A) and the GTPase IF2/eIF5B are the only universally conserved translation initiation factors. Recent structural, biochemical and genetic data indicate that these two factors form an evolutionarily conserved structural and functional unit in translation initiation. Based on insights gathered from studies of the translation elongation factor GTPases, we propose that these factors occupy the aminoacyl-tRNA site (A site) on the ribosome, and promote initiator tRNA binding and ribosomal subunit joining. These processes yield a translationally competent ribosome with Met-tRNA in the ribosomal peptidyl-tRNA site (P site), base-paired to the AUG start codon of a mRNA.

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