The crystal structures of the full-length human eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E complexed with two mRNA cap analogues [7-methylguanosine 5′-triphosphate (m7GTP) and P1-7-methylguanosine-P3-adenosine-5′,5′-triphosphate (m7GpppA)] were determined at 2.0Å resolution (where 1Å = 0.1nm). The flexibility of the C-terminal loop region of eIF4E complexed with m7GTP was significantly reduced when complexed with m7GpppA, suggesting the importance of the second nucleotide in the mRNA cap structure for the biological function of eIF4E, especially the fixation and orientation of the C-terminal loop region, including the eIF4E phosphorylation residue. The present results provide the structural basis for the biological function of both N- and C-terminal mobile regions of eIF4E in translation initiation, especially the regulatory function through the switch-on/off of eIF4E-binding protein—eIF4E phosphorylation.

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