Send to

Choose Destination
RNA. 2006 May;12(5):894-902. Epub 2006 Mar 23.

Initiation factor-independent translation mediated by the hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


The hepatitis C viral mRNA initiates translation using an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) located in the 5' noncoding region of the viral genome. At physiological magnesium ion concentrations, the HCV IRES forms a binary complex with the 40S ribosomal subunit, recruits initiation factor eIF3 and the ternary eIF2/GTP/Met-tRNA(i)Met complex, and joins 60S subunits to assemble translation-competent 80S ribosomes. Here we show that in the presence of 5 mM MgCl2, the HCV IRES can initiate translation by an alternative mechanism that does not require known initiation factors. Specifically, the HCV IRES was shown to initiate translation in a reconstituted system consisting only of purified 40S and 60S subunits, elongation factors, and aminoacylated tRNAs at high magnesium concentration. Analyses of assembled complexes supported a mechanism by which preformed 80S ribosomes can assemble directly on the HCV IRES at high cation concentrations. This mechanism is reminiscent of that employed by the divergent IRES elements in the Dicistroviridae, exemplified by the cricket paralysis virus, which mediates initiation of protein synthesis without initiator tRNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center