Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The human proto-oncogene c-myc encodes two proteins, c-Myc1 and c-Myc2, from two initiation codons, CUG and AUG, respectively. It is also transcribed from four alternative promoters (P0, P1, P2, and P3), giving rise to different RNA 5'-leader sequences, the long sizes of which suggest that they must be inefficiently translated by the classical ribosome scanning mechanism. Here we have examined the influence of three c-myc mRNA 5'- leaders on the translation of chimeric myc-CAT mRNAs. We observed that in the reticulocyte rabbit lysate, these 5'-leaders lead to cap-independent translation initiation. To determine whether this kind of initiation resulted from the presence of an internal ribosome entry site (IRES), COS-7 cells were transfected with bicistronic vectors containing the different c-myc 5'- leaders in the intercistronic region. An IRES was identified, requiring elements located within the P2 leader between nucleotides -363 and -94 upstream from the CUG start codon. This is the first demonstration of the existence of IRES-dependent translation for a proto-oncogene. This IRES could be a translation enhancer, allowing activation of c-myc expression under the control of trans-acting factors and in response to specific cell stimuli.