The formation of the translation initiation complex represents the rate-limiting step in protein synthesis. Translation initiation in the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus depends on several translation IFs (initiation factors), some of which have eukaryal but no bacterial counterparts. In the present paper, we review the current knowledge of the structure, function and evolution of the IFs in S. solfataricus in the context of eukaryotic and bacterial orthologues. Despite similarities between eukaryotic and S. solfataricus IFs, the sequence of events in translation initiation in S. solfataricus follows the bacterial mode.
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