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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 14, Issue 7, Pages 603-616

Applications of Recombinant DNA Technology in Gastrointestinal Medicine and Hepatology: Basic Paradigms of Molecular Cell Biology. Part C: Protein Synthesis and Post-Translational Processing in Eukaryotic Cells

Gary E Wild,1 Patrizia Papalia,1 Mark J Ropeleski,1 Julio Faria,1 and Alan BR Thomson2

1Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, McGill University Health Centre, and McGill University Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Program, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Received 23 March 1999; Revised 15 July 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The translation of mRNA constitutes the first step in the synthesis of a functional protein. The polypeptide chain is subsequently folded into the appropriate three-dimensional configuration and undergoes a variety of processing steps before being converted into its active form. These processing steps are intimately related to the cellular events that occur in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi compartments, and determine the sorting and transport of different proteins to their appropriate destinations within the cell. While the regulation of gene expression occurs primarily at the level of transcription, the expression of many genes can also be controlled at the level of translation. Most proteins can be regulated in response to extracellular signals. In addition, intracellular protein levels can be controlled by differential rates of protein degradation. Thus, the regulation of both the amounts and activities of intracellular proteins ultimately determines all aspects of cell behaviour.