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EMBO J. 2005 Oct 19;24(20):3588-601. Epub 2005 Sep 29.

The eIF1A C-terminal domain promotes initiation complex assembly, scanning and AUG selection in vivo.

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Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Translation initiation factor 1A stimulates 40S-binding of the eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2)/GTP/Met-tRNA(iMet) ternary complex (TC) and promotes scanning in vitro. eIF1A contains an OB-fold present in bacterial IF1 plus N- and C-terminal extensions. Truncating the C-terminus (deltaC) or mutating OB-fold residues (66-70) of eIF1A reduced general translation in vivo but increased GCN4 translation (Gcd- phenotype) in a manner suppressed by overexpressing TC. Consistent with this, both mutations diminished 40S-bound TC, eIF5 and eIF3 in vivo, and deltaC impaired TC recruitment in vitro. The assembly defects of the OB-fold mutation can be attributed to reduced 40S-binding of eIF1A, whereas deltaC impairs eIF1A function on the ribosome. A substitution in the C-terminal helix (98-101) also reduced 43S assembly in vivo. Rather than producing a Gcd- phenotype, however, 98-101 impairs GCN4 derepression in a manner consistent with defective scanning by reinitiating ribosomes. Indeed, 98-101 allows formation of aberrant 48S complexes in vitro and increases utilization of non-AUG codons in vivo. Thus, the OB-fold is crucial for ribosome-binding and the C-terminal domain of eIF1A has eukaryotic-specific functions in TC recruitment and scanning.

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