Nontranslational Functions of Components of the Translational Apparatus

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Translational Control of Gene Expression

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A growing number of studies have identified new and often nontranslational functions for many components of the translational apparatus, including tRNAs, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, ribosomal proteins, and initiation and elongation factors (Fig. 1). Although initially the sheer abundance of some of these components made their identification in novel functions suspect, increasingly detailed biochemical and genetic studies have established the multifunctional nature of these molecules. The studies include classic and elegant examples of viral systems that recruit host factors for their replication and maintenance, as well as cellular processes that adapt these abundant cellular components to new and perhaps related functions. Furthermore, the increasing recognition that some translational components reside in previously unexpected locations may serve to link the regulation of gene expression and the quality of protein synthesis with new functions of the translational apparatus itself (Fig. 1).