Leucine, glutamine, and tyrosine, three amino acids playing key modulatory roles in hepatic proteolysis, were evaluated for activation of signaling pathways involved in regulation of liver protein synthesis. Furthermore, because leucine signals to effectors that lie distal to the mammalian target of rapamycin, these downstream factors were selected for study as candidate mediators of amino acid signaling. Using the perfused rat liver as a model system, we observed a 25% stimulation of protein synthesis in response to balanced hyperaminoacidemia, whereas amino acid imbalance due to elevated concentrations of leucine, glutamine, and tyrosine resulted in a protein synthetic depression of roughly 50% compared with normoaminoacidemic controls. The reduction in protein synthesis accompanying amino acid imbalance became manifest at high physiologic concentrations and was dictated by the guanine nucleotide exchange activity of translation initiation factor eIF2B. Paradoxically, this phenomenon occurred concomitantly with assembly of the mRNA cap recognition complex, eIF4F as well as activation of the 70-kDa ribosomal S6 kinase, p70(S6k). Dual and reciprocal modulation of eIF4F and eIF2B was leucine-specific because isoleucine, a structural analog, was ineffective in these regards. Thus, we conclude that amino acid imbalance, heralded by leucine, initiates a liver-specific translational failsafe mechanism that deters protein synthesis under unfavorable circumstances despite promotion of the eIF4F complex.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology