Translation initiation and viral tricks

Trends Biochem Sci. 2003 Mar;28(3):130-6. doi: 10.1016/S0968-0004(03)00029-X.


A variety of viral strategies are utilized for dominance of the host-cell protein synthetic machinery, optimization of viral mRNA translation and evasion of host-cell antiviral responses that act at the translational level. Many viruses exploit regulated steps in the initiation of cellular protein synthesis to their own advantage. They have developed some rather unconventional means for mRNA translation, which were probably adapted from specialized cellular mRNA translation systems. Regardless of the type of translational tricks exploited, viruses typically ensure efficient viral translation, often at the expense of host-cell protein synthesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Models, Genetic
  • Peptide Chain Initiation, Translational*
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Viruses / genetics*
  • Viruses / metabolism


  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA, Messenger