Regulating the expression of eEF1A to decipher its non canonical functions in eukaryotic cells

  • Kerry Hallbrook

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The canonical function of eEF1A is delivery of the aminoacylated tRNA to the A site of the ribosome during protein translation, however, it is also known to be an actin binding protein. As well as this actin binding function, eEF1A has been shown to be involved in other cellular processes such as cell proliferation and apoptosis. It has long been thought that the actin cytoskeleton and protein synthesis are linked and eEF1A has been suggested to be a candidate protein to form this link, though very little is understood about the relationship between its two functions. Overexpression of eEF1A has also been shown to be implicated in many different types of cancers, especially cancers that are metastatic, therefore it is important to further understand how eEF1A can affect both translation and the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton. To this end, we aimed to determine the effects of reduced expression of eEF1A on both translation and its non canonical functions in CHO cells. We have shown that reduced expression of eEF1A in this cell system results in no change in protein synthesis, however results in an increased number of actin stress fibres and other proteins associated with these fibres such as myosin IIA, paxillin and vinculin. Cell motility and attachment are also affected by this reduction in eEF1A protein expression. The organisational and motility phenotypes were found to be specific to eEF1A by transforming the cells with plasmids containing either human eEF1A1 or eEF1A2. Though the mechanisms by which these effects are regulated have not yet been established, this data provides evidence to show that the translation and actin binding functions of eEF1A are independent of each other as well as being suggestive of a role for eEF1A in cell motility as supported by the observation that overexpression of eEF1A protein tends to be associated with the cancer cells that are metastatic.
Date of Award7 Jul 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorStephane Gross (Supervisor), Bernd Hoffmann (Supervisor) & Roslyn Bill (Supervisor)

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