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Dysregulated activity of helicase eIF4A drives transformation to and maintenance of cancer cell phenotype by reprogramming cellular translation. Interleukin 24 (IL-24) is a tumor-suppressing protein, which has the ability to inhibit angiogenesis, sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy, and induce cancer cell-specific apoptosis. In this study, we found that eIF4A is inhibited by IL-24. Consequently, selective reduction of translation was observed for mRNAs harboring strong secondary structures in their 50 -untranslated regions (50UTRs). These mRNAs encode proteins, which function in cell survival and proliferation. Consistently, overexpression of eIF4A conferred cancer cells with resistance to IL-24-induced cell death. It has been established that inhibition of eIF4A triggers mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis. We showed that IL-24 induces eIF4A-dependent mitochondrial depolarization. We also showed that IL-24 induces Sigma 1 Receptor-dependent eIF4A down-regulation and mitochondrial depolarization. Thus, the progress of apoptosis triggered by IL-24 is characterized by a complex program of changes in regulation of several initiation factors, including the eIF4A.


This article was originally published in Cancers, available at doi:10.3390/cancers10050153.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license (



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