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1.  Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 6 is rate-limiting in translation, growth and transformation 
Nature  2008;455(7213):684-688.
Cell growth and proliferation require coordinated ribosomal biogenesis and translation. Eukaryotic Initiation Factors (eIF) control translation at the rate-limiting step of initiation1,2. So far, only two eIFs connect extracellular stimuli to global translation rates3; eIF4E acts in the eIF4F complex and regulates binding of capped mRNA to 40S subunits, downstream of growth factors4; eIF2 controls loading of the ternary complex on the 40S subunit and is inhibited upon stress stimuli5–6. No eIFs have been found to link extracellular stimuli to the activity of the large 60S ribosomal subunit. eIF6 binds 60S ribosomes precluding ribosome joining in vitro7–9. However studies in yeasts showed that eIF6 is required for ribosome biogenesis rather than translation10–13. We show that mammalian eIF6 is required for efficient initiation of translation, in vivo. eIF6 null embryos are lethal at preimplantation. Heterozygous mice have 50% reduction of eIF6 levels in all tissues, and show reduced mass of hepatic and adipose tissues due to a lower number of cells and to impaired G1/S cell cycle progression. eIF6+/− cells retain sufficient nucleolar eIF6 and normal ribosome biogenesis. The liver of eIF6+/− mice displays an increase of 80S in polysomal profiles, indicating a defect in initiation of translation. Consistently, isolated hepatocytes have impaired insulin-stimulated translation. Heterozygous mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) recapitulate the organism phenotype and have normal ribosome biogenesis, reduced insulin-stimulated translation, and delayed G1/S phase progression. Furthermore, eIF6+/− cells resist to oncogene-induced transformation. Thus, eIF6 is the first eIF associated with the large 60S subunit that regulates translation in response to extracellular signals.
PMCID: PMC2753212  PMID: 18784653
2.  The Yeast Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 4G (eIF4G) HEAT Domain Interacts with eIF1 and eIF5 and Is Involved in Stringent AUG Selection 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(15):5431-5445.
Eukaryotic initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) promotes mRNA recruitment to the ribosome by binding to the mRNA cap- and poly(A) tail-binding proteins eIF4E and Pap1p. eIF4G also binds eIF4A at a distinct HEAT domain composed of five stacks of antiparallel α-helices. The role of eIF4G in the later steps of initiation, such as scanning and AUG recognition, has not been defined. Here we show that the entire HEAT domain and flanking residues of Saccharomyces cerevisiae eIF4G2 are required for the optimal interaction with the AUG recognition factors eIF5 and eIF1. eIF1 binds simultaneously to eIF4G and eIF3c in vitro, as shown previously for the C-terminal domain of eIF5. In vivo, cooverexpression of eIF1 or eIF5 reverses the genetic suppression of an eIF4G HEAT domain Ts− mutation by eIF4A overexpression. In addition, excess eIF1 inhibits growth of a second eIF4G mutant defective in eIF4E binding, which was also reversed by cooverexpression of eIF4A. Interestingly, excess eIF1 carrying the sui1-1 mutation, known to relax the accuracy of start site selection, did not inhibit the growth of the eIF4G mutant, and sui1-1 reduced the interaction between eIF4G and eIF1 in vitro. Moreover, a HEAT domain mutation altering eIF4G moderately enhances translation from a non-AUG codon. These results strongly suggest that the binding of the eIF4G HEAT domain to eIF1 and eIF5 is important for maintaining the integrity of the scanning ribosomal preinitiation complex.
PMCID: PMC165723  PMID: 12861028
3.  Structural insights into the allosteric effects of 4EBP1 on the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF4E 
Journal of Molecular Biology  2011;415(5):781-792.
The eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF4E plays key roles in cap dependent translation and mRNA export. These functions rely on binding the 7-methylguanosine moiety (5′cap) to the 5′-end of all mRNAs. eIF4E is regulated by proteins such as eIF4G and eIF4E binding proteins (4EBPs) that bind the dorsal surface of eIF4E, distal to the cap binding site, and modulate cap binding activity. Both proteins increase the affinity of eIF4E for 5′cap. Our understanding of the allosteric effects and structural underpinnings of 4EBP1 or eIF4G binding can be advanced by structural data on cap-free eIF4E bound to one of these proteins. Here, we report the crystal structure of apo-eIF4E and cap-free eIF4E in complex with a 4EBP1 peptide. We also monitored 4EBP1 binding to cap free eIF4E in solution using NMR. Together, these studies suggest that 4EBP1 transforms eIF4E into a cap receptive state. NMR methods were also used to compare the allosteric routes activated by 4EBP1, eIF4G, and the arenavirus Z protein, a negative regulator of cap binding. We observed chemical shift perturbation at the dorsal binding site leading to alterations in the core of the protein which were ultimately communicated to the unoccupied cap binding site of eIF4E. There were notable similarities between the routes taken by 4EBP1 and eIF4G and differences from the negative regulator Z. Thus, binding of 4EBP1 or eIF4G allosterically drives alterations throughout the protein that increase the affinity of eIF4E for the 5′cap.
PMCID: PMC3269305  PMID: 22178476
eIF4E; eIF4E binding protein (4EBP1); m7G cap binding; X-ray Crystallography; NMR Spectroscopy
4.  Cap-binding protein (eukaryotic initiation factor 4E) and 4E-inactivating protein BP-1 independently regulate cap-dependent translation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(10):5450-5457.
