4E-binding proteins, the suppressors of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E, are down-regulated in cells with acquired or intrinsic resistance to rapamycin

J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 19;277(16):13907-17. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110782200. Epub 2002 Feb 14.


To determine whether inhibition of either the ribosomal p70 S6 kinase or eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E pathways downstream of the mammalian target of rapamycin, mTOR, contributes to rapamycin-induced growth arrest, clones of Rh30 rhabdomyosarcoma cells were selected for rapamycin resistance. Expression of c-Myc and anchorage-independent growth were enhanced in resistant cells. Resistance was unstable in each of three clones characterized. In resistant cells, as compared with parental cells, approximately 10-fold less 4E-binding protein (4E-BP) was bound to eIF4E, and total cellular 4E-BP was markedly reduced. Levels of eIF4E were unchanged. Steady-state levels of 4E-BP transcript remained unaltered, but the rate of 4E-BP synthesis was reduced in resistant cells. In cells that reverted to rapamycin sensitivity, levels of total 4E-BP returned to those of parental cells. Compared with parental cells, resistant clones had either similar or lower levels and activity of ribosomal p70 S6 kinase, but c-Myc levels were elevated in both resistant and revertant clones. Several colon carcinoma cell lines with intrinsic rapamycin resistance were found to have low 4E-BP:eIF4E ratios. In stable clones of HCT8 carcinoma engineered to overexpress 4E-BP, rapamycin sensitivity increased markedly (>1000-fold) as 4E-BP expression increased. These results suggest that the 4E-BP:eIF4E ratio is an important determinant of rapamycin resistance and controls certain aspects of the malignant phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Agar / pharmacology
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Division
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors*
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • EIF4EBP1 protein, human
  • EIF4EBP2 protein, human
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Agar
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • Sirolimus