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Thursday 01 December 2005

Bioactive small molecules reveal antagonism between the integrated stress response and sterol-regulated gene expression.

By: Harding HP, Zhang Y, Khersonsky S, Marciniak S, Scheuner D, Kaufman RJ, Javitt N, Chang YT, Ron D.

Cell Metab 2005 Dec;2(6):361-71

Phosphorylation of translation initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha) coordinates a translational and transcriptional program known as the integrated stress response (ISR), which adapts cells to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. A screen for small molecule activators of the ISR identified two related compounds that also activated sterol-regulated genes by blocking cholesterol biosynthesis at the level of CYP51. Ketoconazole, a known CYP51 inhibitor, had similar effects, establishing that perturbed flux of precursors to cholesterol activates the ISR. Surprisingly, compound-mediated activation of sterol-regulated genes was enhanced in cells with an ISR-blocking mutation in the regulatory phosphorylation site of eIF2alpha. Furthermore, induction of the ISR by an artificial drug-activated eIF2alpha kinase reduced the level of active sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) and sterol-regulated mRNAs. These findings suggest a mechanism by which interactions between sterol metabolism, the ISR, and the SREBP pathway affect lipid metabolism during ER stress.

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