Nutrient overload induces obesity, a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Ribosomal biogenesis and protein synthesis, which are controlled by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), are primary energy-consuming processes in cells. mTOR phosphorylates and inactivates members of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E–binding (eIF4E-binding) protein (4E-BP) family, which are translational repressors of 5′ cap–dependent protein synthesis. In this issue of the JCI, Le Bacquer et al. report that simultaneous deletion of both 4E-BP1 and 4E-BP2 in mice results in insulin resistance, decreased energy expenditure, and increased adipogenesis (see the related article beginning on page 387). These findings link protein synthesis, insulin sensitivity, and body weight.
A model of the regulation of body weight and insulin sensitivity by mTOR, S6K1, and 4E-BP.