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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009 Feb;296(2):H505-14. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01105.2008. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Blocking eukaryotic initiation factor 4F complex formation does not inhibit the mTORC1-dependent activation of protein synthesis in cardiomyocytes.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia and Diabetes Research Group, Life Sciences Institute, Vancouver, Canada.


Activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) causes the dissociation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E complex (eIF4E)-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) from eIF4E, leading to increased eIF4F complex formation. mTORC1 positively regulates protein synthesis and is implicated in several diseases including cardiac hypertrophy, a potentially fatal disorder involving increased cardiomyocyte size. The importance of 4E-BP1 in mTORC1-regulated protein synthesis was investigated by overexpressing 4E-BP1, which blocks eIF4F formation in isolated primary cardiomyocytes without affecting other targets for mTORC1 signaling. Interestingly, blocking eIF4F formation did not impair the degree of activation of overall protein synthesis by the hypertrophic agent phenylephrine (PE), which, furthermore, remained dependent on mTORC1. Overexpressing 4E-BP1 also only had a small effect on PE-induced cardiomyocyte growth. Overexpressing 4E-BP1 did diminish the PE-stimulated synthesis of luciferase encoded by structured mRNAs, confirming that such mRNAs do require eIF4F for their translation in cardiomyocytes. These data imply that the substantial inhibition of cardiomyocyte protein synthesis and growth caused by inhibiting mTORC1 cannot be attributed to the activation of 4E-BP1 or loss of eIF4F complexes. Our data indicate that increased eIF4F formation plays, at most, only a minor role in the mTORC1-dependent activation of overall protein synthesis in these primary cells but is required for the translation of structured mRNAs. Therefore, other mTORC1 targets are more important in the inhibition by rapamycin of the rapid activation of protein synthesis and of cell growth.

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