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Science  09 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5510, pp. 1861-1863
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5510.1861e

Most messenger RNAs (mRNAs) contain a 5' cap structure that serves as the recognition point for the assembly of a ribosomal initiation complex. Some viruses utilize an RNA sequence motif known as an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) to short-circuit the usual assembly pathway (see Spahn et al., Reports, this issue), and some eukaryotic mRNAs (particularly those needed during times of stress) have been found to contain an IRES, too.

Zhou et al. present evidence for a functional IRES in two yeast mRNAs, although in these cases the mechanism of ribosome recruitment may involve base pair formation with the ribosomal RNA rather than a ribosome—mRNA secondary structure interaction. Pinkstaff et al. identify an IRES in five mRNAs localized to neuronal dendrites, in which activity-dependent translation has been proposed as a mechanism for long-term changes in synaptic efficacy. — GJC

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.98, 1531 (2001); Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.98, 2770 (2001).

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