In Vitro Studies of Archaeal Translational Initiation
Initiation is the step of translation that has incurred the greatest evolutionary divergence. In silico and experimental studies have shown that archaeal translation initiation resembles neither the bacterial nor the eukaryotic paradigm, but shares features with both. The structure of mRNA in archaea is similar to the bacterial one, although the protein factors that assist translational initiation are more numerous than in bacteria and are homologous to eukaryotic proteins. This chapter describes a number of techniques that can be used for in vitro studies of archaeal translation and translational initiation, using as a model system the thermophilic crenarcheon Sulfolobus solfataricus, growing optimally at about 80° in an acidic environment.