Table of Contents
New Journal of Science
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 873084, 16 pages
Review Article

Insights from a Paradigm Shift: How the Poly(A)-Binding Protein Brings Translating mRNAs Full Circle

Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0129, USA

Received 18 May 2014; Accepted 5 July 2014; Published 18 August 2014

Academic Editor: Yuri L. Lyubchenko

Copyright © 2014 Daniel R. Gallie. 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.


In recent years, our thinking of how the initiation of protein synthesis occurs has changed dramatically. Initiation was thought to involve only events occurring at or near the 5′-cap structure, which serves as the binding site for the cap-binding complex, a group of translation initiation factors (eIFs) that facilitate the binding of the 40 S ribosomal subunit to an mRNA. Because the poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) binds the poly(A) tail present at the 3′-terminus of an mRNA, it was long thought to play no role in translation initiation. In this review, I present evidence from my laboratory that has contributed to the paradigm shift in how we think of mRNAs during translation. The depiction of mRNAs as straight molecules in which the poly(A) tail is far from events occurring at the 5′-end has now been replaced by the concept of a circular mRNA where the interaction between PABP and the cap-binding complex bridges the termini of an mRNA and promotes translation initiation. The research from my laboratory supports the new paradigm that translation of most mRNAs requires a functional and physical interaction between the termini of an mRNA.