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The role of eIF1 in translation initiation codon selection in Caenorhabditis elegans

Abstract : The selection of a proper AUG start codon requires the base-pairing interactions between the codon on the mRNA and the anticodon of the initiator tRNA. This selection process occurs in a pre-initiation complex that includes multiple translation initiation factors and the small ribosomal subunit. To study how these initiation factors are involved in start codon recognition in multicellular organisms, we isolated mutants that allow the expression of a GFP reporter containing a non-AUG start codon. Here we describe the characterization of mutations in eif-1, which encodes the Caenorhabditis elegans translation initiation factor 1 (eIF1). Two mutations were identified, both of which are substitutions of amino acid residues that are identical in all eukaryotic eIF1 proteins. These residues are located in a structural region where the amino acid residues affected by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae eIF1 mutations are also localized. Both C. elegans mutations are dominant in conferring a non-AUG translation initiation phenotype and lead to growth arrest defects in homozygous animals. By assaying reporter constructs that have base changes at the AUG start codon, these mutants are found to allow expression from most reporters that carry single base changes within the AUG codon. This trend of non-AUG mediated initiation was also observed previously for C. elegans eIF2 beta mutants, indicating that these two factors play a similar role. These results support that eIF1 functions in ensuring the fidelity of AUG start codon recognition in a multicellular organism.
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L. L. Maduzia, A. Moreau, Nausicaa Poullet, S. Chaffre, y. Zhang. The role of eIF1 in translation initiation codon selection in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics, Genetics Society of America, 2010, 186 (4), pp.1187-1196. ⟨10.1534/genetics.110.121541⟩. ⟨hal-02662086⟩



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