Phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 by heme-regulated inhibitor kinase-related protein kinases in Schizosaccharomyces pombe is important for resistance to environmental stresses

Ke Zhan, Krishna M. Vattem, Bettina N. Bauer, Thomas E. Dever, Jane Jane Chen, Ronald C. Wek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Protein synthesis is regulated by the phosphorylation of the α subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) in response to different environmental stresses. One member of the eIF2α kinase family, heme-regulated inhibitor kinase (HRI), is activated under heme-deficient conditions and blocks protein synthesis, principally globin, in mammalian erythroid cells. We identified two HRI-related kinases from Schizosaccharomyces pombe which have full-length homology with mammalian HRI. The two HRI-related kinases, named Hri1p and Hri2p, exhibit autokinase and kinase activity specific for Ser-51 of eIF2α, and both activities were inhibited in vitro by hemin, as previously described for mammalian HRI. Overexpression of Hri1p, Hri2p, or the human eIF2α kinase, double-stranded-RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR), impeded growth of S. pombe due to elevated phosphorylation of eIF2α. Cells from strains with deletions of the hri1+ and hri2+ genes, individually or in combination, exhibited a reduced growth rate when exposed to heat shock or to arsenic compounds. Measurements of in vivo phosphorylation of eIF2α suggest that Hri1p and Hri2p differentially phosphorylate eIF2α in response to these stress conditions. These results demonstrate that HRI-related enzymes are not unique to vertebrates and suggest that these eIF2α kinases are important participants in diverse stress response pathways in some lower eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7134-7146
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume22
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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