Overexpressed-eIF3I interacted and activated oncogenic Akt1 is a theranostic target in human hepatocellular carcinoma


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • Supported by funding from the National Research Program for Biopharmaceuticals (NSC 101-2325-B-001-011) and the National Science Council (NSC101-2320-B-001-029-MY3) of Taiwan.


Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit I (eIF3I) with transforming capability is often overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) but its oncogenic mechanisms remain unknown. We demonstrate that eIF3I is overexpressed in various cancers along with activated Akt1 phosphorylation and kinase activity in an eIF3I dose-dependent manner. A novel eIF3I and Akt1 protein interaction was identified in HCC cell lines and tissues and was required for eIF3I-mediated activation of Akt1 signaling. Expression of either antisense eIF3I or dominant negative Akt1 mutant suppressed eIF3I-mediated Akt1 oncogenic signaling and various other tumorigenic effects. Oncogenic domain mapping of the eIF3I and Akt1 interaction suggested that the C-terminal eIF3I interacted with the Akt1 kinase domain and conferred the majority of oncogenic functions. In addition, eIF3I interaction with Akt1 prevented PP2A dephosphorylation of Akt1 and resulted in constitutively active Akt1 oncogenic signaling. Importantly, concordant expression of endogenous eIF3I and phospho-Akt1 was detected in HCC cell lines and tissues. Treatment of eIF3I overexpressing HCC cells with the Akt1 specific inhibitor API-2 suppressed eIF3I-mediated tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. Conclusion: We describe a constitutive Akt1 oncogenic mechanism resulting from interaction of overexpressed eIF3I with Akt1 that prevents PP2A-mediated dephosphorylation. Overexpression of eIF3I in HCC is oncogenic and is a surrogate marker and therapeutic target for treatment with Akt1 inhibitors. (HEPATOLOGY 2013;)