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  Studies of cap-independent mRNA translation in Drosophila melanogaster

Vazquez-Pianzola, P. (2004). Studies of cap-independent mRNA translation in Drosophila melanogaster. PhD Thesis, Universität Kassel, Kassel, Germany.

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Vazquez-Pianzola, P.1, Author              
1Department of Molecular Biology, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society, ou_578628              


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 Abstract: Control of protein synthesis is a key step in the regulation of gene expression during apoptosis and the heat shock response. Under such conditions, cap-dependent translation is impaired and Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES)-dependent translation plays a major role in mammalian cells. Although the role of IRES-dependent translation during apoptosis has been mainly studied in mammals, its role in the translation of Drosophila apoptotic genes has not been yet studied. The observation that the Drosophila mutant embryos for the cap-binding protein, the eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E, exhibits increased apoptosis in correlation with up-regulated proapoptotic gene reaper (rpr) transcription constitutes the first evidence for the existence of a cap-independent mechanism for the translation of Drosophila proapoptotic genes. The mechanism of translation of rpr and other proapoptotic genes was investigated in this work. We found that the 5’UTR of rpr mRNA drives translation in an IRES-dependent manner. It promotes the translation of reporter RNAs in vitro either in the absence of cap, in the presence of cap competitors, or in extracts derived from heat shocked and eIF4E mutant embryos and in vivo in cells transfected with reporters bearing a non-functional cap structure, indicating that cap recognition is not required in rpr mRNA for translation. We also show that rpr mRNA 5’UTR exhibits a high degree of similarity with that of Drosophila heat shock protein 70 mRNA (hsp70), an antagonist of apoptosis, and that both are able to conduct IRES-mediated translation. The proapoptotic genes head involution defective (hid) and grim, but not sickle, also display IRES activity. Studies of mRNA association to polysomes in embryos indicate that both rpr, hsp70, hid and grim endogenous mRNAs are recruited to polysomes in embryos in which apoptosis or thermal stress was induced. We conclude that hsp70 and, on the other hand, rpr, hid and grim which are antagonizing factors during apoptosis, use a similar mechanism for protein synthesis. The outcome for the cell would thus depend on which protein is translated under a given stress condition. Factors involved in the differential translation driven by these IRES could play an important role. For this purpose, we undertook the identification of the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes assembled onto the 5’UTR of rpr mRNA. We established a tobramycin-affinity-selection protocol that allows the purification of specific RNP that can be further analyzed by mass spectrometry. Several RNA binding proteins were identified as part of the rpr 5´UTR RNP complex, some of which have been related to IRES activity. The involvement of one of them, the La antigen, in the translation of rpr mRNA, was established by RNA-crosslinking experiments using recombinant protein and rpr 5´UTR and by the analysis of the translation efficiency of reporter mRNAs in Drosophila cells after knock down of the endogenous La by RNAi experiments. Several uncharacterized proteins were also identified, suggesting that they might play a role during translation, during the assembly of the translational machinery or in the priming of the mRNA before ribosome recognition. Our data provide evidence for the involvement of La antigen in the translation of rpr mRNA and set a protocol for purification of tagged-RNAprotein complexes from cytoplasmic extracts. To further understand the mechanisms of translation initiation in Drosophila, we analyzed the role of eIF4B on cap-dependent and cap-independent translation. We showed that eIF4B is mostly involved in cap-, but not IRES-dependent translation as it happens in mammals.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2005-01-172004-12-23
 Publication Status: Accepted / In Press
 Pages: 135pp.
 Publishing info: Kassel, Germany : Universität Kassel
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Degree: PhD



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