Transient expression of cellular polypyrimidine-tract binding protein stimulates cap-independent translation directed by both picornaviral and flaviviral internal ribosome entry sites in vivo

Rainer Gosert, Ki Ha Chang, Rene Rijnbrand, Minkyung Yi, David V. Sangar, Stanley M. Lemon

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104 Scopus citations


The regulation of cap-independent translation directed by the internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) present in some viral and cellular RNAs is poorly understood. Polypyrimidine-tract binding protein (PTB) binds specifically to several viral IRESs. IRES-directed translation may be reduced in cell-free systems that are depleted of PTB and restored by reconstitution of lysates with recombinant PTB. However, there are no data concerning the effects of PTB on IRES-directed translation in vivo. We transfected cells with plasmids expressing dicistronic transcripts in which the upstream cistron encoded PTB or PTB deletion mutants (including a null mutant lacking amino acid residues 87 to 531). The downstream cistron encoded a reporter protein (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase [CAT]) under translational control of the poliovirus IRES which was placed within the intercistronic space. In transfected BS-C-1 cells, transcripts expressing wild-type PTB produced 12- fold more reporter protein than similar transcripts encoding the PTB null mutant. There was a 2.4-fold difference in CAT produced from these transcripts in HeLa cells, which contain a greater natural abundance of PTB. PTB similarly stimulated CAT production from transcripts containing the IRES of hepatitis A virus or hepatitis C virus in BS-C-1 cells and Huh-7 cells (37- to 44-fold increase and 5 to 5.3-fold increase, respectively). Since PTB had no quantitative or qualitative effect on transcription from these plasmids, we conclude that PTB stimulates translation of representative picornaviral and flaviviral RNAs in vivo. This is likely to reflect the stabilization of higher ordered RNA structures within the IRES and was not observed with PTB mutants lacking RNA recognition motifs located in the C- terminal third of the molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1583-1595
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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