Cap-dependent protein synthesis in animal cells is inhibited by heat shock, serum deprivation, metaphase arrest, and infection with certain viruses such as adenovirus (Ad). At a mechanistic level, translation of capped mRNAs is inhibited by dephosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF-4E) (cap-binding protein) and its physical sequestration with the translation repressor protein BP-1 (PHAS-I). Dephosphorylation of BP-I blocks cap-dependent translation by promoting sequestration of eIF-4E. Here we show that heat shock inhibits translation of capped mRNAs by simultaneously inducing dephosphorylation of eIF-4E and BP-1, suggesting that cells might coordinately regulate translation of capped mRNAs by impairing both the activity and the availability of eIF-4E. Like heat shock, late Ad infection is shown to induce dephosphorylation of eIF-4E. However, in contrast to heat shock, Ad also induces phosphorylation of BP-1 and release of eIF-4E. BP-1 and eIF-4E can therefore act on cap-dependent translation in either a mutually antagonistic or cooperative manner. Three sets of experiments further underscore this point: (i) rapamycin is shown to block phosphorylation of BP-1 without inhibiting dephosphorylation of eIF-4E induced by heat shock or Ad infection, (ii) eIF-4E is efficiently dephosphorylated during heat shock or Ad infection regardless of whether it is in a complex with BP-1, and (iii) BP-1 is associated with eIF-4E in vivo regardless of the state of eIF-4E phosphorylation. These and other studies establish that inhibition of cap-dependent translation does not obligatorily involve sequestration of eIF-4E by BP-1. Rather, translation is independently regulated by the phosphorylation states of eIF-4E and the 4E-binding protein, BP-1. In addition, these results demonstrate that BP-1 and eIF-4E can act either in concert or in opposition to independently regulate cap-dependent translation. We suggest that independent regulation of eIF-4E and BP-1 might finely regulate the efficiency of translation initiation or possibly control cap-dependent translation for fundamentally different purposes.
PMCID: PMC231545  PMID: 8816458
5.  Translation Initiation Factor eIF4G-1 Binds to eIF3 through the eIF3e Subunit* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2006;281(32):22917-22932.
eIF3 in mammals is the largest translation initiation factor (~800 kDa) and is composed of 13 nonidentical subunits designated eIF3a–m. The role of mammalian eIF3 in assembly of the 48 S complex occurs through high affinity binding to eIF4G. Interactions of eIF4G with eIF4E, eIF4A, eIF3, poly(A)-binding protein, and Mnk1/2 have been mapped to discrete domains on eIF4G, and conversely, the eIF4G-binding sites on all but one of these ligands have been determined. The only eIF4G ligand for which this has not been determined is eIF3. In this study, we have sought to identify the mammalian eIF3 subunit(s) that directly interact(s) with eIF4G. Established procedures for detecting protein-protein interactions gave ambiguous results. However, binding of partially proteolyzed HeLa eIF3 to the eIF3-binding domain of human eIF4G-1, followed by high throughput analysis of mass spectrometric data with a novel peptide matching algorithm, identified a single subunit, eIF3e (p48/Int-6). In addition, recombinant FLAG-eIF3e specifically competed with HeLa eIF3 for binding to eIF4G in vitro. Adding FLAG-eIF3e to a cell-free translation system (i) inhibited protein synthesis, (ii) caused a shift of mRNA from heavy to light polysomes, (iii) inhibited cap-dependent translation more severely than translation dependent on the HCV or CSFV internal ribosome entry sites, which do not require eIF4G, and (iv) caused a dramatic loss of eIF4G and eIF2α from complexes sedimenting at ~40 S. These data suggest a specific, direct, and functional interaction of eIF3e with eIF4G during the process of cap-dependent translation initiation, although they do not rule out participation of other eIF3 subunits.
PMCID: PMC1880881  PMID: 16766523
6.  Requirement of RNA Binding of Mammalian Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4GI (eIF4GI) for Efficient Interaction of eIF4E with the mRNA Cap▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;29(6):1661-1669.
Eukaryotic mRNAs possess a 5′-terminal cap structure (cap), m7GpppN, which facilitates ribosome binding. The cap is bound by eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4F (eIF4F), which is composed of eIF4E, eIF4G, and eIF4A. eIF4E is the cap-binding subunit, eIF4A is an RNA helicase, and eIF4G is a scaffolding protein that bridges between the mRNA and ribosome. eIF4G contains an RNA-binding domain, which was suggested to stimulate eIF4E interaction with the cap in mammals. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, however, such an effect was not observed. Here, we used recombinant proteins to reconstitute the cap binding of the mammalian eIF4E-eIF4GI complex to investigate the importance of the RNA-binding region of eIF4GI for cap interaction with eIF4E. We demonstrate that chemical cross-linking of eIF4E to the cap structure is dramatically enhanced by eIF4GI fragments possessing RNA-binding activity. Furthermore, the fusion of RNA recognition motif 1 (RRM1) of the La autoantigen to the N terminus of eIF4GI confers enhanced association between the cap structure and eIF4E. These results demonstrate that eIF4GI serves to anchor eIF4E to the mRNA and enhance its interaction with the cap structure.
PMCID: PMC2648241  PMID: 19114555
7.  Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factors 4G and 4A from Saccharomyces cerevisiae Interact Physically and Functionally 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(8):5557-5564.
