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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A mammalian sequence-dependent upstream open reading frame mediates polyamine-regulated translation in yeast.

In mammals, control of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (AdoMetDC) translation is one component of a feedback network that regulates intracellular levels of the polyamines, spermidine, and spermine. AdoMetDC mRNA from mammals contains a highly conserved upstream open reading frame (uORF) within its leader sequence that confers polyamine-regulated suppression of translation on the associated downstream cistron. This regulation is mediated through an interaction that depends on the amino acid sequence of the uORF-encoded hexapeptide. It remains to be shown whether polyamines participate directly in this interaction or indirectly through a specialized signal transduction pathway. We show that Saccharomyces cerevisiae does not have a uORF associated with its AdoMetDC gene (SPE2) and that ribosome loading on the SPE2 mRNA is not positively influenced by polyamine depletion, as it is in mammalian cells. Nevertheless, the mammalian AdoMetDC uORF, when introduced into a polyamine auxotroph of yeast, conferred polyamine regulation of both translational efficiency and ribosome loading on the associated mRNA. This regulatory activity depended on the amino acid sequence encoded by the fourth and fifth codons of the uORF, as in mammalian cells. The fact that the regulatory properties of this mammalian translational control element are quite similar in both mammalian and yeast cells suggests that a specialized signal transduction pathway is not required. Rather, it seems likely that polyamines may be directly participating in an interaction between the uORF-encoded peptide and a constitutive component of the translation machinery, which leads to inhibition of ribosome activity.[1]


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