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

Translation initiation factor 4A from Saccharomyces cerevisiae: analysis of residues conserved in the D-E-A-D family of RNA helicases.

The eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4A (eIF-4A) possesses an in vitro helicase activity that allows the unwinding of double-stranded RNA. This activity is dependent on ATP hydrolysis and the presence of another translation initiation factor, eIF-4B. These two initiation factors are thought to unwind mRNA secondary structures in preparation for ribosome binding and initiation of translation. To further characterize the function of eIF-4A in cellular translation and its interaction with other elements of the translation machinery, we have isolated mutations in the TIF1 and TIF2 genes encoding eIF-4A in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that three highly conserved domains of the D-E-A-D protein family, encoding eIF-4A and other RNA helicases, are essential for protein function. Only in rare cases could we make a conservative substitution without affecting cell growth. The mutants show a clear correlation between their growth and in vivo translation rates. One mutation that results in a temperature-sensitive phenotype reveals an immediate decrease in translation activity following a shift to the nonpermissive temperature. These in vivo results confirm previous in vitro data demonstrating an absolute dependence of translation on the TIF1 and TIF2 gene products.[1]


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