The initiation of translation in eukaryotes requires several multisubunit complexes, including eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4F (eIF4F). In higher eukaryotes eIF4F is composed of the cap binding protein eIF4E, the adapter protein eIF4G, and the RNA-stimulated ATPase eIF4A. The association of eIF4A with Saccharomyces cerevisiae eIF4F has not yet been demonstrated, and therefore the degree to which eIF4A’s conserved function relies upon this association has remained unclear. Here we report an interaction between yeast eIF4G and eIF4A. Specifically, we found that the growth arrest phenotype associated with three temperature-sensitive alleles of yeast eIF4G2 was suppressed by excess eIF4A and that this suppression was allele specific. In addition, in vitro translation extracts derived from an eIF4G2 mutant strain could be heat inactivated, and this inactivation could be reversed upon the addition of recombinant eIF4A. Finally, in vitro binding between yeast eIF4G and eIF4A was demonstrated, as was diminished binding between mutant eIF4G2 proteins and eIF4A. In total, these data indicate that yeast eIF4G and eIF4A physically associate and that this association performs an essential function.
PMCID: PMC84408  PMID: 10409745
8.  Mutational Analysis of Mammalian Translation Initiation Factor 5 (eIF5): Role of Interaction between the β Subunit of eIF2 and eIF5 in eIF5 Function In Vitro and In Vivo 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(11):3942-3950.
Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5 (eIF5) interacts with the 40S initiation complex (40S–eIF3–AUG–Met-tRNAf–eIF2–GTP) to promote the hydrolysis of ribosome-bound GTP. eIF5 also forms a complex with eIF2 by interacting with the β subunit of eIF2. In this work, we have used a mutational approach to investigate the importance of eIF5-eIF2β interaction in eIF5 function. Binding analyses with recombinant rat eIF5 deletion mutants identified the C terminus of eIF5 as the eIF2β-binding region. Alanine substitution mutagenesis at sites within this region defined several conserved glutamic acid residues in a bipartite motif as critical for eIF5 function. The E346A,E347A and E384A,E385A double-point mutations each caused a severe defect in the binding of eIF5 to eIF2β but not to eIF3-Nip1p, while a eIF5 hexamutant (E345A,E346A,E347A,E384A,E385A,E386A) showed negligible binding to eIF2β. These mutants were also severely defective in eIF5-dependent GTP hydrolysis, in 80S initiation complex formation, and in the ability to stimulate translation of mRNAs in an eIF5-dependent yeast cell-free translation system. Furthermore, unlike wild-type rat eIF5, which can functionally substitute for yeast eIF5 in complementing in vivo a genetic disruption of the chromosomal copy of the TIF5 gene, the eIF5 double-point mutants allowed only slow growth of this ΔTIF5 yeast strain, while the eIF5 hexamutant was unable to support cell growth and viability of this strain. These findings suggest that eIF5-eIF2β interaction plays an essential role in eIF5 function in eukaryotic cells.
PMCID: PMC85746  PMID: 10805737
9.  Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 3 (eIF3) and eIF2 Can Promote mRNA Binding to 40S Subunits Independently of eIF4G in Yeast†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(4):1355-1372.
Recruitment of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2)-GTP-Met-tRNAiMet ternary complex to the 40S ribosome is stimulated by multiple initiation factors in vitro, including eIF3, eIF1, eIF5, and eIF1A. Recruitment of mRNA is thought to require the functions of eIF4F and eIF3, with the latter serving as an adaptor between the ribosome and the 4G subunit of eIF4F. To define the factor requirements for these reactions in vivo, we examined the effects of depleting eIF2, eIF3, eIF5, or eIF4G in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells on binding of the ternary complex, other initiation factors, and RPL41A mRNA to native 43S and 48S preinitiation complexes. Depleting eIF2, eIF3, or eIF5 reduced 40S binding of all constituents of the multifactor complex (MFC), comprised of these three factors and eIF1, supporting a mechanism of coupled 40S binding by MFC components. 40S-bound mRNA strongly accumulated in eIF5-depleted cells, even though MFC binding to 40S subunits was reduced by eIF5 depletion. Hence, stimulation of the GTPase activity of the ternary complex, a prerequisite for 60S subunit joining in vitro, is likely the rate-limiting function of eIF5 in vivo. Depleting eIF2 or eIF3 impaired mRNA binding to free 40S subunits, but depleting eIF4G led unexpectedly to accumulation of mRNA on 40S subunits. Thus, it appears that eIF3 and eIF2 are more critically required than eIF4G for stable binding of at least some mRNAs to native preinitiation complexes and that eIF4G has a rate-limiting function at a step downstream of 48S complex assembly in vivo.
PMCID: PMC1367198  PMID: 16449648
10.  Eap1p, a Novel Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4E-Associated Protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(13):4604-4613.
Ribosome binding to eukaryotic mRNA is a multistep process which is mediated by the cap structure [m7G(5′)ppp(5′)N, where N is any nucleotide] present at the 5′ termini of all cellular (with the exception of organellar) mRNAs. The heterotrimeric complex, eukaryotic initiation factor 4F (eIF4F), interacts directly with the cap structure via the eIF4E subunit and functions to assemble a ribosomal initiation complex on the mRNA. In mammalian cells, eIF4E activity is regulated in part by three related translational repressors (4E-BPs), which bind to eIF4E directly and preclude the assembly of eIF4F. No structural counterpart to 4E-BPs exists in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, a functional homolog (named p20) has been described which blocks cap-dependent translation by a mechanism analogous to that of 4E-BPs. We report here on the characterization of a novel yeast eIF4E-associated protein (Eap1p) which can also regulate translation through binding to eIF4E. Eap1p shares limited homology to p20 in a region which contains the canonical eIF4E-binding motif. Deletion of this domain or point mutation abolishes the interaction of Eap1p with eIF4E. Eap1p competes with eIF4G (the large subunit of the cap-binding complex, eIF4F) and p20 for binding to eIF4E in vivo and inhibits cap-dependent translation in vitro. Targeted disruption of the EAP1 gene results in a temperature-sensitive phenotype and also confers partial resistance to growth inhibition by rapamycin. These data indicate that Eap1p plays a role in cell growth and implicates this protein in the TOR signaling cascade of S. cerevisiae.
