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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Sep-Oct;1789(9-10):529-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 May 9.

Internal translation initiation of picornaviruses and hepatitis C virus.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University, Friedrichstrasse 24, 35392 Giessen, Germany.


Picornaviruses and other positive-strand RNA viruses like hepatitis C virus (HCV) enter the cell with a single RNA genome that directly serves as the template for translation. Accordingly, the viral RNA genome needs to recruit the cellular translation machinery for viral protein synthesis. By the use of internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements in their genomic RNAs, these viruses bypass translation competition with the bulk of capped cellular mRNAs and, moreover, establish the option to largely shut-down cellular protein synthesis. In this review, I discuss the structure and function of viral IRES elements, focusing on the recruitment of the cellular translation machinery by the IRES and on factors that may contribute to viral tissue tropism on the level of translation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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