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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2012, Article ID 406357, 8 pages
Review Article

Regulation of Translation Initiation under Abiotic Stress Conditions in Plants: Is It a Conserved or Not so Conserved Process among Eukaryotes?

1Departamento de Genética Molecular de Plantas, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC, 28049 Madrid, Spain
2Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas, INIA-UPM, Campus de Montegancedo, 28223 Madrid, Spain

Received 23 December 2011; Accepted 8 February 2012

Academic Editor: Greco Hernández

Copyright © 2012 Alfonso Muñoz and M. Mar Castellano. 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.


For years, the study of gene expression regulation of plants in response to stress conditions has been focused mainly on the analysis of transcriptional changes. However, the knowledge on translational regulation is very scarce in these organisms, despite in plants, as in the rest of the eukaryotes, translational regulation has been proven to play a pivotal role in the response to different stresses. Regulation of protein synthesis under abiotic stress was thought to be a conserved process, since, in general, both the translation factors and the translation process are basically similar in eukaryotes. However, this conservation is not so clear in plants as the knowledge of the mechanisms that control translation is very poor. Indeed, some of the basic regulators of translation initiation, well characterised in other systems, are still to be identified in plants. In this paper we will focus on both the regulation of different initiation factors and the mechanisms that cellular mRNAs use to bypass the translational repression established under abiotic stresses. For this purpose, we will review the knowledge from different eukaryotes but paying special attention to the information that has been recently published in plants.