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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2012, Article ID 475731, 8 pages
Review Article

Before It Gets Started: Regulating Translation at the 5′ UTR

1Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute, UTHSCSA, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA
2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UTHSCSA, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA
3Department of Management Science and Statistics, UTSA, San Antonio, TX 78249-0631, USA
4Molecular and Computational Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2910, USA
5Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, UTHSCSA, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA

Received 2 January 2012; Revised 22 February 2012; Accepted 11 March 2012

Academic Editor: Thomas Preiss

Copyright © 2012 Patricia R. Araujo et al. 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 regulation plays important roles in both normal physiological conditions and diseases states. This regulation requires cis-regulatory elements located mostly in 5′ and 3′ UTRs and trans-regulatory factors (e.g., RNA binding proteins (RBPs)) which recognize specific RNA features and interact with the translation machinery to modulate its activity. In this paper, we discuss important aspects of 5′ UTR-mediated regulation by providing an overview of the characteristics and the function of the main elements present in this region, like uORF (upstream open reading frame), secondary structures, and RBPs binding motifs and different mechanisms of translation regulation and the impact they have on gene expression and human health when deregulated.