PUF proteins regulate translation and mRNA stability throughout eukaryotes. Using a cell-free translation assay, we examined the mechanisms of translational repression of PUF proteins in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We demonstrate that the poly(A)-binding protein Pab1p is required for PUF-mediated translational repression for two distantly related PUF proteins: S. cerevisiae Puf5p and Caenorhabditis elegans FBF-2. Pab1p interacts with oligo(A) tracts in the HO 3'-UTR, a target of Puf5p, to dramatically enhance the efficiency of Puf5p repression. Both the Pab1p ability to activate translation and interact with eukaryotic initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) were required to observe maximal repression by Puf5p. Repression was also more efficient when Pab1p was bound in close proximity to Puf5p. Puf5p may disrupt translation initiation by interfering with the interaction between Pab1p and eIF4G. Finally, we demonstrate two separable mechanisms of translational repression employed by Puf5p: a Pab1p-dependent mechanism and a Pab1p-independent mechanism.
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