Before It Gets Started: Regulating Translation at the 5' UTR

Comp Funct Genomics. 2012;2012:475731. doi: 10.1155/2012/475731. Epub 2012 May 28.


Translation regulation plays important roles in both normal physiological conditions and diseases states. This regulation requires cis-regulatory elements located mostly in 5' and 3' UTRs and trans-regulatory factors (e.g., RNA binding proteins (RBPs)) which recognize specific RNA features and interact with the translation machinery to modulate its activity. In this paper, we discuss important aspects of 5' UTR-mediated regulation by providing an overview of the characteristics and the function of the main elements present in this region, like uORF (upstream open reading frame), secondary structures, and RBPs binding motifs and different mechanisms of translation regulation and the impact they have on gene expression and human health when deregulated.