Shelley R. Starck, "An Unexpected Road to the Proteome: Unconventional Translation Initiation with Leucine-tRNA"

Nov 15, 2012 (Thu) | 12:00 PM -2:00 PM
Clark Center Auditorium, 318 Campus Drive : Stanford, CA

Abstract: The ribosome recognizes non-AUG start codons to initiate synthesis of proteins, of antigenic peptides presented by MHC class I molecules (pMHC I), and comprise the dominant initiation events in mammalian 5’-untranslated regions. Yet, even at non-AUG start codons the long-standing model of translation indicates that only one initiator tRNA, Met-tRNAiMet, functions at the initiation step of translation. We describe, however, an unconventional translation initiation event that allows CUG start codons to utilize a leucine-bound tRNA to initiate translation of antigenic precursors. CUG/leucine initiation represents a distinct translation mechanism that can function independently of the classical AUG/eIF2•Met-tRNAiMet pathway, yet requires expression of the non-canonical eukaryotic initiation factor 2A (eIF2A). Thus, a tRNA-based translation initiation mechanism directs non-AUG-initiated protein synthesis and supplies peptides for presentation by MHC class I molecules. These results support the notion that unanticipated and diverse translational mechanisms exist to shape the proteome.

Department:  Biology

Contact: May Chin | 650-725-1827 |


  • Shelley R. Starck UC Berkeley