The eIF1A solution structure reveals a large RNA-binding surface important for scanning function

Mol Cell. 2000 Jan;5(1):109-19. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80407-4.


The translation initiation factor eIF1A is necessary for directing the 43S preinitiation complex from the 5' end of the mRNA to the initiation codon in a process termed scanning. We have determined the solution structure of human eIF1A, which reveals an oligonucleotide-binding (OB) fold and an additional domain. NMR titration experiments showed that eIF1A binds single-stranded RNA oligonucleotides in a site-specific, but non-sequence-specific manner, hinting at an mRNA interaction rather than specific rRNA or tRNA binding. The RNA binding surface extends over a large area covering the canonical OB fold binding site as well as a groove leading to the second domain. Site-directed mutations at multiple positions along the RNA-binding surface were defective in the ability to properly assemble preinitiation complexes at the AUG codon in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Archaea
  • Bacteria
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Codon
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-1*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Oligoribonucleotides / chemistry*
  • Oligoribonucleotides / metabolism
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / chemistry*
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / metabolism*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Solutions
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Codon
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-1
  • Oligoribonucleotides
  • Peptide Initiation Factors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Solutions
  • eukaryotic peptide initiation factor-1A

Associated data

  • PDB/1D7Q