Reference: Abastado JP, et al. (1991) A quantitative model for translational control of the GCN4 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. New Biol 3(5):511-24

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Abstract


Expression of the GCN4 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is regulated at the translational level by short open reading frames (uORFs) present in the leader sequence of its mRNA. Under conditions of amino acid sufficiency, these sequences restrict the flow of initiating ribosomes to the GCN4 AUG start codon. Mutational analysis of GCN4 has led to a model in which ribosomes must translate the 5'-proximal uORF1 and reassemble an initiation complex in order to translate GCN4. This reassembly process is thought to be rapid when amino acids are abundant, such that reinitiation occurs at uORF2, uORF3, or uORF4. Reinitiation at these sites prevents translation of GCN4, presumably because ribosomes dissociate from the mRNA following termination at uORFs 2 to 4. Because of reduced initiation factor activity under starvation conditions, a substantial fraction of ribosomal subunits scanning downstream from uORF1 are not ready to reinitiate when they reach uORFs 2 to 4, but become competent to do so while scanning the additional sequences between uORF4 and GCN4. Examination of the effects of point mutations in the ATG codons of the different uORFs suggests a quantitative model for this control mechanism that describes the probability of reinitiation as a function of the distance scanned downstream from uORF1. This model accounts for the phenotypes of a number of deletion and insertion mutations that alter the intercistronic spacing between the uORFs and GCN4. The correspondence between observed and predicted results implies that the differential rates of reinitiation at GCN4 versus uORFs 2 to 4 are determined largely by the different scanning times required to reach each of these start sites following translation of uORF1. In addition, it supports the notion that an increased scanning-time requirement for reinitiation in amino acid-starved cells forms the basis for translational derepression of GCN4 expression.

Reference Type
Journal Article
Authors
Abastado JP, Miller PF, Hinnebusch AG
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