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Preface/Front Matter

Michael B. Mathews, Nahum Sonenberg, John W. B. Hershey


The Objective of this book, like its precursors Translational Control (1996) and Translational Control of Gene Expression (2000), is to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date, and readable survey of the translational control field. The field is broad and expanding rapidly in all directions. Yet the publishers were at pains to impress upon us the need to keep the book within reasonable bounds—a precept that was easy to accept in principle but much thornier in practice. How to resolve the quandary? We decided that the book would embrace three themes.

As unabashedly conveyed by the title Translational Control in Biology and Medicine, the first theme emphasizes the engagement of this discipline in systems and processes at the cutting edge of biomedical research. Several chapters in the book discuss the impact that has been made on longstanding problems in diverse areas. These include learning and memory, embryonic development, and human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and disorders due to mitochondrial dysfunction or viral infection. Numerous antibiotics and toxins are known to target the translation system, and research and development efforts are under way to discover new drugs for further therapeutic uses. In one sense, this theme represents the fruits of efforts to apply the understanding of basic scientific principles to practical matters (aptly named translational research!); in another, it reflects a natural maturation of research into the mechanism and control of protein synthesis from some of its historical roots.

The second theme explores fundamental mechanisms and processes related to protein

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