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Diabetes. 2013 Jul;62(7):2204-14. doi: 10.2337/db12-1453. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Hyperglycemia mediates a shift from cap-dependent to cap-independent translation via a 4E-BP1-dependent mechanism.

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  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA.


Diabetes and its associated hyperglycemia induce multiple changes in liver function, yet we know little about the role played by translational control of gene expression in mediating the responses to these conditions. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that hyperglycemia-induced O-GlcNAcylation of the translational regulatory protein 4E-BP1 alters hepatic gene expression through a process involving the selection of mRNA for translation. In both streptozotocin (STZ)-treated mice and cells in culture exposed to hyperglycemic conditions, expression of 4E-BP1 and its interaction with the mRNA cap-binding protein eIF4E were enhanced in conjunction with downregulation of cap-dependent and concomitant upregulation of cap-independent mRNA translation, as assessed by a bicistronic luciferase reporter assay. Phlorizin treatment of STZ-treated mice lowered blood glucose concentrations and reduced activity of the cap-independent reporter. Notably, the glucose-induced shift from cap-dependent to cap-independent mRNA translation did not occur in cells lacking 4E-BP1. The extensive nature of this shift in translational control of gene expression was revealed using pulsed stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture to identify proteins that undergo altered rates of synthesis in response to hyperglycemia. Taken together, these data provide evidence for a novel mechanism whereby O-GlcNAcylation of 4E-BP1 mediates translational control of hepatic gene expression.

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