Translational control plays a pivotal role in the regulation of the pluripotency network in embryonic stem cells, but its effect on reprogramming somatic cells to pluripotency has not been explored. Here, we show that eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binding proteins (4E-BPs), which are translational repressors, have a multifaceted effect on the reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Loss of 4E-BP expression attenuates the induction of iPSCs at least in part through increased translation of p21, a known inhibitor of somatic cell reprogramming. However, MEFs lacking both p53 and 4E-BPs show greatly enhanced reprogramming resulting from a combination of reduced p21 transcription and enhanced translation of endogenous mRNAs such as Sox2 and Myc and can be reprogrammed through the expression of only exogenous Oct4. Thus, 4E-BPs exert both positive and negative effects on reprogramming, highlighting the key role that translational control plays in regulating this process.
The subcellular position of a protein is a key determinant of its function. Mounting evidence indicates that RNA localization, where specific mRNAs are transported subcellularly and subsequently translated in response to localized signals, is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to control protein localization. On-site synthesis confers novel signaling properties to a protein and helps to maintain local proteome homeostasis. Local translation plays particularly important roles in distal neuronal compartments, and dysregulated RNA localization and translation cause defects in neuronal wiring and survival. Here, we discuss key findings in this area and possible implications of this adaptable and swift mechanism for spatial control of gene function.
Protein synthesis is critical for circadian clock function, but little is known of how translational regulation controls the master pacemaker in mammals, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Here we demonstrate that the pivotal translational repressor, the eukaryotic translational initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), is rhythmically regulated via the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in the SCN and preferentially represses vasoactive intestinal peptide (Vip) mRNA translation. Knockout (KO) of Eif4ebp1 (gene encoding 4E-BP1) leads to upregulation of VIP and higher amplitude of molecular rhythms in the SCN. Consequently, the 4E-BP1 null mice exhibit accelerated re-entrainment to a shifted light/dark cycle and are more resistant to the rhythm-disruptive effects of constant light. Conversely, in Mtor(+/-) mice VIP expression is decreased and susceptibility to the effects of constant light is increased. These results reveal a key role for mTOR/4E-BP1-mediated translational control in regulating entrainment and synchrony of the master clock.
Control of protein synthesis is critical for synaptic plasticity and memory formation. However, the molecular mechanisms linking neuronal activity to activation of mRNA translation are not fully understood. Here, we report that the translational repressor poly(A)-binding protein (PABP)-interacting protein 2A (PAIP2A), an inhibitor of PABP, is rapidly proteolyzed by calpains in stimulated neurons and following training for contextual memory. Paip2a knockout mice exhibit a lowered threshold for the induction of sustained long-term potentiation and an enhancement of long-term memory after weak training. Translation of CaMKII? mRNA is enhanced in Paip2a?/? slices upon tetanic stimulation and in the hippocampus of Paip2a?/? mice following contextual fear learning. We demonstrate that activity-dependent degradation of PAIP2A relieves translational inhibition of memory-related genes through PABP reactivation and conclude that PAIP2A is a pivotal translational regulator of synaptic plasticity and memory.
The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein-2 (4E-BP2) is a repressor of cap-dependent mRNA translation and a major downstream effector of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) implicated in hippocampal long-term synaptic plasticity and memory. Yet, synaptic mechanisms regulated by 4E-BP2 translational repression remain unknown. Combining knock-out mice, whole-cell recordings, spine analysis, and translation profiling, we found that 4E-BP2 deletion selectively upregulated synthesis of glutamate receptor subunits GluA1 and GluA2, facilitating AMPA receptor (AMPAR)-mediated synaptic transmission and affecting translation-dependent chemically induced late long-term potentiation (cL-LTP). In 4E-BP2 knock-out (4E-BP2(-/-)) mice, evoked and miniature EPSCs were increased, an effect mimicked by short-hairpin RNA knockdown of 4E-BP2 in wild-type mice, indicating that 4E-BP2 level regulates basal transmission at mature hippocampal AMPAR-containing synapses. Remarkably, in 4E-BP2(-/-) mice, the AMPA to NMDA receptor (NMDAR) EPSC ratio was increased, without affecting NMDAR-mediated EPSCs. The enhanced AMPAR function concurred with increased spine density and decreased length resulting from greater proportion of regular spines and less filopodia in 4E-BP2(-/-) mice. Polysome profiling revealed that translation of GluA1 and GluA2 subunits, but not GluN1 or GluN2A/B, was selectively increased in 4E-BP2(-/-) hippocampi, consistent with unaltered I-V relation of EPSCs mediated by GluA1/GluA2 heteromers. Finally, translation-dependent cL-LTP of unitary EPSCs was also affected in 4E-BP2(-/-) mice, lowering induction threshold and removing mTOR signaling requirement while impairing induction by normal stimulation. Thus, translational control through 4E-BP2 represents a unique mechanism for selective regulation of AMPAR synthesis, synaptic function, and long-term plasticity, important for hippocampal-dependent memory processes.
