Effect of starvation on initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and heart

D. E. Rannels, Anthony Pegg, S. R. Rannels, Leonard "Jim" Jefferson

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34 Scopus citations


Psoas muscle of rats starved for 2 or 4 days contained increased levels of ribosomal subunits and exhibited reduced rates of protein synthesis in vitro, demonstrating a starvation-induced inhibition of peptide-chain initiation. The activity of an eIF-2-like initiation factor, assayed in postribosomal supernatants, decreased in psoas during starvation, parallel to a 25% reduction in the RNA level. Reduced eIF-2 activity did not result from nucleotide depletion or increased deacylation of initiator tRNA, nor was it abolished by extensive dialysis. Perfusion of psoas muscle in the presence of insulin reversed the starvation-induced block in peptide-chain initiation, but did not alter the activity of eIF-2 or the level of RNA. Furthermore, heart muscle did not manifest a starvation-induced block in peptide-chain initiation even though the activity of eIF-2 and the level of RNA decreased as a result of food deprivation. Thus, loss of eIF-2 activity in psoas and heart did not parallel changes in peptide-chain initiation but was associated with a reduction in tissue RNA. These results indicate that the level of eIF-2 is not rate-limiting for peptide-chain initiation under the conditions tested in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E126-E133
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology Endocrinology Metabolism and Gastrointestinal Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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