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J Biomed Biotechnol. 2010;2010:458927. doi: 10.1155/2010/458927. Epub 2010 Feb 2.

Insights into the biology of IRES elements through riboproteomic approaches.

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Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC-UAM, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Translation initiation is a highly regulated process that exerts a strong influence on the posttranscriptional control of gene expression. Two alternative mechanisms govern translation initiation in eukaryotic mRNAs, the cap-dependent initiation mechanism operating in most mRNAs, and the internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-dependent mechanism, first discovered in picornaviruses. IRES elements are highly structured RNA sequences that, in most instances, require specific proteins for recruitment of the translation machinery. Some of these proteins are eukaryotic initiation factors. In addition, RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play a key role in internal initiation control. RBPs are pivotal regulators of gene expression in response to numerous stresses, including virus infection. This review discusses recent advances on riboproteomic approaches to identify IRES transacting factors (ITAFs) and the relationship between RNA-protein interaction and IRES activity, highlighting the most relevant features on picornavirus and hepatitis C virus IRESs.

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