Dynamic and tissue-specific expression of eIF4E during zebrafish embryogenesis

Scott C. Fahrenkrug, Mark O. Dahlquist, Karl J. Clark, Perry B. Hackett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The regulation of protein synthesis is critical to diverse cellular processes and plays a pivotal role in regulating gene expression during embryogenesis. The cap-binding protein eIF4E is a translational factor whose activity appears to be both ubiquitous and central to the regulation of protein synthesis in all cell-types. As a cell-cycle regulator, mesoderm inducer and proto-oncogene, the amount and activity of the translational factor eIF4E must be under strict control, but the range of its expression and its concentration as a function of position and time in the developing embryo are unknown. Consequently, we have initiated studies to elucidate the expression of the eIF4E gene and its role in the regulating embryonic development. We have cloned a zebrafish gene encoding eIF4E, zeIF4E, and measured its developmental expression. Unexpectedly, we found that the zeIF4E gene produces two alternatively spliced transcripts that potentially encode different forms of the initiation factor. Molecular analyses and in situ hybridization reveal a potential role for eIF4E in regulating protein synthesis during vertebrate oogenesis, gastrulation, and erythropoiesis. The dynamic and asymmetric expression of eIF4E during zebrafish embryogenesis reveals that this ostensibly general translation factor may act as a tissue-specific translational enhancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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