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Recognition of the translation initiation codon is thought to require dissociation of eIF1 from the 40 S ribosomal subunit, enabling irreversible GTP hydrolysis (Pi release) by the eIF2·GTP·Met-tRNAi ternary complex (TC), rearrangement of the 40 S subunit to a closed conformation incompatible with scanning, and stable binding of Met-tRNAi to the P site. The crystal structure of a Tetrahymena 40 S·eIF1 complex revealed several basic amino acids in eIF1 contacting 18 S rRNA, and we tested the prediction that their counterparts in yeast eIF1 are required to prevent premature eIF1 dissociation from scanning ribosomes at non-AUG triplets. Supporting this idea, substituting Lys-60 in helix α1, or either Lys-37 or Arg-33 in β-hairpin loop-1, impairs binding of yeast eIF1 to 40 S·eIF1A complexes in vitro, and it confers increased initiation at UUG codons (Sui(-) phenotype) or lethality, in a manner suppressed by overexpressing the mutant proteins or by an eIF1A mutation (17-21) known to impede eIF1 dissociation in vitro. The eIF1 Sui(-) mutations also derepress translation of GCN4 mRNA, indicating impaired ternary complex loading, and this Gcd(-) phenotype is likewise suppressed by eIF1 overexpression or the 17-21 mutation. These findings indicate that direct contacts of eIF1 with 18 S rRNA seen in the Tetrahymena 40 S·eIF1 complex are crucial in yeast to stabilize the open conformation of the 40 S subunit and are required for rapid TC loading and ribosomal scanning and to impede rearrangement to the closed complex at non-AUG codons. Finally, we implicate the unstructured N-terminal tail of eIF1 in blocking rearrangement to the closed conformation in the scanning preinitiation complex.


Pilar Martin-Marcos, Jagpreet Nanda, Rafael E Luna, Gerhard Wagner, Jon R Lorsch, Alan G Hinnebusch. β-Hairpin loop of eukaryotic initiation factor 1 (eIF1) mediates 40 S ribosome binding to regulate initiator tRNA(Met) recruitment and accuracy of AUG selection in vivo. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2013 Sep 20;288(38):27546-27562

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PMID: 23893413

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