Regulation of Translation Initiation by RNA Binding Proteins

Annual Review of Microbiology

Vol. 63:27-44 (Volume publication date 13 October 2009)
First published online as a Review in Advance on April 22, 2009


RNA binding proteins are capable of regulating translation initiation by a variety of mechanisms. Although the vast majority of these regulatory mechanisms involve translational repression, one example of translational activation has been characterized in detail. The RNA recognition targets of these regulatory proteins exhibit a wide range in structural complexity, with some proteins recognizing complex pseudoknot structures and others binding to simple RNA hairpins and/or short repeated single-stranded sequences. In some instances the bound protein directly competes with ribosome binding, and in other instances the bound protein promotes formation of an RNA structure that inhibits ribosome binding. Examples also exist in which the bound protein traps the ribosome in a complex that is incapable of initiating translation.