Translation factors eIF4E and eIF4G form eIF4F, which interacts with the mRNA 5' cap to promote ribosome recruitment and translation initiation. Variations in the association of eIF4F with individual mRNAs likely contribute to differences in translation initiation frequencies between mRNAs. As translation initiation is globally reprogrammed by environmental stresses, we were interested in determining whether eIF4F interactions with individual mRNAs are reprogrammed and how this may contribute to globalenvironmental stress responses.
Using a tagged-factor protein capture and RNA-seq approach we have assessed how mRNA associations with eIF4E, eIF4G1 and eIF4G2 change globally in response to three defined stresses that each cause a rapid attenuation of protein synthesis: oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide and nutrient stresses caused by amino acid or glucose withdrawal. We find that acute stress leads to dynamic and unexpected changes in eIF4F-mRNA interactions that are shared among each factor and across the stresses imposed. eIF4F-mRNA interactions stabilized by stress are predominantly associated with translational repression, while more actively initiating mRNAs become relatively depleted for eIF4F. Simultaneously, other mRNAs are insulated from these stress-induced changes in eIF4F association.
Dynamic eIF4F-mRNA interaction changes are part of a coordinated early translational control response shared across environmental stresses. Our data are compatible with a model where multiple mRNA closed-loop complexes form with differing stability. Hence, unexpectedly, in the absence of other stabilizing factors, rapid translation initiation on mRNAs correlates with less stable eIF4F interactions.