Translational initiation of the human BiP mRNA is directed by an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) located in the 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR). In order to understand the mechanism of the IRES-dependent translation of BiP mRNA, cellular proteins interacting with the BiP IRES were investigated. La autoantigen, which augments the translation of polioviral mRNA and hepatitis C viral mRNA, bound specifically to the second half of the 5′-UTR of the BiP IRES and enhanced translation of BiP mRNA in both in vitro and in vivo assays. This finding suggests that cellular and viral IRESs containing very different RNA sequences may share a common mechanism of translation.
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