Addition of serum or epidermal growth factor to quiescent Swiss mouse 3T3 cells in culture leads to a number of specific changes in the pattern of protein synthesis. Earlier experiments with actinomycin D suggested that the altered expression of these proteins was controlled at either the pretranslational or translational level. Here we have identified and further characterized the regulation of mRNA expression for ten of these proteins, including protein synthesis elongation factor eEF-1 alpha, poly A binding protein, vimentin, the multiple forms of the actin protein family, and alpha- and beta-tubulin. Using an in vitro translation system, we determined the change in the level of mRNA encoding for each of these proteins after serum stimulation. The results showed that the amount of mRNA coding for eEF-1 alpha, poly A binding protein, vimentin, and alpha- and beta-tubulin remains unchanged during this time, whereas that of the actin family increases. Thus, with the exception of the actin family, the results argue that the expression of all the proteins identified is regulated at the translational level. The importance of this latter group of proteins in cell growth and the abundance of their cognate mRNAs should prove them useful tools in elucidating the mechanisms involved in the activation of translationally repressed mRNA during the mitogenic response.

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