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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2005 Feb;16(1):13-20. Epub 2004 Dec 30.

Translational control in virus-infected cells: models for cellular stress responses.

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Translational Control Group, Biochemistry and Immunology, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, St. George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.


Protein synthesis is regulated at the translational level by a variety of mechanisms in virus-infected cells. Viruses often induce the shut-off of host translation in order to favour the expression of their own genetic information, but cells possess a number of strategies for counteracting such effects of infection. Important regulatory mechanisms include the phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of polypeptide chain initiation factor eIF2, RNA degradation mediated by the 2'5'-oligoadenylate/RNase L system, control of availability of the cap-binding protein eIF4E by its interaction with the 4E-binding proteins and specific proteolytic cleavage of several key initiation factors. Most of these mechanisms are also utilised in uninfected cells in response to a variety of physiological stresses and during the early stages of apoptosis. Thus, mechanisms of translational control during virus infection can provide models for the cellular stress responses observed in a wide range of other circumstances.

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