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Gene. 2008 Aug 15;420(1):11-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2008.04.008. Epub 2008 Apr 27.

The 5' untranslated region of the maize alcohol dehydrogenase gene contains an internal ribosome entry site.

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Centre Bioengineering, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 117312, Russia.


Adh1, the maize gene encoding alcohol dehydrogenase ADH1, mRNA is efficiently translated in O2-deprived roots of maize, whereas many normal cellular mRNAs are poorly translated. It has been shown that adh, the 5' untranslated region of adh1 mRNA, provides effective translation of mRNA under hypoxia and heat shock conditions in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. We found that adh contains the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) active both in vivo, in N. benthamiana cells, and in vitro, in rabbit reticulocyte lysate translation system. It is widely supposed that cap-independent internal initiation may maintain efficient translation of particular cellular mRNAs under a variety of stresses and other special conditions when cap-dependent protein synthesis is impaired. We evaluated the level of IRES activity of adh and found that its contribution to the overall translation of adh-containing mRNA in plant cells is less than 1% both under normal conditions and under heat shock. The low efficiency of this IRES is inconsistent with its possible role as a main factor ensuring efficient translation of adh1 mRNA under stress conditions.

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