Effects of protein phosphorylation on ubiquitination and stability of the translational inhibitor protein 4E-BP1

A. Elia, C. Constantinou, M. J. Clemens

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50 Citations (Scopus)


The availability of the eukaryotic polypeptide chain initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) for protein synthesis is regulated by the 4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs), which act as inhibitors of cap-dependent mRNA translation. The ability of the 4E-BPs to sequester eIF4E is regulated by reversible phosphorylation at multiple sites. We show here that, in addition, 4E-BP1 is a substrate for polyubiquitination and that some forms of 4E-BP1 are simultaneously polyubiquitinated and phosphorylated. In Jurkat cells inhibition of proteasomal activity by MG132 enhances the level of hypophosphorylated, unmodified 4E-BP1 but only modestly increases the accumulation of high-molecular-weight, phosphorylated forms of 4E-BP1. In contrast, inhibition of protein phosphatase activity with calyculin A reduces the level of unmodified 4E-BP1 but strongly enhances the amount of phosphorylated, high-molecular-weight 4E-BP1. Turnover measurements in the presence of cycloheximide show that, whereas 4E-BP1 is normally a very stable protein, calyculin A decreases the apparent half-life of the normal-sized protein. Affinity chromatography on m7GTP-Sepharose indicates that the larger forms of 4E-BP1 bind very poorly to eIF4E. We suggest that the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 may play a dual role in the regulation of protein synthesis, both reducing the affinity of 4E-BP1 for eIF4E and promoting the conversion of 4E-BP1 to alternative, polyubiquitinated forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-822
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2008


  • Calyculin A
  • eIF4E
  • Protein degradation
  • Protein phosphatases
  • Protein synthesis


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