, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 179-202
Date: 24 Jul 2013

Role of RNA Structure Motifs in IRES-Dependent Translation Initiation of the Coxsackievirus B3: New Insights for Developing Live-Attenuated Strains for Vaccines and Gene Therapy

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Internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements are highly structured RNA sequences that function to recruit ribosomes for the initiation of translation. In contrast to the canonical cap-binding, the mechanism of IRES-mediated translation initiation is still poorly understood. Translation initiation of the coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), a causative agent of viral myocarditis, has been shown to be mediated by a highly ordered structure of the 5′ untranslated region (5′UTR), which harbors an IRES. Taking into account that efficient initiation of mRNA translation depends on temporally and spatially orchestrated sequence of RNA–protein and RNA–RNA interactions, and that, at present, little is known about these interactions, we aimed to describe recent advances in our understanding of molecular structures and biochemical functions of the translation initiation process. Thus, this review will explore the IRES elements as important RNA structures and the significance of these structures in providing an alternative mechanism of translation initiation of the CVB3 RNA. Since translation initiation is the first intracellular step during the CVB3 infection cycle, the IRES region provides an ideal target for antiviral therapies. Interestingly, the 5′ and 3′UTRs represent promising candidates for the study of CVB3 cardiovirulence and provide new insights for developing live-attenuated vaccines.

Amira Souii and Manel Ben M’hadheb-Gharbi contributed equally to this work.