Previous studies have shown that intravenous infusion of insulin and/or amino acids reproduces the feeding-induced stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in neonates and that insulin and amino acids act independently to produce this effect. The goal of the present study was to delineate the regulatory roles of insulin and amino acids on muscle protein synthesis in neonates by examining translational control mechanisms, specifically the eukaryotic translation initiation factors (eIFs), which enable coupling of initiator methionyl-tRNAi and mRNA to the 40S ribosomal subunit. Insulin secretion was blocked by somatostatin in fasted 7-day-old pigs (n = 8-12/group), insulin was infused to achieve plasma levels of approximately 0, 2, 6, and 30 microU/ml, and amino acids were clamped at fasting or fed levels or, at the high insulin dose, below fasting. Both insulin and amino acids increased the phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K1) and the eIF4E-binding protein (4E-BP1), decreased the binding of 4E-BP1 to eIF4E, increased eIF4E binding to eIF4G, and increased fractional protein synthesis rates but did not affect eIF2B activity. In the absence of insulin, amino acids had no effect on these translation initiation factors but increased the protein synthesis rates. Raising insulin from below fasting to fasting levels generally did not alter translation initiation factor activity but raised protein synthesis rates. The phosphorylation of S6K1 and 4E-BP1 and the amount of 4E-BP1 bound to eIF4E and eIF4E bound to eIF4G were correlated with insulin level, amino acid level, and protein synthesis rate. Thus insulin and amino acids regulate muscle protein synthesis in skeletal muscle of neonates by modulating the availability of eIF4E for 48S ribosomal complex assembly, although other processes also must be involved.