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Structure. 1998 Sep 15;6(9):1207-14.

Structure of translation initiation factor 5A from Pyrobaculum aerophilum at 1.75 A resolution.

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Life Sciences Division Los Alamos National Laboratory Mail Stop M888, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87545, USA



Translation initiation factor 5A (IF-5A) is reported to be involved in the first step of peptide bond formation in translation, to be involved in cell-cycle regulation and to be a cofactor for the Rev and Rex transactivator proteins of human immunodeficiency virus-1 and T-cell leukemia virus I, respectively. IF-5A contains an unusual amino acid, hypusine (N-epsilon-(4-aminobutyl-2-hydroxy)lysine), that is required for its function. The first step in the post-translational modification of lysine to hypusine is catalyzed by the enzyme deoxyhypusine synthase, the structure of which has been published recently.


IF-5A from the archebacterium Pyrobaculum aerophilum has been heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli with selenomethionine substitution. The crystal structure of IF-5A has been determined by multiwavelength anomalous diffraction and refined to 1.75 A. Unmodified P. aerophilum IF-5A is found to be a beta structure with two domains and three separate hydrophobic cores.


The lysine (Lys42) that is post-translationally modified by deoxyhypusine synthase is found at one end of the IF-5A molecule in an turn between beta strands beta4 and beta5; this lysine residue is freely solvent accessible. The C-terminal domain is found to be homologous to the cold-shock protein CspA of E. coli, which has a well characterized RNA-binding fold, suggesting that IF-5A is involved in RNA binding.

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