Translation initiation in eukaryotes is a complicated process involving some of the largest cellular structures, the ribosomes, together with approx. 11 initiation factors, and a poorly characterized set of other proteins. The concerted action of all these components ultimately results in the formation of an 80 S ribosomal complex on the AUG codon of an mRNA, which is competent to start polypeptide production. In this brief overview, we describe the strategies developed by our laboratory to apply surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based technology to the problem of elucidating kinetic aspects of substeps within the translation-initiation reaction. We then review how other groups have used similar SPR-based techniques to study related interactions.

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