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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jul;39(13):5555-67. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr147. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Unidirectional constant rate motion of the ribosomal scanning particle during eukaryotic translation initiation.

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Institute of Protein Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow Region 142290, Russia.


According to the model of translation initiation in eukaryotes, the 40S ribosomal subunit binds to capped 5'-end of mRNA and subsequently migrates along 5'-UTR in searching for initiation codon. However, it remains unclear whether the migration is the result of a random one-dimensional diffusion, or it is an energy-driven unidirectional movement. To address this issue, the method of continuous monitoring of protein synthesis in situ was used for high precision measurements of the times required for translation of mRNA with 5'-UTRs of different lengths and structures in mammalian and plant cell-free systems. For the first time, the relationship between the scanning time and the 5'-UTR length was determined and their linear correlation was experimentally demonstrated. The conclusion is made that the ribosome migration is an unidirectional motion with the rate being virtually independent of a particular mRNA sequence and secondary structure.

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