PMCID: PMC85860  PMID: 10848587
11.  A region rich in aspartic acid, arginine, tyrosine, and glycine (DRYG) mediates eukaryotic initiation factor 4B (eIF4B) self-association and interaction with eIF3. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(10):5328-5334.
The binding of mRNA to the ribosome is mediated by eukaryotic initiation factors eukaryotic initiation factor 4F (eIF4F), eIF4B, eIF4A, and eIF3, eIF4F binds to the mRNA cap structure and, in combination with eIF4B, is believed to unwind the secondary structure in the 5' untranslated region to facilitate ribosome binding. eIF3 associates with the 40S ribosomal subunit prior to mRNA binding. eIF4B copurifies with eIF3 and eIF4F through several purification steps, suggesting the involvement of a multisubunit complex during translation initiation. To understand the mechanism by which eIF4B promotes 40S ribosome binding to the mRNA, we studied its interactions with partner proteins by using a filter overlay (protein-protein [far Western]) assay and the two-hybrid system. In this report, we show that eIF4B self-associates and also interacts directly with the p170 subunit of eIF3. A region rich in aspartic acid, arginine, tyrosine, and glycine, termed the DRYG domain, is sufficient for self-association of eIF4B, both in vitro and in vivo, and for interaction with the p170 subunit of eIF3. These experiments suggest that eIF4B participates in mRNA-ribosome binding by acting as an intermediary between the mRNA and eIF3, via a direct interaction with the p170 subunit of eIF3.
PMCID: PMC231531  PMID: 8816444
12.  Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Infection Alters the eIF4F Translation Initiation Complex and Causes Dephosphorylation of the eIF4E Binding Protein 4E-BP1 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(20):10177-10187.
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) modulates protein synthesis in infected cells in a way that allows the translation of its own 5′-capped mRNA but inhibits the translation of host mRNA. Previous data have shown that inactivation of eIF2α is important for VSV-induced inhibition of host protein synthesis. We tested whether there is a role for eIF4F in this inhibition. The multisubunit eIF4F complex is involved in the regulation of protein synthesis via phosphorylation of cap-binding protein eIF4E, a subunit of eIF4F. Translation of host mRNA is significantly reduced under conditions in which eIF4E is dephosphorylated. To determine whether VSV infection alters the eIF4F complex, we analyzed eIF4E phosphorylation and the association of eIF4E with other translation initiation factors, such as eIF4G and the translation inhibitor 4E-BP1. VSV infection of HeLa cells resulted in the dephosphorylation of eIF4E at serine 209 between 3 and 6 h postinfection. This time course corresponded well to that of the inhibition of host protein synthesis induced by VSV infection. Cells infected with a VSV mutant that is delayed in the ability to inhibit host protein synthesis were also delayed in dephosphorylation of eIF4E. In addition to decreasing eIF4E phosphorylation, VSV infection also resulted in the dephosphorylation and activation of eIF4E-binding protein 4E-BP1 between 3 and 6 h postinfection. Analysis of cap-binding complexes showed that VSV infection reduced the association of eIF4E with the eIF4G scaffolding subunit at the same time as its association with 4E-BP1 increased and that these time courses correlated with the dephosphorylation of eIF4E. These changes in the eIF4F complex occurred over the same time period as the onset of viral protein synthesis, suggesting that activation of 4E-BP1 does not inhibit translation of viral mRNAs. In support of this idea, VSV protein synthesis was not affected by the presence of rapamycin, a drug that blocks 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. These data show that VSV infection results in modifications of the eIF4F complex that are correlated with the inhibition of host protein synthesis and that translation of VSV mRNAs occurs despite lowered concentrations of the active cap-binding eIF4F complex. This is the first noted modification of both eIF4E and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation levels among viruses that produce capped mRNA for protein translation.
PMCID: PMC136556  PMID: 12239292
13.  A Novel Functional Human Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4G 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(1):334-342.
Mammalian eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4F (eIF4F) is a cap-binding protein complex consisting of three subunits: eIF4E, eIF4A, and eIF4G. In yeast and plants, two related eIF4G species are encoded by two different genes. To date, however, only one functional eIF4G polypeptide, referred to here as eIF4GI, has been identified in mammals. Here we describe the discovery and functional characterization of a closely related homolog, referred to as eIF4GII. eIF4GI and eIF4GII share 46% identity at the amino acid level and possess an overall similarity of 56%. The homology is particularly high in certain regions of the central and carboxy portions, while the amino-terminal regions are more divergent. Far-Western analysis and coimmunoprecipitation experiments were used to demonstrate that eIF4GII directly interacts with eIF4E, eIF4A, and eIF3. eIF4GII, like eIF4GI, is also cleaved upon picornavirus infection. eIF4GII restores cap-dependent translation in a reticulocyte lysate which had been pretreated with rhinovirus 2A to cleave endogenous eIF4G. Finally, eIF4GII exists as a complex with eIF4E in HeLa cells, because eIF4GII and eIF4E can be purified together by cap affinity chromatography. Taken together, our findings indicate that eIF4GII is a functional homolog of eIF4GI. These results may have important implications for the understanding of the mechanism of shutoff of host protein synthesis following picornavirus infection.
