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Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2014 May-Jun;5(3):301-15. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1212. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

Translational reprogramming in cellular stress response.

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Graduate Field of Genetics, Genomics, and Development, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Cell survival in changing environments requires appropriate regulation of gene expression, including translational control. Multiple stress signaling pathways converge on several key translation factors, such as eIF4F and eIF2, and rapidly modulate messenger RNA (mRNA) translation at both the initiation and the elongation stages. Repression of global protein synthesis is often accompanied with selective translation of mRNAs encoding proteins that are vital for cell survival and stress recovery. The past decade has seen significant progress in our understanding of translational reprogramming in part due to the development of technologies that allow the dissection of the interplay between mRNA elements and corresponding binding proteins. Recent genome-wide studies using ribosome profiling have revealed unprecedented proteome complexity and flexibility through alternative translation, raising intriguing questions about stress-induced translational reprogramming. Many surprises emerged from these studies, including wide-spread alternative translation initiation, ribosome pausing during elongation, and reversible modification of mRNAs. Elucidation of the regulatory mechanisms underlying translational reprogramming will ultimately lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for human diseases.

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