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Genes Dev. 2007 Dec 15;21(24):3232-7. Epub 2007 Nov 30.

Dissecting eIF4E action in tumorigenesis.

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Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Genetically engineered mouse models are powerful tools for studying cancer genes and validating targets for cancer therapy. We previously used a mouse lymphoma model to demonstrate that the translation initiation factor eIF4E is a potent oncogene in vivo. Using the same model, we now show that the oncogenic activity of eIF4E correlates with its ability to activate translation and become phosphorylated on Ser 209. Furthermore, constitutively activated MNK1, an eIF4E Ser 209 kinase, promotes tumorigenesis in a manner similar to eIF4E, and a dominant-negative MNK mutant inhibits the in vivo proliferation of tumor cells driven by mutations that deregulate translation. Phosphorylated eIF4E promotes tumorigenesis primarily by suppressing apoptosis and, accordingly, the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1 is one target of both phospho-eIF4E and MNK1 that contributes to tumor formation. Our results provide insight into how eIF4E contributes to tumorigenesis and pinpoint a level of translational control that may be suitable for therapeutic intervention.

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