The translation initiation step in eukaryotes is highly regulated and rate-limiting. During this process, the 40S ribosomal subunit is usually recruited to the 5 terminus of the mRNA. It then migrates towards the initiation codon, where it is joined by the 60S ribosomal subunit to form the 80S initiation complex. Secondary structures in the 5 untranslated region (UTR) can impede binding and movement of the 40S ribosome. The canonical eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF4A (also known as DDX2), together with its accessory proteins eIF4B and eIF4H, is thought to act as a helicase that unwinds secondary structures in the mRNA 5 UTR. Growing evidence suggests that other helicases are also important for translation initiation and may promote the scanning processivity of the 40S subunit, synergize with eIF4A to melt secondary structures or facilitate translation of a subset of mRNAs.
VAMP/synaptobrevin associated proteins A and B (VAPA and VAPB), are type IV membrane proteins enriched on ER and Golgi membranes. Both VAPA and B interact with cytoplasmic lipid transport proteins and cytoskeletal elements to maintain the structure and composition of ER and Golgi membranes. Truncated forms of both proteins are present in some tissues but the functional significance of this is not clear. In rodents processing of VAPA occurs in most tissues, however, truncated forms of VAPB have only been reported in brain tissue. It is demonstrated here that the extent of VAPB processing in rat increases during postnatal development and that it is restricted to neurons. The C-terminal polypeptide generated by this cleavage reaction remains associated with cell membranes, but its subcellular distribution is distinct from the full-length protein. A mutant form of VAPB is associated with a familial form of neurodegenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis type 8. The mutant protein, VAPB(P56S) , is resistant to truncation in primary neuronal cultures, although remains sensitive to some form of proteolysis when over-expressed in HEK293 cells. These data suggest that neuronal cells have a particular requirement for VAPB proteolysis and that reduced levels of processed polypeptides may contribute to the neurodegeneration associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis type 8.
The eIF4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs) repress translation initiation by preventing eIF4F complex formation. Of the three mammalian 4E-BPs, only 4E-BP2 is enriched in the mammalian brain and plays an important role in synaptic plasticity and learning and memory formation. Here we describe asparagine deamidation as a brain-specific posttranslational modification of 4E-BP2. Deamidation is the spontaneous conversion of asparagines to aspartates. Two deamidation sites were mapped to an asparagine-rich sequence unique to 4E-BP2. Deamidated 4E-BP2 exhibits increased binding to the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-binding protein raptor, which effects its reduced association with eIF4E. 4E-BP2 deamidation occurs during postnatal development, concomitant with the attenuation of the activity of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling pathway. Expression of deamidated 4E-BP2 in 4E-BP2(-/-) neurons yielded mEPSCs exhibiting increased charge transfer with slower rise and decay kinetics relative to the wild-type form. 4E-BP2 deamidation may represent a compensatory mechanism for the developmental reduction of PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling.
Hyperconnectivity of neuronal circuits due to increased synaptic protein synthesis is thought to cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is strongly implicated in ASDs by means of upstream signalling; however, downstream regulatory mechanisms are ill-defined. Here we show that knockout of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 2 (4E-BP2)-an eIF4E repressor downstream of mTOR-or eIF4E overexpression leads to increased translation of neuroligins, which are postsynaptic proteins that are causally linked to ASDs. Mice that have the gene encoding 4E-BP2 (Eif4ebp2) knocked out exhibit an increased ratio of excitatory to inhibitory synaptic inputs and autistic-like behaviours (that is, social interaction deficits, altered communication and repetitive/stereotyped behaviours). Pharmacological inhibition of eIF4E activity or normalization of neuroligin 1, but not neuroligin 2, protein levels restores the normal excitation/inhibition ratio and rectifies the social behaviour deficits. Thus, translational control by eIF4E regulates the synthesis of neuroligins, maintaining the excitation-to-inhibition balance, and its dysregulation engenders ASD-like phenotypes.
In mammalian neurons, targeting and translation of specific mRNAs in dendrites contribute to synaptic plasticity. After nuclear export, mRNAs designated for dendritic transport are generally assumed to be translationally dormant and activity of individual synapses may locally trigger their extrasomatic translation. We show that the long, GC-rich 5-untranslated region of dendritic SAPAP3 mRNA restricts translation initiation via a mechanism that involves an upstream open reading frame (uORF). In addition, the uORF enables the use of an alternative translation start site, permitting synthesis of two SAPAP3 isoforms from a single mRNA. While both isoforms progressively accumulate at postsynaptic densities during early rat brain development, their levels relative to each other vary in different adult rat brain areas. Thus, alternative translation initiation events appear to regulate relative expression of distinct SAPAP3 isoforms in different brain regions, which may function to influence synaptic plasticity.
Posterior cerebral artery (PCA) aneurysms are relatively rare, making up 1% to 2% of all intracranial aneurysms. To date, most clinical series are heterogeneous in nature, with few reports of isolated PCA dissecting aneurysms. Their clinical presentation can vary greatly, and the potential for long-term sequelae during or after treatment remains relatively high.
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