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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 287814, 12 pages
Review Article

The eIF4F and eIFiso4F Complexes of Plants: An Evolutionary Perspective

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA

Received 12 January 2012; Accepted 16 February 2012

Academic Editor: Thomas Preiss

Copyright © 2012 Ryan M. Patrick and Karen S. Browning. 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.


Translation initiation in eukaryotes requires a number of initiation factors to recruit the assembled ribosome to mRNA. The eIF4F complex plays a key role in initiation and is a common target point for regulation of protein synthesis. Most work on the translation machinery of plants to date has focused on flowering plants, which have both the eIF4F complex (eIF4E and eIF4G) as well as the plant-specific eIFiso4F complex (eIFiso4E and eIFiso4G). The increasing availability of plant genome sequence data has made it possible to trace the evolutionary history of these two complexes in plants, leading to several interesting discoveries. eIFiso4G is conserved throughout plants, while eIFiso4E only appears with the evolution of flowering plants. The eIF4G N-terminus, which has been difficult to annotate, appears to be well conserved throughout the plant lineage and contains two motifs of unknown function. Comparison of eIFiso4G and eIF4G sequence data suggests conserved features unique to eIFiso4G and eIF4G proteins. These findings have answered some questions about the evolutionary history of the two eIF4F complexes of plants, while raising new ones.