An internal ribosome entry site (IRES) has been used to facilitate the expression of more than one protein in a single transcript. In this study, we examined the translational activities of several IRES elements derived from different RNA viruses. The protein expression of encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) IRES is similar to that of hepatitis C virus (HCV) IRES in mammalian cells. Notably, the protein expression of enterovirus 71 (EV71) IRES was 23-fold higher than the efficiency of EMCV IRES following normalization of mRNA transcriptional level. Thus, expression of the secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) reporter protein in mammalian cells may be controlled at desirable levels by using appropriate IRES in the expression vector.
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