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Cancer Lett. 2013 Jun 10;333(2):239-43. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.01.041. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Inhibition of S6 kinase suppresses the apoptotic effect of eIF4E ablation by inducing TGF-β-dependent G1 cell cycle arrest.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Hunter College of The City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a critical regulator of cap-dependent translation through its direct activation of ribosomal protein p70 S6 kinase (S6 kinase) and indirect activation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E). We recently reported that inhibition of eIF4E expression caused apoptosis in cancer cells in the absence of serum. This was indicated by treatment with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin, which suppressed both S6 kinase and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation (dephosphorylated 4E-BP1 binds and inactivates eIF4E), or by knockdown of eIF4E. We report here that knockdown of eIF4E also causes apoptosis in the presence of serum. This was unexpected because rapamycin induces G1 cell cycle arrest in the presence of serum. Upon investigation, we have found that inactivated S6 kinase prevents the apoptotic effect observed by singular knockdown of eIF4E and results in G1 cell cycle arrest. This effect is dependent on TGF-β (transforming growth factor-β) signaling which contributes to G1 cell cycle arrest. Suppression of S6 kinase phosphorylation alone is insufficient to mediate cell cycle arrest, indicating that complete G1 cell cycle arrest is due to suppression of both S6 kinase and eIF4E. These data indicate that the cytostatic effect of rapamycin is suppression of both S6 kinase and eIF4E, while the cytotoxic effects are due suppression of eIF4E in the absence of S6 kinase-dependent activation of TGF-β signals. Our findings place an importance on the evaluating the activity/expression level of S6 kinase and eIF4E as readouts for rapamycin/rapalog efficacy.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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