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Cell. 2005 Sep 23;122(6):875-86.

General translational repression by activators of mRNA decapping.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


Translation and mRNA degradation are affected by a key transition where eukaryotic mRNAs exit translation and assemble an mRNP state that accumulates into processing bodies (P bodies), cytoplasmic sites of mRNA degradation containing non-translating mRNAs, and mRNA degradation machinery. We identify the decapping activators Dhh1p and Pat1p as functioning as translational repressors and facilitators of P body formation. Strains lacking both Dhh1p and Pat1p show strong defects in mRNA decapping and P body formation and are blocked in translational repression. Contrastingly, overexpression of Dhh1p or Pat1p causes translational repression, P body formation, and arrests cell growth. Dhh1p, and its human homolog, RCK/p54, repress translation in vitro, and Dhh1p function is bypassed in vivo by inhibition of translational initiation. These results identify a broadly acting mechanism of translational repression that targets mRNAs for decapping and functions in translational control. We propose this mechanism is competitively balanced with translation, and shifting this balance is an important basis of translational control.

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