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Viral mRNAs that lack a 5 m 7 GTP cap and a 3 poly-A tail rely on structural elements in their untranslated regions (UTRs) to form unique RNA-protein complexes that regulate viral translation. Recent studies of the barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) have revealed eukaryotic initiation factor 3 (eIF3) plays a significant role in facilitating communication be- tween its 5 and 3 UTRs by binding both UTRs simultaneously. This report uses in vitro translation assays, fluorescence anisotropy binding assays, and selective 2 -hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer ex-tension (SHAPE) footprinting to identify secondary structures that are selectively interacting with eIF3. SHAPE data also show that eIF3 alters its interaction with BYDV structures when another factor crucial for BYDV translation, eIF4F, is introduced by the 3 BYDV translational enhancer (BTE). The observed BTE and eIF4F-induced shift of eIF3 position on the 5’ UTR and the translational effects of altering eIF3-binding structures (SLC and SLII) support a new model for BYDV translation initiation that requires the reorientation of eIF3 on BYDV UTRs. This eIF3 function in BYDV translation initiation is both reminiscent of and distinct from eIF3–RNA interactions found in other non-canonically translating mRNAs (e.g. HCV). This characterization of a new role in translation initiation expands the known functionality of eIF3 and may be broadly applicable to other non-canonically translating mRNAs.


This work was originally published in Nucleic Acids Research, available at

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