Antiviral effect of the mammalian translation initiation factor 2alpha kinase GCN2 against RNA viruses.
ABSTRACT In mammals, four different protein kinases, heme-regulated inhibitor, double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR), general control non-derepressible-2 (GCN2) and PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase, regulate protein synthesis in response to environmental stresses by phosphorylating the alpha-subunit of the initiation factor 2 (eIF2alpha). We now report that mammalian GCN2 is specifically activated in vitro upon binding of two nonadjacent regions of the Sindbis virus (SV) genomic RNA to its histidyl-tRNA synthetase-related domain. Moreover, endogenous GCN2 is activated in cells upon SV infection. Strikingly, fibroblasts derived from GCN2-/- mice possess an increased permissiveness to SV or vesicular stomatitis virus infection. We further show that mice lacking GCN2 are extremely susceptible to intranasal SV infection, demonstrating high virus titers in the brain compared to similarly infected control animals. The overexpression of wild-type GCN2, but not the catalytically inactive GCN2-K618R variant, in NIH 3T3 cells impaired the replication of a number of RNA viruses. We determined that GCN2 inhibits SV replication by blocking early viral translation of genomic SV RNA. These findings point to a hitherto unrecognized role of GCN2 as an early mediator in the cellular response to RNA viruses.
Medizinische Monatsschrift für Pharmazeuten 10/1994; 17(9):273-6.
Article: A mammalian homologue of GCN2 protein kinase important for translational control by phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2alpha.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A family of protein kinases regulates translation in response to different cellular stresses by phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor-2 (eIF-2alpha). In yeast, an eIF-2alpha kinase, GCN2, functions in translational control in response to amino acid starvation. It is thought that uncharged tRNA that accumulates during amino acid limitation binds to sequences in GCN2 homologous to histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HisRS) enzymes, leading to enhanced kinase catalytic activity. Given that starvation for amino acids also stimulates phosphorylation of eIF-2alpha in mammalian cells, we searched for and identified a GCN2 homologue in mice. We cloned three different cDNAs encoding mouse GCN2 isoforms, derived from a single gene, that vary in their amino-terminal sequences. Like their yeast counterpart, the mouse GCN2 isoforms contain HisRS-related sequences juxtaposed to the kinase catalytic domain. While GCN2 mRNA was found in all mouse tissues examined, the isoforms appear to be differentially expressed. Mouse GCN2 expressed in yeast was found to inhibit growth by hyperphosphorylation of eIF-2alpha, requiring both the kinase catalytic domain and the HisRS-related sequences. Additionally, lysates prepared from yeast expressing mGCN2 were found to phosphorylate recombinant eIF-2alpha substrate. Mouse GCN2 activity in both the in vivo and in vitro assays required the presence of serine-51, the known regulatory phosphorylation site in eIF-2alpha. Together, our studies identify a new mammalian eIF-2alpha kinase, GCN2, that can mediate translational control.Genetics 03/2000; 154(2):787-801. · 4.01 Impact Factor