An evolutionarily conserved interaction of tumor suppressor protein Pdcd4 with the poly(A)-binding protein contributes to translation suppression by Pdcd4

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The tumor suppressor protein programmed cell death 4 (Pdcd4) has been implicated in the translational regulation of specific mRNAs, however, the identities of the natural Pdcd4 target mRNAs and the mechanisms by which Pdcd4 affects their translation are not well understood. Pdcd4 binds to the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF4A and inhibits its helicase activity, which has suggested that Pdcd4 suppresses translation initiation of mRNAs containing structured 5′-untranslated regions. Recent work has revealed a second inhibitory mechanism, which is eIF4A-independent and involves direct RNA-binding of Pdcd4 to the target mRNAs. We have now identified the poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) as a novel direct interaction partner of Pdcd4. The ability to interact with PABP is shared between human and Drosophila Pdcd4, indicating that it has been highly conserved during evolution. Mutants of Pdcd4 that have lost the ability to interact with PABP fail to stably associate with ribosomal complexes in sucrose density gradients and to suppress translation, as exemplified by c-mybmRNA. Overall, our work identifies PABP as a novel functionally relevant Pdcd4 interaction partner that contributes to the regulation of translation by Pdcd4.

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