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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 May 12;112(19):5875-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505787112. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

CDK1 substitutes for mTOR kinase to activate mitotic cap-dependent protein translation.

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Cancer Virology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Cancer Virology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Mitosis is commonly thought to be associated with reduced cap-dependent protein translation. Here we show an alternative control mechanism for maintaining cap-dependent translation during mitosis revealed by a viral oncoprotein, Merkel cell polyomavirus small T (MCV sT). We find MCV sT to be a promiscuous E3 ligase inhibitor targeting the anaphase-promoting complex, which increases cell mitogenesis. MCV sT binds through its Large T stabilization domain region to cell division cycle protein 20 (Cdc20) and, possibly, cdc20 homolog 1 (Cdh1) E3 ligase adapters. This activates cyclin-dependent kinase 1/cyclin B1 (CDK1/CYCB1) to directly hyperphosphorylate eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein (4E-BP1) at authentic sites, generating a mitosis-specific, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor-resistant δ phospho-isoform not present in G1-arrested cells. Recombinant 4E-BP1 inhibits capped mRNA reticulocyte translation, which is partially reversed by CDK1/CYCB1 phosphorylation of 4E-BP1. eIF4G binding to the eIF4E-m(7)GTP cap complex is resistant to mTOR inhibition during mitosis but sensitive during interphase. Flow cytometry, with and without sT, reveals an orthogonal pH3(S10+) mitotic cell population having higher inactive p4E-BP1(T37/T46+) saturation levels than pH3(S10-) interphase cells. Using a Click-iT flow cytometric assay to directly measure mitotic protein synthesis, we find that most new protein synthesis during mitosis is cap-dependent, a result confirmed using the eIF4E/4G inhibitor drug 4E1RCat. For most cell lines tested, cap-dependent translation levels were generally similar between mitotic and interphase cells, and the majority of new mitotic protein synthesis was cap-dependent. These findings suggest that mitotic cap-dependent translation is generally sustained during mitosis by CDK1 phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 even under conditions of reduced mTOR signaling.


4E-BP1; Merkel cell; cyclin-dependent kinase 1; mitosis; small T

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