PMCID: PMC121501  PMID: 9418880
14.  The indispensable N-terminal half of eIF3j/HCR1 co-operates with its structurally conserved binding partner eIF3b/PRT1-RRM and eIF1A in stringent AUG selection 
Journal of molecular biology  2010;396(4):1097-1116.
Despite the recent progress in our understanding of the numerous functions of individual subunits of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 (eIF3), there is still only little known on the molecular level. Using NMR spectroscopy, we determined the first solution structure of an interaction between eIF3 subunits. We revealed that a conserved tryptophan residue in the human eIF3j N-terminal acidic domain (NTA) is held in the helix α1 – loop L5 hydrophobic pocket of the human eIF3b-RRM. Mutating the corresponding “pocket” residues in its yeast orthologue reduces cellular growth rate, eliminates eIF3j/HCR1 association with eIF3b/PRT1 in vitro and in vivo, affects 40S-occupancy of eIF3, and produces a leaky scanning defect indicative of a deregulation of the AUG selection process. Unexpectedly, we found that the N-terminal half (NTD) of eIF3j/HCR1 containing the NTA motif is indispensable and sufficient for wild-type growth of yeast cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that deletion of either j/HCR1 or its NTD only, or mutating the key tryptophan residues results in the severe leaky scanning phenotype partially suppressible by overexpressed eIF1A, which is thought to stabilize properly formed pre-initiation complexes at the correct start codon. These findings indicate that eIF3j/HCR1 remains associated with the scanning pre-initiation complexes and does not dissociate from the small ribosomal subunit upon mRNA recruitment as previously believed. Finally, we provide further support for earlier mapping of the ribosomal binding site for human eIF3j by identifying specific interactions of eIF3j/HCR1 with small ribosomal proteins RPS2 and RPS23 located in the vicinity of the mRNA entry channel. Taken together we propose that eIF3j/HCR1 closely co-operates with eIF3b/PRT1-RRM and eIF1A on the ribosome to ensure proper formation of the scanning-arrested conformation required for stringent AUG recognition.
PMCID: PMC2824034  PMID: 20060839
translation initiation; AUG recognition; eIF3; eIF1A; NMR
15.  Phosphorylation of the Cap-Binding Protein Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4E by Protein Kinase Mnk1 In Vivo 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(3):1871-1880.
Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binds to the mRNA 5′ cap and brings the mRNA into a complex with other protein synthesis initiation factors and ribosomes. The activity of mammalian eIF4E is important for the translation of capped mRNAs and is thought to be regulated by two mechanisms. First, eIF4E is sequestered by binding proteins, such as 4EBP1, in quiescent cells. Mitogens induce the release of eIF4E by stimulating the phosphorylation of 4EBP1. Second, mitogens and stresses induce the phosphorylation of eIF4E at Ser 209, increasing the affinity of eIF4E for capped mRNA and for an associated scaffolding protein, eIF4G. We previously showed that a mitogen- and stress-activated kinase, Mnk1, phosphorylates eIF4E in vitro at the physiological site. Here we show that Mnk1 regulates eIF4E phosphorylation in vivo. Mnk1 binds directly to eIF4G and copurifies with eIF4G and eIF4E. We identified activating phosphorylation sites in Mnk1 and developed dominant-negative and activated mutants. Expression of dominant-negative Mnk1 reduces mitogen-induced eIF4E phosphorylation, while expression of activated Mnk1 increases basal eIF4E phosphorylation. Activated mutant Mnk1 also induces extensive phosphorylation of eIF4E in cells overexpressing 4EBP1. This suggests that phosphorylation of eIF4E is catalyzed by Mnk1 or a very similar kinase in cells and is independent of other mitogenic signals that release eIF4E from 4EBP1.
PMCID: PMC83980  PMID: 10022874
16.  Investigating the Consequences of eIF4E2 (4EHP) Interaction with 4E-Transporter on Its Cellular Distribution in HeLa Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72761.
In addition to the canonical eIF4E cap-binding protein, eukaryotes have evolved sequence–related variants with distinct features, some of which have been shown to negatively regulate translation of particular mRNAs, but which remain poorly characterised. Mammalian eIF4E proteins have been divided into three classes, with class I representing the canonical cap-binding protein eIF4E1. eIF4E1 binds eIF4G to initiate translation, and other eIF4E-binding proteins such as 4E-BPs and 4E-T prevent this interaction by binding eIF4E1 with the same consensus sequence YX 4Lϕ. We investigate here the interaction of human eIF4E2 (4EHP), a class II eIF4E protein, which binds the cap weakly, with eIF4E-transporter protein, 4E-T. We first show that ratios of eIF4E1:4E-T range from 50:1 to 15:1 in HeLa and HEK293 cells respectively, while those of eIF4E2:4E-T vary from 6:1 to 3:1. We next provide evidence that eIF4E2 binds 4E-T in the yeast two hybrid assay, as well as in pull-down assays and by recruitment to P-bodies in mammalian cells. We also show that while both eIF4E1 and eIF4E2 bind 4E-T via the canonical YX 4Lϕ sequence, nearby downstream sequences also influence eIF4E:4E-T interactions. Indirect immunofluorescence was used to demonstrate that eIF4E2, normally homogeneously localised in the cytoplasm, does not redistribute to stress granules in arsenite-treated cells, nor to P-bodies in Actinomycin D-treated cells, in contrast to eIF4E1. Moreover, eIF4E2 shuttles through nuclei in a Crm1-dependent manner, but in an 4E-T–independent manner, also unlike eIF4E1. Altogether we conclude that while both cap-binding proteins interact with 4E-T, and can be recruited by 4E-T to P-bodies, eIF4E2 functions are likely to be distinct from those of eIF4E1, both in the cytoplasm and nucleus, further extending our understanding of mammalian class I and II cap-binding proteins.
