The mechanism of eukaryotic translation initiation: new insights and challenges

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2012 Oct 1;4(10):a011544. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a011544.


Translation initiation in eukaryotes is a highly regulated and complex stage of gene expression. It requires the action of at least 12 initiation factors, many of which are known to be the targets of regulatory pathways. Here we review our current understanding of the molecular mechanics of eukaryotic translation initiation, focusing on recent breakthroughs from in vitro and in vivo studies. We also identify important unanswered questions that will require new ideas and techniques to solve.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Peptide Chain Initiation, Translational / physiology*
  • Ribosome Subunits / genetics
  • Ribosome Subunits / metabolism
  • Ribosome Subunits / physiology
  • Ribosomes / genetics
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / physiology


  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors