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Caps on Eukaryotic mRNAs

  1. Yasuhiro Furuichi1,
  2. Aaron J Shatkin2

Published Online: 16 JUL 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000891.pub2



How to Cite

Furuichi, Y. and Shatkin, A. J. 2007. Caps on Eukaryotic mRNAs. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    GeneCare Research Institute Co. Ltd., Kamakura, Japan

  2. 2

    Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 JUL 2007

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 JUL 2014)


A 5′-terminal cap is added to most eukaryotic cellular and viral pre-messenger ribonucleic acids at an early stage of transcription. Capping is essential and modulates several subsequent events in gene expression including RNA splicing, translation and stability. These and other effects involve cap-binding proteins that recognize the m7GpppN cap structure. Capping proceeds by a similar series of enzymatic steps in a wide range of systems, but differences exist between metazoans and unicellular eukaryotes and viruses, pointing to capping enzymes as potential targets for the development of novel and selective drugs against some fungal, viral and parasitic infections.


  • RNA capping;
  • RNA methylation;
  • cap-binding proteins;
  • translation;
  • MRNA stability