Cellular IRES-mediated translation: the war of ITAFs in pathophysiological states

Cell Cycle. 2011 Jan 15;10(2):229-40. doi: 10.4161/cc.10.2.14472. Epub 2011 Jan 15.


Translation of cellular mRNAs via initiation at Internal Ribosome Entry Sites (IRESs) has received increased attention during recent years due to its emerging significance for many physiological and pathological stress conditions in eukaryotic cells. Expression of genes bearing IRES elements in their mRNAs is controlled by multiple molecular mechanisms, with IRES-mediated translation favored under conditions when cap-dependent translation is compromised. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the field and future directions that may bring us closer to understanding the complex mechanisms that guide cellular IRES-mediated expression. We present examples in which the competitive action of IRES-transacting factors (ITAFs) plays a pivotal role in IRES-mediated translation and thereby controls cell-fate decisions leading to either pro-survival stress adaptation or cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Mitosis
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Regulatory Sequences, Ribonucleic Acid*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Regulatory Sequences, Ribonucleic Acid
  • Transcription Factors