Initiation of mRNA translation is a key regulatory step in the control of gene expression. Microarray analysis indicates that total mRNA levels do not always reflect protein levels, since mRNA association with polyribosomes is necessary for protein synthesis. Phosphorylation of translation initiation factors offers a cost-effective and rapid way to adapt to physiological and environmental changes, and there is increasing evidence that many of these factors are subject to multiple regulatory phosphorylation events. The present article focuses on the nature of reversible phosphorylation and the function of the 5′-cap-binding complex in plants.

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