2Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
3Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Gubkina 3, 119991 Moscow, Russia
4Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received June 30, 2014
More than 40% of human genes contain upstream open reading frames (uORF) in their 5′-untranslated regions (5′-UTRs) and at the same time express at least one truncated mRNA isoform containing no uORF. We studied translational regulation by four uORFs found in the 5′-UTR of full-length mRNA for SLAMF1, the gene encoding CD150 membrane protein. CD150 is a member of the CD2 superfamily, a costimulatory lymphocyte receptor, a receptor for measles virus, and a microbial sensor on macrophages. The SLAMF1 gene produces at least two mRNA isoforms that differ in their 5′-UTRs. In the long isoform of the SLAMF1 mRNA that harbors four uORFs in the 5′-UTR, the stop codon of uORF4 overlaps with the AUG codon of the main ORF forming a potential termination–reinitiation site UGAUG, while uORF2 and uORF3 start codons flank a sequence identical to Motif 1 from the TURBS regulatory element. TURBS was shown to be required for a coupled termination–reinitiation event during translation of polycistronic RNAs of some viruses. In a model cell system, reporter mRNA based on the 5′-UTR of SLAMF1 short isoform, which lacks any uORF, is translated 5-6 times more efficiently than the mRNA with 5′-UTR from the long isoform. Nucleotide substitutions disrupting start codons in either uORF2-4 result in significant increase in translation efficiency, while substitution of two nucleotides in TURBS Motif 1 leads to a 2-fold decrease in activity. These data suggest that TURBS-like elements can serve for translation control of certain cellular mRNAs containing uORFs.
KEY WORDS: protein biosynthesis, translation control, uORF, mRNA