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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The 4E-BP-eIF4E axis promotes rapamycin-sensitive growth and proliferation in lymphocytes.

  • Author(s): So, Lomon
  • Lee, Jongdae
  • Palafox, Miguel
  • Mallya, Sharmila
  • Woxland, Chaz G
  • Arguello, Meztli
  • Truitt, Morgan L
  • Sonenberg, Nahum
  • Ruggero, Davide
  • Fruman, David A
  • et al.

Rapamycin has been used as a clinical immunosuppressant for many years; however, the molecular basis for its selective effects on lymphocytes remains unclear. We investigated the role of two canonical effectors of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR): ribosomal S6 kinases (S6Ks) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding proteins (4E-BPs). S6Ks are thought to regulate cell growth (increase in cell size), and 4E-BPs are thought to control proliferation (increase in cell number), with mTORC1 signaling serving to integrate these processes. However, we found that the 4E-BP-eIF4E signaling axis controlled both the growth and proliferation of lymphocytes, processes for which the S6Ks were dispensable. Furthermore, rapamycin disrupted eIF4E function selectively in lymphocytes, which was due to the increased abundance of 4E-BP2 relative to that of 4E-BP1 in these cells and the greater sensitivity of 4E-BP2 to rapamycin. Together, our findings suggest that the 4E-BP-eIF4E axis is uniquely rapamycin-sensitive in lymphocytes and that this axis promotes clonal expansion of these cells by coordinating growth and proliferation.

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