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J Virol. 1998 Jun;72(6):4775-82.

Specific interaction of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 with the 5' nontranslated regions of hepatitis C virus and classical swine fever virus RNAs.

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A. N. Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, 119899 Moscow, Russia.


Translation of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and classical swine fever virus (CSFV) RNAs is initiated by cap-independent attachment (internal entry) of ribosomes to the approximately 350-nucleotide internal ribosomal entry segment (IRES) at the 5' end of both RNAs. Eukaryotic initiation factor 3 (eIF3) binds specifically to HCV and CSFV IRESs and plays an essential role in the initiation process on them. Here we report the results of chemical and enzymatic footprinting analyses of binary eIF3-IRES complexes, which have been used to identify the eIF3 binding sites on HCV and CSFV IRESs. eIF3 protected an internal bulge in the apical stem IIIb of domain III of the CSFV IRES from chemical modification and protected bonds in and adjacent to this bulge from cleavage by RNases ONE and V1. eIF3 protected an analagous region in domain III of the HCV IRES from cleavage by these enzymes. These results are consistent with the results of primer extension analyses and were supported by observations that deletion of stem-loop IIIb or of the adjacent hairpin IIIc from the HCV IRES abrogated the binding of eIF3 to this RNA. This is the first report that eIF3 is able to bind a eukaryotic mRNA in a sequence- or structure-specific manner. UV cross-linking of eIF3 to [32P]UTP-labelled HCV and CSFV IRES elements resulted in strong labelling of 4 (p170, p116, p66, and p47) of the 10 subunits of eIF3, 1 or more of which are likely to be determinants of these interactions. In the cytoplasm, eIF3 is stoichiometrically associated with free 40S ribosomal subunits. The results presented here are consistent with a model in which binding of these two translation components to separate, specific sites on both HCV and CSFV IRESs enhances the efficiency and accuracy of binding of these RNAs to 40S subunits in an orientation that promotes entry of the initiation codon into the ribosomal P site.

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