Protein synthesis is dynamic, with rapid reductions in translation in response to many different environmental stresses. An important mechanism for this translational control involves GCN2 protein kinase phosphorylation of eIF2 (eIF2~P), a translation initiation factor that delivers initiator Met-tRNAi(Met) to the translation machinery during the initiation phase of protein synthesis. The ensuing reduction in global translation initiation conserves energy and provides time for cells to reprogram gene expression with a focus on stress alleviation. Accompanying this global translational control, eIF2~P selectively enhances the translation of genes, such as the mammalian transcription activator ATF4 (yeast counterpart GCN4), which are important for essential adaptive functions. The idea that ATF4 is a common downstream target that integrates signaling from GCN2, and other eIF2 kinases, has led to the eIF2~P/ATF4 pathway being collectively referred to as the Integrated Stress Response (ISR). The ISR serves essential adaptive functions;however, perturbations in or unabated induction of these stress responses can contribute to morbidity. Our studies are focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating protein synthesis and stress response pathways and how these processes are beneficial or adverse in a given biomedical context. This research is important for understanding the progression of many diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, with a long term goal of development of biomarkers and therapeutic treatments. Our hypothesis is that GCN2 recognizes different stresses and facilitates gene expression that is important for ameliorating cellular damage and treating and preventing disease. In this proposal, we will address how GCN2 recognizes and gauges environmental stresses to elicit eIF2~P and translational control, and the underlying mechanism by which can recalibrate the protein synthetic machinery, such that mRNAs are individually evaluated, leading to prescribed changes in translation efficiencies. We propose three aims. 1) Characterize the mechanisms activating GCN2 in the ISR. 2) Characterize the mechanisms and functional significance of translational control in the ISR. 3) Characterize the role of the combined translational and transcriptional regulation of ATF4 in the ISR. Completion of the proposed experiments will provide significant new insight into the molecular processes activating GCN2 and the ISR, and the complex mechanisms by which eIF2~P controls global and gene- specific translation. These fundamental findings will be important for understanding how the ISR contributes to the progression of stress-related diseases, with the promise of developing new strategies for diagnosis and treatment.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating protein synthesis and stress response pathways and how these processes are beneficial or adverse in a given biomedical context. This research is important for understanding the progression of many diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, with a long term goal of development of biomarkers and therapeutic treatments.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01GM049164-19
Application #
8319338
Study Section
Molecular Genetics C Study Section (MGC)
Program Officer
Reddy, Michael K
Project Start
1993-04-01
Project End
2015-04-30
Budget Start
2012-05-01
Budget End
2013-04-30
Support Year
19
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$343,953
Indirect Cost
$117,968
Name
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Department
Biochemistry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
603007902
City
Indianapolis
State
IN
Country
United States
Zip Code
46202
Konrad, Christian; Wek, Ronald C; Sullivan Jr, William J (2014) GCN2-like eIF2* kinase manages the amino acid starvation response in Toxoplasma gondii. Int J Parasitol 44:139-46
Joyce, Bradley R; Tampaki, Zoi; Kim, Kami et al. (2013) The unfolded protein response in the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii features translational and transcriptional control. Eukaryot Cell 12:979-89
Konrad, Christian; Wek, Ronald C; Sullivan Jr, William J (2011) A GCN2-like eukaryotic initiation factor 2 kinase increases the viability of extracellular Toxoplasma gondii parasites. Eukaryot Cell 10:1403-12
Dey, Souvik; Baird, Thomas D; Zhou, Donghui et al. (2010) Both transcriptional regulation and translational control of ATF4 are central to the integrated stress response. J Biol Chem 285:33165-74
Joyce, Bradley R; Queener, Sherry F; Wek, Ronald C et al. (2010) Phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2{alpha} promotes the extracellular survival of obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:17200-5
Zaborske, John M; Wu, Xiaochen; Wek, Ronald C et al. (2010) Selective control of amino acid metabolism by the GCN2 eIF2 kinase pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. BMC Biochem 11:29
Bunpo, Piyawan; Cundiff, Judy K; Reinert, Rachel B et al. (2010) The eIF2 kinase GCN2 is essential for the murine immune system to adapt to amino acid deprivation by asparaginase. J Nutr 140:2020-7
Staschke, Kirk A; Dey, Souvik; Zaborske, John M et al. (2010) Integration of general amino acid control and target of rapamycin (TOR) regulatory pathways in nitrogen assimilation in yeast. J Biol Chem 285:16893-911
Zaborske, John M; Narasimhan, Jana; Jiang, Li et al. (2009) Genome-wide analysis of tRNA charging and activation of the eIF2 kinase Gcn2p. J Biol Chem 284:25254-67
Narasimhan, Jana; Joyce, Bradley R; Naguleswaran, Arunasalam et al. (2008) Translation regulation by eukaryotic initiation factor-2 kinases in the development of latent cysts in Toxoplasma gondii. J Biol Chem 283:16591-601

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