PMCID: PMC3749138  PMID: 23991149
17.  Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4GI Is a Cellular Target for NS1 Protein, a Translational Activator of Influenza Virus 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(17):6259-6268.
Influenza virus NS1 protein is an RNA-binding protein whose expression alters several posttranscriptional regulatory processes, like polyadenylation, splicing, and nucleocytoplasmic transport of cellular mRNAs. In addition, NS1 protein enhances the translational rate of viral, but not cellular, mRNAs. To characterize this effect, we looked for targets of NS1 influenza virus protein among cellular translation factors. We found that NS1 coimmunoprecipitates with eukaryotic initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI), the large subunit of the cap-binding complex eIF4F, either in influenza virus-infected cells or in cells transfected with NS1 cDNA. Affinity chromatography studies using a purified His-NS1 protein-containing matrix showed that the fusion protein pulls down endogenous eIF4GI from COS-1 cells and labeled eIF4GI translated in vitro, but not the eIF4E subunit of the eIF4F factor. Similar in vitro binding experiments with eIF4GI deletion mutants indicated that the NS1-binding domain of eIF4GI is located between residues 157 and 550, in a region where no other component of the translational machinery is known to interact. Moreover, using overlay assays and pull-down experiments, we showed that NS1 and eIF4GI proteins interact directly, in an RNA-independent manner. Mapping of the eIF4GI-binding domain in the NS1 protein indicated that the first 113 N-terminal amino acids of the protein, but not the first 81, are sufficient to bind eIF4GI. The first of these mutants has been previously shown to act as a translational enhancer, while the second is defective in this activity. Collectively, these and previously published data suggest a model where NS1 recruits eIF4GI specifically to the 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR) of the viral mRNA, allowing for the preferential translation of the influenza virus messengers.
PMCID: PMC86100  PMID: 10938102
18.  Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4AIII (eIF4AIII) Is Functionally Distinct from eIF4AI and eIF4AII 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(11):7336-7346.
Eukaryotic initiation factor 4A (eIF4A) is an RNA-dependent ATPase and ATP-dependent RNA helicase that is thought to melt the 5′ proximal secondary structure of eukaryotic mRNAs to facilitate attachment of the 40S ribosomal subunit. eIF4A functions in a complex termed eIF4F with two other initiation factors (eIF4E and eIF4G). Two isoforms of eIF4A, eIF4AI and eIF4AII, which are encoded by two different genes, are functionally indistinguishable. A third member of the eIF4A family, eIF4AIII, whose human homolog exhibits 65% amino acid identity to human eIF4AI, has also been cloned from Xenopus and tobacco, but its function in translation has not been characterized. In this study, human eIF4AIII was characterized biochemically. While eIF4AIII, like eIF4AI, exhibits RNA-dependent ATPase activity and ATP-dependent RNA helicase activity, it fails to substitute for eIF4AI in an in vitro-reconstituted 40S ribosome binding assay. Instead, eIF4AIII inhibits translation in a reticulocyte lysate system. In addition, whereas eIF4AI binds independently to the middle and carboxy-terminal fragments of eIF4G, eIF4AIII binds to the middle fragment only. These functional differences between eIF4AI and eIF4AIII suggest that eIF4AIII might play an inhibitory role in translation under physiological conditions.
PMCID: PMC84727  PMID: 10523622
19.  Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4F Architectural Alterations Accompany Translation Initiation Factor Redistribution in Poxvirus-Infected Cells▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(8):2648-2658.
Despite their self-sufficient ability to generate capped mRNAs from cytosolic DNA genomes, poxviruses must commandeer the critical eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4F (eIF4F) to recruit ribosomes. While eIF4F integrates signals to control translation, precisely how poxviruses manipulate the multisubunit eIF4F, composed of the cap-binding eIF4E and the RNA helicase eIF4A assembled onto an eIF4G platform, remains obscure. Here, we establish that the poxvirus infection of normal, primary human cells destroys the translational repressor eIF4E binding protein (4E-BP) and promotes eIF4E assembly into an active eIF4F complex bound to the cellular polyadenylate-binding protein (PABP). Stimulation of the eIF4G-associated kinase Mnk1 promotes eIF4E phosphorylation and enhances viral replication and protein synthesis. Remarkably, these eIF4F architectural alterations are accompanied by the concentration of eIF4E and eIF4G within cytosolic viral replication compartments surrounded by PABP. This demonstrates that poxvirus infection redistributes, assembles, and modifies core and associated components of eIF4F and concentrates them within discrete subcellular compartments. Furthermore, it suggests that the subcellular distribution of eIF4F components may potentiate the complex assembly.
