Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit 1 (eIF2α) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the EIF2S1 gene. The protein encoded by this gene is the alpha (α) subunit of the translation initiation factor eIF2 complex which catalyzes an early regulated step of protein synthesis initiation, promoting the binding of the initiator tRNA (Met-tRNAiMet) to 40S ribosomal subunits. Binding occurs as a ternary complex of methionyl-tRNA, eIF2, and GTP. eIF2 is composed of 3 nonidentical subunits, alpha (α, 36 kD, this article), beta (β, 38 kD), and gamma (γ, 52 kD). The rate of formation of the ternary complex is modulated by the phosphorylation state of eIF2α.