Indexed on: 05 Aug '14Published on: 05 Aug '14Published in: PloS one
Internal ribosome entry sites (IRES) are utilized by a subset of cellular and viral mRNAs to initiate translation during cellular stress and virus infection when canonical cap-dependent translation is compromised. The intergenic region (IGR) IRES of the Dicistroviridae uses a streamlined mechanism in which it can directly recruit the ribosome in the absence of initiation factors and initiates translation using a non-AUG codon. A subset of IGR IRESs including that from the honey bee viruses can also direct translation of an overlapping +1 frame gene. In this study, we systematically examined cellular conditions that lead to IGR IRES-mediated 0 and +1 frame translation in Drosophila S2 cells. Towards this, a novel bicistronic reporter that exploits the 2A "stop-go" peptide was developed to allow the detection of IRES-mediated translation in vivo. Both 0 and +1 frame translation by the IGR IRES are stimulated under a number of cellular stresses and in S2 cells infected by cricket paralysis virus, demonstrating a switch from cap-dependent to IRES-dependent translation. The regulation of the IGR IRES mechanism ensures that both 0 frame viral structural proteins and +1 frame ORFx protein are optimally expressed during virus infection.