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RNA Biol. 2015;12(10):1083-7. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2015.1085149. Epub 2015 Sep 1.

Cis-regulatory RNA elements that regulate specialized ribosome activity.

Xue S1,2, Barna M1,2.

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a Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University ; Stanford , CA USA.
b Department of Genetics, Stanford University ; Stanford , CA USA.


Recent evidence has shown that the ribosome itself can play a highly regulatory role in the specialized translation of specific subpools of mRNAs, in particular at the level of ribosomal proteins (RP). However, the mechanism(s) by which this selection takes place has remained poorly understood. In our recent study, we discovered a combination of unique RNA elements in the 5'UTRs of mRNAs that allows for such control by the ribosome. These mRNAs contain a Translation Inhibitory Element (TIE) that inhibits general cap-dependent translation, and an Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) that relies on a specific RP for activation. The unique combination of an inhibitor of general translation and an activator of specialized translation is key to ribosome-mediated control of gene expression. Here we discuss how these RNA regulatory elements provide a new level of control to protein expression and their implications for gene expression, organismal development and evolution.


5′UTR; IRES; RNA element; specialized ribosome; translation; translational inhibitory element

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