Initiation in eukaryotes is the rate limiting step of translation. The binding of the mRNA to the 40S ribosomal subunit, which is mediated by the mRNA cap structure, is a key target for control of protein synthesis. The cap binding protein, eIF4E, is the most limiting of all initiation factors and its overexpression in NIH3T3 cells causes malignant transformation. 4E-binding protein 1 (BP1) and 4E-BP2 are small proteins that bind to eIF4E and inhibit translation. Here, 4E-BPs were expressed in cells transformed by eIF4E or by v-src to determine the effect of 4E-BPs on cell growth and tumorigenicity. We show that 4E-BPs cause a significant reversion of the transformed phenotype. Thus, we demonstrate that the eIF4E-binding proteins act as negative regulators of cell growth. We propose that 4E-BPs are members of a class of negative regulators of cell growth acting on the translation machinery of the cell.