The Roles of Stress-Activated Sty1 and Gcn2 Kinases and of the Protooncoprotein Homologue Int6/eIF3e in Responses to Endogenous Oxidative Stress during Histidine Starvation

Naoki Nemoto, Tsuyoshi Udagawa, Takahiro Ohira, Li Jiang, Kouji Hirota, Caroline R.M. Wilkinson, Jürg Bähler, Nic Jones, Kunihiro Ohta, Ronald C. Wek, Katsura Asano

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16 Scopus citations


In fission yeast, Sty1 and Gcn2 are important protein kinases that regulate gene expression in response to amino acid starvation. The translation factor subunit Int6/eIF3e promotes Sty1-dependent response by increasing the abundance of Atf1, a transcription factor targeted by Sty1. While Gcn2 promotes expression of amino acid biosynthesis enzymes, the mechanism and function of Sty1 activation and Int6/eIF3e involvement during this nutrient stress are not understood. Here we show that mutants lacking sty1+ or gcn2+ display reduced viabilities during histidine depletion stress in a manner suppressible by the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine, suggesting that these protein kinases function to alleviate endogenous oxidative damage generated during nutrient starvation. Int6/eIF3e also promotes cell viability by a mechanism involving the stimulation of Sty1 response to oxidative damage. In further support of these observations, microarray data suggest that, during histidine starvation, int6δ increases the duration of Sty1-activated gene expression linked to oxidative stress due to the initial attenuation of Sty1-dependent transcription. Moreover, loss of gcn2 induces the expression of a new set of genes not activated in wild-type cells starved for histidine. These genes encode heatshock proteins, redox enzymes, and proteins involved in mitochondrial maintenance, in agreement with the idea that oxidative stress is imposed on gcn2 cells. Furthermore, early Sty1 activation promotes rapid Gcn2 activation on histidine starvation. These results suggest that Gcn2, Sty1, and Int6/eIF3e are functionally integrated and cooperate to respond to oxidative stress generated during histidine starvation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-201
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 26 2010



  • Amino acid control response
  • Gcn2
  • Int6/eIF3e
  • MAP kinase
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

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