Translational homeostasis: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E control of 4E-binding protein 1 and p70 S6 kinase activities

Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Jun;19(6):4302-10. doi: 10.1128/MCB.19.6.4302.


Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) is the mRNA 5' cap binding protein, which plays an important role in the control of translation. The activity of eIF4E is regulated by a family of repressor proteins, the 4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs), whose binding to eIF4E is determined by their phosphorylation state. When hyperphosphorylated, 4E-BPs do not bind to eIF4E. Phosphorylation of the 4E-BPs is effected by the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase signal transduction pathway and is inhibited by rapamycin through its binding to FRAP/mTOR (FK506 binding protein-rapamycin-associated protein or mammalian target of rapamycin). Phosphorylation of 4E-BPs can also be induced by protein synthesis inhibitors. These observations led to the proposal that FRAP/mTOR functions as a "sensor" of the translational apparatus (E. J. Brown and S. L. Schreiber, Cell 86:517-520, 1996). To test this model, we have employed the tetracycline-inducible system to increase eIF4E expression. Removal of tetracycline induced eIF4E expression up to fivefold over endogenous levels. Strikingly, upon induction of eIF4E, 4E-BP1 became dephosphorylated and the extent of dephosphorylation was proportional to the expression level of eIF4E. Dephosphorylation of p70(S6k) also occurred upon eIF4E induction. In contrast, the phosphorylation of Akt, an upstream effector of both p70(S6k) and 4E-BP phosphorylation, was not affected by eIF4E induction. We conclude that eIF4E engenders a negative feedback loop that targets a component of the PI 3-kinase signalling pathway which lies downstream of PI 3-kinase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Animals
  • Anisomycin / pharmacology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / physiology*
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Tetracycline / pharmacology
  • Time Factors


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Eif4ebp1 protein, mouse
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic
  • Anisomycin
  • Cycloheximide
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase
  • Tetracycline
  • Sirolimus