Role of eIF3 p170 in controlling synthesis of ribonucleotide reductase M2 and cell growth

Zizheng Dong, Lisa H. Liu, Baoguang Han, Roxana Pincheira, Jian Ting Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Translation initiation in eukaryotes is a rate-limiting step in protein synthesis. It is a complicated process that involves many eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs). Altering the expression level or the function of eIFs may influence the synthesis of some proteins and consequently cause abnormal cell growth and malignant transformation. P170, the largest putative subunit of eIF3, has been found elevated in human breast, cervical, esophageal, and lung cancers, suggesting that p170 may have a potential role in malignant transformation and/or cell growth control. Our recent studies suggested that p170 is likely a translational regulator and it may mediate the effect of mimosine on the translation of a subset mRNAs. Mimosine, a plant nonprotein amino acid, inhibits mammalian DNA synthesis, an essential event of cell growth. The rate-limiting step in DNA synthesis is the conversion of the ribonucleotides to their corresponding deoxyribonucleotides catalysed by ribonucleotide reductase of which the activity is regulated by the level of its M2 subunit. It has been reported that inhibiting the activity of M2 also inhibits cell growth. To understand the relationship between protein and DNA synthesis and between p170 and cell growth control, we investigated in this study whether p170 regulates the synthesis of M2 and, thus, cell growth. We found that altering the expression level of p170 changes the synthesis rate of both M2 and DNA. Decreasing p170 expression in human lung cancer cell line H1299 and breast cancer cell line MCF7 significantly reversed their malignant growth phenotype. However, the overall [35S]methionine incorporation following dramatic decrease in p170 expression was only ∼25% less than the control cells. These observations, together with our previous findings, suggest that p170 may regulate the translation of a subset mRNAs and its elevated expression level may be important for cancer cell growth and for maintaining their malignant phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3790-3801
Number of pages12
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 6 2004


  • Anchorage-independent cell growth
  • Antisense cDNA
  • eIF3
  • p170
  • Ribonucleotide reductase
  • Translation initiation factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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