PMCID: PMC2293122  PMID: 18250159
20.  Phosphorylation of translation initiation factor eIF-4E is induced in a ras-dependent manner during nerve growth factor-mediated PC12 cell differentiation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1992;12(3):1239-1247.
Translation initiation factor eIF-4E, which binds to the 5' cap structure of eukaryotic mRNAs, is believed to play an important role in the control of cell growth. Consistent with this, overexpression of eIF-4E in fibroblasts results in their malignant transformation. The activity of eIF-4E is thought to be regulated by phosphorylation on a single serine residue (Ser-53). Treatment of rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells with nerve growth factor (NGF) strongly curtails their growth and causes their differentiation into cells that resemble sympathetic neurons. The present study shows that eIF-4E is rapidly phosphorylated in PC12 cells upon NGF treatment, resulting in a significant increase in the steady-state levels of the phosphorylated protein. In contrast, epidermal growth factor, a factor which elicits a weak mitogenic response in PC12 cells, did not significantly enhance eIF-4E phosphorylation. We also show that although the mitogen and tumor promoter, phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate, is able to induce phosphorylation of eIF-4E in PC12 cells, the NGF-mediated increase is primarily a protein kinase C-independent response. The NGF-induced enhancement of eIF-4E phosphorylation is abrogated in PC12 cells expressing a dominant inhibitory ras mutant (Ser-17 replaced by Asn), indicating that eIF-4E phosphorylation is dependent on a ras signalling pathway. As phosphorylation of eIF-4E effects translation initiation, these results suggest that NGF-mediated and ras-dependent eIF-4E phosphorylation may play a role in switching the pattern of gene expression during the differentiation of PC12 cells.
PMCID: PMC369556  PMID: 1545805
21.  The two eIF4A helicases in Trypanosoma brucei are functionally distinct 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(9):2495-2507.
Protozoan parasites belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae are characterized by an unusual pathway for the production of mRNAs via polycistronic transcription and trans-splicing of a 5′ capped mini-exon which is linked to the 3′ cleavage and polyadenylation of the upstream transcript. However, little is known of the mechanism of protein synthesis in these organisms, despite their importance as agents of a number of human diseases. Here we have investigated the role of two Trypanosoma brucei homologues of the translation initiation factor eIF4A (in the light of subsequent experiments these were named as TbEIF4AI and TbEIF4AIII). eIF4A, a DEAD-box RNA helicase, is a subunit of the translation initiation complex eIF4F which binds to the cap structure of eukaryotic mRNA and recruits the small ribosomal subunit. TbEIF4AI is a very abundant predominantly cytoplasmic protein (over 1 × 105 molecules/cell) and depletion to ∼10% of normal levels through RNA interference dramatically reduces protein synthesis one cell cycle following double-stranded RNA induction and stops cell proliferation. In contrast, TbEIF4AIII is a nuclear, moderately expressed protein (∼1–2 × 104 molecules/cell), and its depletion stops cellular proliferation after approximately four cell cycles. Ectopic expression of a dominant negative mutant of TbEIF4AI, but not of TbEIF4AIII, induced a slow growth phenotype in transfected cells. Overall, our results suggest that only TbEIF4AI is involved in protein synthesis while the properties and sequence of TbEIF4AIII indicate that it may be the orthologue of eIF4AIII, a component of the exon junction complex in mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC1459412  PMID: 16687655
22.  Coupled Release of Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factors 5B and 1A from 80S Ribosomes following Subunit Joining▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(6):2384-2397.
The translation initiation GTPase eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5B (eIF5B) binds to the factor eIF1A and catalyzes ribosomal subunit joining in vitro. We show that rapid depletion of eIF5B in Saccharomyces cerevisiae results in the accumulation of eIF1A and mRNA on 40S subunits in vivo, consistent with a defect in subunit joining. Substituting Ala for the last five residues in eIF1A (eIF1A-5A) impairs eIF5B binding to eIF1A in cell extracts and to 40S complexes in vivo. Consistently, overexpression of eIF5B suppresses the growth and translation initiation defects in yeast expressing eIF1A-5A, indicating that eIF1A helps recruit eIF5B to the 40S subunit prior to subunit joining. The GTPase-deficient eIF5B-T439A mutant accumulated on 80S complexes in vivo and was retained along with eIF1A on 80S complexes formed in vitro. Likewise, eIF5B and eIF1A remained associated with 80S complexes formed in the presence of nonhydrolyzable GDPNP, whereas these factors were released from the 80S complexes in assays containing GTP. We propose that eIF1A facilitates the binding of eIF5B to the 40S subunit to promote subunit joining. Following 80S complex formation, GTP hydrolysis by eIF5B enables the release of both eIF5B and eIF1A, and the ribosome enters the elongation phase of protein synthesis.
PMCID: PMC1820483  PMID: 17242201
23.  mRNA Decay during Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Infections: Protein-Protein Interactions Involving the HSV Virion Host Shutoff Protein and Translation Factors eIF4H and eIF4A 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(15):9651-9664.
