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The multisubunit eukaryotic initiation factor 3 (eIF3) plays multiple roles in translation but is poorly understood in trypanosomes. The putative subunits eIF3a and eIF3f of Trypanosoma brucei (TbIF3a and TbIF3f) were overexpressed and purified, and 11 subunits were identified, TbIF3a through l minus j, which form a tight complex. Both TbIF3a and TbIF3f are essential for the viability of T. brucei RNAi knockdown of either of them severely reduced total translation and the ratio of the polysome/80S peak area. TbIF3f and TbIF3a RNAi cell lines were modified to express tagged-TbIF3a and -TbIF3f, respectively. RNAi in combination with affinity purification assays indicated that both subunits are variably required for TbIF3 stability and integrity. The relative abundance of other subunits in the TbIF3f-tag complex changed little upon TbIF3a depletion; while only subunits TbIF3b, i, and e copurified comparably with TbIF3a-tag upon TbIF3f depletion. A genome-wide UV-crosslinking assay showed that several TbIF3 subunits have direct RNA-binding activity, with TbIF3c showing the strongest signal. In addition, CrPV IRES, but neither EMCV IRES nor HCV IRES, was found to mediate translation in T. brucei These results together imply that the structure of TbIF3 and the subunits function have trypanosome-specific features, although the composition is evolutionarily conserved. © 2017 Li et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.


Kunrao Li, Shuru Zhou, Qixuan Guo, Xin Chen, De-Hua Lai, Zhao-Rong Lun, Xuemin Guo. The eIF3 complex of Trypanosoma brucei: composition conservation does not imply the conservation of structural assembly and subunits function. RNA (New York, N.Y.). 2017 Mar;23(3):333-345

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PMID: 27932584

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