eIF4E, the cytoplasmatic cap-binding protein, is required for efficient cap-dependent translation. We have studied the influence of mutations that alter the activity and/or expression level of eIF4E on haploid and diploid cells in the yeast S. cerevisiae. Temperature-sensitive eIF4E mutants with reduced levels of expression and reduced cap-binding affinity clearly show a loss in haploid adhesion and diploid pseudohyphenation upon starvation for nitrogen. Some of these mutations affect the interaction of the cap-structure of mRNAs with the cap-binding groove of eIF4E. The observed reduction in adhesive and pseudohyphenating properties is less evident for an eIF4E mutant that shows reduced interaction with p20 (an eIF4E-binding protein) or for a p20-knockout mutant. Loss of adhesive and pseudohyphenating properties was not only observed for eIF4E mutants but also for knockout mutants of components of eIF4F such as eIF4B and eIF4G1. We conclude from these experiments that mutations that affect components of the eIF4F-complex loose properties such as adhesion and pseudohyphal differentiation, most likely due to less effective translation of required mRNAs for such processes.
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