During lytic infections, the virion host shutoff (Vhs) protein of herpes simplex virus accelerates the degradation of both host and viral mRNAs. In so doing, it helps redirect the cell from host to viral protein synthesis and facilitates the sequential expression of different viral genes. Vhs interacts with the cellular translation initiation factor eIF4H, and several point mutations that abolish its mRNA degradative activity also abrogate its ability to bind eIF4H. In addition, a complex containing bacterially expressed Vhs and a glutathione S-transferase (GST)-eIF4H fusion protein has RNase activity. eIF4H shares a region of sequence homology with eIF4B, and it appears to be functionally similar in that both stimulate the RNA helicase activity of eIF4A, a component of the mRNA cap-binding complex eIF4F. We show that eIF4H interacts physically with eIF4A in the yeast two-hybrid system and in GST pull-down assays and that the two proteins can be coimmunoprecipitated from mammalian cells. Vhs also interacts with eIF4A in GST pull-down and coimmunoprecipitation assays. Site-directed mutagenesis of Vhs and eIF4H revealed residues of each that are important for their mutual interaction, but not for their interaction with eIF4A. Thus, Vhs, eIF4H, and eIF4A comprise a group of proteins, each of which is able to interact directly with the other two. Whether they interact simultaneously as a tripartite complex or sequentially is unclear. The data suggest a mechanism for linking the degradation of an mRNA to its translation and for targeting Vhs to mRNAs and to regions of translation initiation.
PMCID: PMC1181552  PMID: 16014927
24.  Phylogenetic analysis of eIF4E-family members 
Translation initiation in eukaryotes involves the recruitment of mRNA to the ribosome which is controlled by the translation factor eIF4E. eIF4E binds to the 5'-m7Gppp cap-structure of mRNA. Three dimensional structures of eIF4Es bound to cap-analogues resemble 'cupped-hands' in which the cap-structure is sandwiched between two conserved Trp residues (Trp-56 and Trp-102 of H. sapiens eIF4E). A third conserved Trp residue (Trp-166 of H. sapiens eIF4E) recognizes the 7-methyl moiety of the cap-structure. Assessment of GenBank NR and dbEST databases reveals that many organisms encode a number of proteins with homology to eIF4E. Little is understood about the relationships of these structurally related proteins to each other.
By combining sequence data deposited in the Genbank databases, we have identified sequences encoding 411 eIF4E-family members from 230 species. These sequences have been deposited into an internet-accessible database designed for sequence comparisons of eIF4E-family members. Most members can be grouped into one of three classes. Class I members carry Trp residues equivalent to Trp-43 and Trp-56 of H. sapiens eIF4E and appear to be present in all eukaryotes. Class II members, possess Trp→Tyr/Phe/Leu and Trp→Tyr/Phe substitutions relative to Trp-43 and Trp-56 of H. sapiens eIF4E, and can be identified in Metazoa, Viridiplantae, and Fungi. Class III members possess a Trp residue equivalent to Trp-43 of H. sapiens eIF4E but carry a Trp→Cys/Tyr substitution relative to Trp-56 of H. sapiens eIF4E, and can be identified in Coelomata and Cnidaria. Some eIF4E-family members from Protista show extension or compaction relative to prototypical eIF4E-family members.
The expansion of sequenced cDNAs and genomic DNAs from all eukaryotic kingdoms has revealed a variety of proteins related in structure to eIF4E. Evolutionarily it seems that a single early eIF4E gene has undergone multiple gene duplications generating multiple structural classes, such that it is no longer possible to predict function from the primary amino acid sequence of an eIF4E-family member. The variety of eIF4E-family members provides a source of alternatives on the eIF4E structural theme that will benefit structure/function analyses and therapeutic drug design.
PMCID: PMC1260017  PMID: 16191198
25.  Generation of Multiple Isoforms of Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4GI by Use of Alternate Translation Initiation Codons 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(13):4499-4511.
Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI) is an essential protein that is the target for translational regulation in many cellular processes and viral systems. It has been shown to function in both cap-dependent and cap-independent translation initiation by recruiting the 40S ribosomal subunit to the mRNA cap structure or internal ribosome entry site (IRES) element, respectively. Interestingly eIF4GI mRNA itself has been reported to contain an IRES element in its 5′ end that facilitates eIF4GI protein synthesis via a cap-independent mechanism. In HeLa cells, eIF4GI exists as several isoforms that differ in their migration in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gels; however, the nature of these isoforms was unclear. Here, we report a new cDNA clone for eIF4GI that extends the 5′ sequence 340 nucleotides beyond the previously published sequence. The new extended sequence of eIF4GI is located on chromosome 3, within two additional exons immediately upstream of the previously published eIF4GI sequence. When mRNA transcribed from this cDNA clone was translated in vitro, five eIF4GI polypeptides were generated that comigrated in SDS-polyacrylamide gels with the five isoforms of native eIF4GI. Furthermore, translation of eIF4GI-enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion constructs in vitro or in vivo generated five isoforms of fusion polypeptides, suggesting that multiple isoforms of eIF4GI are generated by alternative translation initiation in vitro and in vivo. Mutation of two of the five in-frame AUG residues in the eIF4GI cDNA sequence resulted in loss of corresponding polypeptides after translation in vitro, confirming alternate use of AUGs as the source of the multiple polypeptides. The 5′ untranslated region of eIF4GI mRNA also contains an out-of-frame open reading frame (ORF) that may down-regulate expression of eIF4GI. Further, data are presented to suggest that a proposed IRES embedded in the eIF4GI ORF is able to catalyze synthesis of multiple eIF4GI isoforms as well. Our data suggest that expression of the eIF4GI isoforms is partly controlled by a complex translation strategy involving both cap-dependent and cap-independent mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC133909  PMID: 12052860

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