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The role of 5′-leader length, secondary structure and PABP concentration on cap and poly(A) tail function during translation in Xenopus oocytes

By Daniel R. Gallie, Jun Ling, Mario Niepel, Simon J. Morley and Virginia M. Pain


The 5′-cap structure and poly(A) tail of eukaryotic mRNAs function synergistically to promote translation initiation through a physical interaction between the proteins that bind to these regulatory elements. In this study, we have examined the effect of leader length and the presence of secondary structure on the translational competence and the function of the cap and poly(A) tail for mRNAs microinjected into Xenopus oocytes. Increasing the length of the 5′-leader from 17 to 144 nt resulted in a 2- to 4-fold increase in expression from an mRNA containing an unstructured leader but increased expression up to 20-fold for an mRNA containing 5′-proximal structure. Consequently, the presence of secondary structure was less inhibitory for those mRNAs with a longer 5′-leader. Co-injection of poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) mRNA increased the function of the cap and poly(A) tail in promoting translation from poly(A)+ but not poly(A)– mRNAs, particularly for mRNAs containing secondary structure. In the absence of an internal ribosome entry site, expression from the distal cistron of a dicistronic mRNA increased as a function of the length of the intercistronic region and the concentration of PABP. The inhibitory effect of intercistronic located secondary structure on translation was position-dependent. Indeed, the effect of secondary structure was abolished if positioned 134 nt upstream of the distal cistron. These data suggest that the length of a leader, the presence of secondary structure and the concentration of PABP determine the extent to which the cap and poly(A) tail regulate translation

Topics: Article
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:102682
Provided by: PubMed Central
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