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Genes Dev. 2005 Aug 15;19(16):1844-8.

4E-BP functions as a metabolic brake used under stress conditions but not during normal growth.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


4E-BP is an important regulator of overall translation levels in cells. By binding eIF4E, 4E-BP impairs recruitment of the 40S ribosomal subunit to the cap structure present at the 5'-end of all eukaryotic cellular mRNAs. 4E-BP activity is controlled by TOR (Target of Rapamycin). 4E-BP has been studied extensively in cell culture; however, the biological role of 4E-BP in developing organisms is unclear to date. Since TOR has been shown to control tissue growth during animal development, 4E-BP has also been assumed to serve as a growth regulator. Here, we study the relevance of 4E-BP function for organismal development, and present evidence for an alternate view. We show that 4E-BP strongly affects fat metabolism in Drosophila. We suggest that 4E-BP works as a metabolic brake that is activated under conditions of environmental stress to control fat metabolism. 4E-BP mutants lack this regulation, reducing their ability to survive under unfavorable conditions.

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