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Curr Biol. 2005 Jan 11;15(1):24-30.

Diet-dependent effects of the Drosophila Mnk1/Mnk2 homolog Lk6 on growth via eIF4E.

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Zoologisches Institut, Universität Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.

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  • Curr Biol. 2005 Jul 12;15(13):1255.


The control of cellular growth is tightly linked to the regulation of protein synthesis. A key function in translation initiation is fulfilled by the 5' cap binding eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E), and dysregulation of eIF4E is associated with malignant transformation and tumorigenesis . In mammals, the activity of eIF4E is modulated by phosphorylation at Ser209 by mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK)-interacting kinases 1 and 2 (Mnk1 and Mnk2) , which themselves are activated by ERK and p38 MAPK in response to mitogens, cytokines or cellular stress . Whether phosphorylation of eIF4E at Ser209 exerts a positive or inhibitory effect on translation efficiency has remained controversial. Here we provide a genetic characterization of the Drosophila homolog of Mnk1/2, Lk6. Lk6 function is dispensable under a high protein diet, consistent with the recent finding that mice lacking both Mnk1 and Mnk2 are not growth-impaired . Interestingly, loss of Lk6 function causes a significant growth reduction when the amino acid content in the diet is reduced. Overexpression of Lk6 also results in growth inhibition in an eIF4E-dependent manner. We propose a model of eIF4E regulation that may reconcile the contradictory findings with regard to the role of phosphorylation by Mnk1/2.

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