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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Mar 16;46(5):2678-2689. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky054.

Structure of a human cap-dependent 48S translation pre-initiation complex.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Grenoble Outstation, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, 38042 Grenoble, France.
ETH Zürich, Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, Auguste-Piccard-Hof 1, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.
Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, 119991 Moscow, Russia.
Faculty of Science, University of Zürich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


Eukaryotic translation initiation is tightly regulated, requiring a set of conserved initiation factors (eIFs). Translation of a capped mRNA depends on the trimeric eIF4F complex and eIF4B to load the mRNA onto the 43S pre-initiation complex comprising 40S and initiation factors 1, 1A, 2, 3 and 5 as well as initiator-tRNA. Binding of the mRNA is followed by mRNA scanning in the 48S pre-initiation complex, until a start codon is recognised. Here, we use a reconstituted system to prepare human 48S complexes assembled on capped mRNA in the presence of eIF4B and eIF4F. The highly purified h-48S complexes are used for cross-linking/mass spectrometry, revealing the protein interaction network in this complex. We report the electron cryo-microscopy structure of the h-48S complex at 6.3 Å resolution. While the majority of eIF4B and eIF4F appear to be flexible with respect to the ribosome, additional density is detected at the entrance of the 40S mRNA channel which we attribute to the RNA-recognition motif of eIF4B. The eight core subunits of eIF3 are bound at the 40S solvent-exposed side, as well as the subunits eIF3d, eIF3b and eIF3i. elF2 and initiator-tRNA bound to the start codon are present at the 40S intersubunit side. This cryo-EM structure represents a molecular snap-shot revealing the h-48S complex following start codon recognition.

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