eIF3: a versatile scaffold for translation initiation complexes

Trends Biochem Sci. 2006 Oct;31(10):553-62. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2006.08.005. Epub 2006 Aug 22.


Translation initiation in eukaryotes depends on many eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) that stimulate both recruitment of the initiator tRNA, Met-tRNA(i)(Met), and mRNA to the 40S ribosomal subunit and subsequent scanning of the mRNA for the AUG start codon. The largest of these initiation factors, the eIF3 complex, organizes a web of interactions among several eIFs that assemble on the 40S subunit and participate in the different reactions involved in translation. Structural analysis suggests that eIF3 performs this scaffolding function by binding to the 40S subunit on its solvent-exposed surface rather than on its interface with the 60S subunit, where the decoding sites exist. This location of eIF3 seems ideally suited for its other proposed regulatory functions, including reinitiating translation on polycistronic mRNAs and acting as a receptor for protein kinases that control protein synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-3 / chemistry*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-3 / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-3 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptide Chain Initiation, Translational / physiology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-3