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Am J Physiol. 1999 Dec;277(6):E1077-86. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1999.277.6.E1077.

Amino acid-induced stimulation of translation initiation in rat skeletal muscle.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.


Amino acids stimulate protein synthesis in skeletal muscle by accelerating translation initiation. In the two studies described herein, we examined mechanisms by which amino acids regulate translation initiation in perfused skeletal muscle hindlimb preparation of rats. In the first study, the effects of supraphysiological amino acid concentrations on eukaryotic initiation factors (eIF) 2B and 4E were compared with physiological concentrations of amino acids. Amino acid supplementation stimulated protein synthesis twofold. No changes were observed in eIF2B activity, in the amount of eIF4E associated with the eIF4E-binding protein (4E-BP1), or in the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1. The abundance of eIF4E bound to eIF4G and the extent of phosphorylation of eIF4E were increased by 800 and 20%, respectively. In the second study, we examined the effect of removing leucine on translation initiation when all other amino acids were maintained at supraphysiological concentrations. Removal of leucine from the perfusate decreased the rate of protein synthesis by 40%. The inhibition of protein synthesis was associated with a 40% decrease in eIF2B activity and an 80% fall in the abundance of eIF4E. eIF4G complex. The fall in eIF4G binding to eIF4E was associated with increased 4E-BP1 bound to eIF4E and a reduced phosphorylation of 4E-BP1. In contrast, the extent of phosphorylation of eIF4E was unaffected. We conclude that formation of the active eIF4E. eIF4G complex controls protein synthesis in skeletal muscle when the amino acid concentration is above the physiological range, whereas removal of leucine reduces protein synthesis through changes in both eIF2B and eIF4E.

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