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Genes Dev. 2016 Jul 1;30(13):1573-88. doi: 10.1101/gad.282418.116.

Toward the mechanism of eIF4F-mediated ribosomal attachment to mammalian capped mRNAs.

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Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11203, USA.


Ribosomal attachment to mammalian capped mRNAs is achieved through the cap-eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-eIF4G-eIF3-40S chain of interactions, but the mechanism by which mRNA enters the mRNA-binding channel of the 40S subunit remains unknown. To investigate this process, we recapitulated initiation on capped mRNAs in vitro using a reconstituted translation system. Formation of initiation complexes at 5'-terminal AUGs was stimulated by the eIF4E-cap interaction and followed "the first AUG" rule, indicating that it did not occur by backward scanning. Initiation complexes formed even at the very 5' end of mRNA, implying that Met-tRNAi (Met) inspects mRNA from the first nucleotide and that initiation does not have a "blind spot." In assembled initiation complexes, the cap was no longer associated with eIF4E. Omission of eIF4A or disruption of eIF4E-eIF4G-eIF3 interactions converted eIF4E into a specific inhibitor of initiation on capped mRNAs. Taken together, these results are consistent with the model in which eIF4E-eIF4G-eIF3-40S interactions place eIF4E at the leading edge of the 40S subunit, and mRNA is threaded into the mRNA-binding channel such that Met-tRNAi (Met) can inspect it from the first nucleotide. Before entering, eIF4E likely dissociates from the cap to overcome steric hindrance. We also found that the m(7)G cap specifically interacts with eIF3l.


40S ribosomal subunit; eIF3l; eIF4E; eIF4F; eukaryotic translation initiation; m7G

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