Regulation of starvation- and virus-induced autophagy by the elF2α kinase signaling pathway

Zsolt Tallóczy, Wenxia Jiang, Herbert W. Virgin IV, David A. Leib, Donalyn Scheuner, Randal J. Kaufman, Eeva Liisa Eskelinen, Beth Levine

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Abstract

The elF2α kinases are a family of evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinases that regulate stress-induced translational arrest. Here, we demonstrate that the yeast elF2α kinase, GCN2, the target phosphorylation site of Gcn2p, Ser-51 of elF2α, and the elF2α-regulated transcriptional transactivator, GCN4, are essential for another fundamental stress response, starvation-induced autophagy. The mammalian IFN-inducible elF2α kinase, PKR, rescues starvationinduced autophagy in GCN2-disrupted yeast, and pkr null and Set-51 nonphosphorylatable mutant elF2α murine embryonic fibroblasts are defective in autophagy triggered by herpes simplex virus infection. Furthermore, PKR and elF2α Ser-51-dependent autophagy is antagonized by the herpes simplex virus neurovirulence protein, ICP34.5. Thus, autophagy is a novel evolutionarily conserved function of the elF2α kinase pathway that is targeted by viral virulence gene products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume99
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 8 2002

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