eIF5A dimerizes not only in vitro but also in vivo and its molecular envelope is similar to the EF-P monomer.

Department of Biological Sciences, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UNESP-Univ Estadual Paulista, Rodovia Araraquara-Jau, km 01, Araraquara, SP, 14801-902, Brazil.
The protein eukaryotic initiation factor 5A (eIF5A) is highly conserved among archaea and eukaryotes, but not in bacteria. Bacteria have the elongation factor P (EF-P), which is structurally and functionally related to eIF5A. eIF5A is essential for cell viability and the only protein known to contain the amino acid residue hypusine, formed by post-translational modification of a specific lysine residue. Although eIF5A was initially identified as a translation initiation factor, recent studies strongly support a function for eIF5A in the elongation step of translation. However, the mode of action of eIF5A is still unknown. Here, we analyzed the oligomeric state of yeast eIF5A. First, by using size-exclusion chromatography, we showed that this protein exists as a dimer in vitro, independent of the hypusine residue or electrostatic interactions. Protein-protein interaction assays demonstrated that eIF5A can form oligomers in vitro and in vivo, in an RNA-dependent manner, but independent of the hypusine residue or the ribosome. Finally, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments confirmed that eIF5A behaves as a stable dimer in solution. Moreover, the molecular envelope determined from the SAXS data shows that the eIF5A dimer is L-shaped and superimposable on the tRNA(Phe) tertiary structure, analogously to the EF-P monomer.
Amino Acids Sep. 04, 2012; 0(0); [PUBMED:22945904]
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