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Cell Death Differ. 2000 Jul;7(7):628-36.

Cleavage of polypeptide chain initiation factor eIF4GI during apoptosis in lymphoma cells: characterisation of an internal fragment generated by caspase-3-mediated cleavage.

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Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Cellular and Molecular Sciences Group, St George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 ORE, UK.


Polypeptide chain initiation factor eIF4GI undergoes caspase-mediated degradation during apoptosis to give characteristic fragments. The most prominent of these has an estimated mass of approximately 76 kDa (Middle-Fragment of Apoptotic cleavage of eIF4G; M-FAG). Subcellular fractionation of the BJAB lymphoma cell line after induction of apoptosis indicates that M-FAG occurs in both ribosome-bound and soluble forms. Affinity chromatography on m7GTP-Sepharose shows that M-FAG retains the ability of eIF4GI to associate with both the mRNA cap-binding protein eIF4E and initiation factor eIF4A and that the ribosome-bound form of M-FAG is also present as a complex with eIF4E and eIF4A. These data suggest that the binding sites for eIF4E, eIF4A and eIF3 on eIF4GI are retained in the caspase-generated fragment. M-FAG is also a substrate for cleavage by the Foot-and-Mouth-Disease Virus-encoded L protease. These properties, together with the pattern of recognition by a panel of antibodies, define the origin of the apoptotic cleavage fragment. N-terminal sequencing of the products of caspase-3-mediated eIF4GI cleavage has identified the major cleavage sites. The pattern of eIF4GI degradation and the possible roles of the individual cleavage products in cells undergoing apoptosis are discussed.

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