An internal ribosome entry site mediates the initiation of soluble guanylyl cyclase β2 mRNA translation

Roberto I. Vazquez-Padron, Si M. Pham, Dania Mateu, Sheik Khan, Abdelouahab Aitouche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The soluble guanylyl cyclases (sGC), the receptor for nitric oxide, are hete-rodimers consisting of an α- and β-subunit. This study aimed to investigate the translational mechanism of the sGC β2-subunit. Two mRNA species for sGC β2 were isolated from human kidney. These transcripts had dissimilar 5′-untranslated regions (5′-UTRs). The most abundant sGC β2 mRNA showed numerous upstream open reading frames (ORFs) and stable secondary structures that inhibited in vivo and in vitro translation. To evaluate whether these 5′-UTRs harbored an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) that allows translation by an alternative mechanism, we inserted these regions between the two luciferase genes of a bicistronic vector. Transfection of those genetic constructs into HeLa cells demonstrated that both sGC β2 leaders had IRES activity in a cell-type dependent manner. Finally, the secondary structural model of the sGC β2 5′-UTR predicts a Y-type pseudoknot that characterizes the IRES of cellular mRNAs. In conclusion, our findings suggest that sGC β2 5′-UTRs have IRES activity that may permit sGC β2 expression under conditions that are not optimal for scanning-dependent translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3598-3607
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • IRES
  • Nitric oxide
  • Soluble guanylyl cyclase
  • Translation
  • Untranslated region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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