Dev Biol 2006 Dec 4;300(1):293-307. Epub 2006 Aug 4.
Equipe Cycle Cellulaire et Développement, UMR 7150 CNRS/UPMC, Station Biologique 29680 Roscoff, France.
Sea urchin eggs and early cleavage stage embryos provide an example of regulated gene expression at the level of translation. The availability of the sea urchin genome offers the opportunity to investigate the "translational control" toolkit of this model system. The annotation of the genome reveals that most of the factors implicated in translational control are encoded by nonredundant genes in echinoderm, an advantage for future functional studies. In this paper, we focus on translation factors that have been shown or suggested to play crucial role in cell cycle and development of sea urchin embryos. Addressing the cap-binding translational control, three closely related eIF4E genes (class I, II, III) are present, whereas its repressor 4E-BP and its activator eIF4G are both encoded by one gene. Analysis of the class III eIF4E proteins in various phyla shows an echinoderm-specific amino acid substitution. Furthermore, an interaction site between eIF4G and poly(A)-binding protein is uncovered in the sea urchin eIF4G proteins and is conserved in metazoan evolution. In silico screening of the sea urchin genome has uncovered potential new regulators of eIF4E sharing the common eIF4E recognition motif. Taking together, these data provide new insights regarding the strong requirement of cap-dependent translation following fertilization. The genome analysis gives insights on the complexity of eEF1B structure and motifs of functional relevance, involved in the translational control of gene expression at the level of elongation. Finally, because deregulation of translation process can lead to diseases and tumor formation in humans, the sea urchin orthologs of human genes implicated in human diseases and signaling pathways regulating translation were also discussed.