Conserved sequences in the β subunit of archaeal and eukaryal translation initiation factor 2 (elF2), absent from elF5, mediate interaction with elF2γ
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The eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2) binds the methionyl-initiator tRNA in a GTP-dependent mode. This complex associates with the 40 S ribosomal particle, which then, with the aid of other factors, binds to the 5' end of the mRNA and migrates to the first AUG codon, where eIF5 promotes GTP hydrolysis, followed by the formation of the 80 S ribosome. Here we provide a comparative sequence analysis of the β subunit of eIF2 and its archaeal counterpart (aIF2β). aIF2β differs from eIF2β in not possessing an N-terminal extension implicated in binding RNA, eIF5 and eIF2B. The remaining sequences are highly conserved, and are shared with eIF5. Previously isolated mutations in the yeast eIF2β, which allow initiation of translation at UUG codons due to the uncovering of an intrinsic GTPase activity in eIF2, involve residues that are conserved in aIF2β, but not in eIF5. We show that the sequence of eIF2B homologous to aIF2β is sufficient for binding eIF2γ, the only subunit with which it interacts, and comprises, at the most, 78 residues, eIF5 does not interact with eIF2γ, despite its similarity with eIF2β, probably because of a gap in homology in this region. These observations have implications for the evolution of the mechanism of translation initiation.
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