- Scanning of the mRNA transcript by the preinitiation complex (PIC) requires a panel of eukaryotic initiation factors, which includes eIF1 and eIF1A, the main transducers of stringent AUG selection. eIF1A plays an important role in start codon recognition; however, its molecular contacts with eIF5 are unknown. Using nuclear magnetic resonance, we unveil eIF1A’s binding surface on the carboxyl-terminal domain of eIF5 (eIF5-CTD). We validated this interaction by observing that eIF1A does not bind to an eIF5-CTD mutant, altering the revealed eIF1A interaction site. We also found that the interaction between eIF1A and eIF5-CTD is conserved between humans and yeast. Using glutathione S-transferase pull-down assays of purified proteins, we showed that the N-terminal tail (NTT) of eIF1A mediates the interaction with eIF5-CTD and eIF1. Genetic evidence indicates that overexpressing eIF1 or eIF5 suppresses the slow growth phenotype of eIF1A-NTT mutants. These results suggest that the eIF1A–eIF5-CTD interaction during scanning PICs contributes to the maintenance of eIF1 within the open PIC.