There is currently substantial interest in the regulation of cell function by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), especially effects linked to the rapamycin-sensitive mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1). Rapamycin induces G(1) arrest and blocks proliferation of many tumor cells, suggesting that the inhibition of mTORC1 signaling may be useful in cancer therapy. In MCF7 breast adenocarcinoma cells, rapamycin decreases levels of cyclin D1, without affecting cytoplasmic levels of its mRNA. In some cell-types, rapamycin does not affect cyclin D1 levels, whereas the starvation for leucine (which impairs mTORC1 signaling more profoundly than rapamycin) does. This pattern correlates with the behavior of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1, an mTORC1 target that regulates translation initiation). siRNA-mediated knock-down of 4E-BP1 abrogates the effect of rapamycin on cyclin D1 expression and increases the polysomal association of the cyclin D1 mRNA. Our data identify 4E-BP1 as a key regulator of cyclin D1 expression, indicate that this effect is not mediated through the changes in cytoplasmic levels of cyclin D1 mRNA and suggest that, in some cell types, interfering with the amino acid input to mTORC1, rather than using rapamycin, may inhibit proliferation.