Phosphorylation of eIF2α in response to 26S proteasome inhibition is mediated by the haem-regulated inhibitor (HRI) kinase

Azmi Yerlikaya, Scot R. Kimball, Bruce A. Stanley

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62 Scopus citations


The present study demonstrates that even brief inhibition of degradation by the 26S proteasome inhibits global protein synthesis, mediated through increased phosphorylation of eIF2α (eukaryotic translational initiation factor 2α) by the HRI (haem-regulated inhibitor) kinase. Exposure of COS-7 cells to the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 (the proteasome inhibitor carbobenzoxy-L-leucyl-L-leucyl-leucinal) for 4 h resulted in a 55-60% decrease in protein synthesis rate compared with control cells. This repression of protein synthesis after treatment with MG-132 is not due to induction of apoptosis, which is known to occur after longer periods of 26S inhibition. Instead, we observed a significantly increased phosphorylation of eIF2α, which is known to repress global protein synthesis. In three MEF (mouse embryonic fibroblast) knockout cell lines lacking one of the four kinases known to phosphorylate eIF2α, increased phosphorylation of eIF2α/ still occurred after inhibition of the 26S proteasome. These three cell lines included a deletion of the PKR (double-stranded-RNA-dependent protein kinase); a deletion of the PERK (PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum resident kinase); or a deletion of the GCN2 (positive general control of transcription-2) kinase, indicating that none of these kinases was primarily responsible for the observed phosphorylation of eIF2α. In contrast, in a fourth MEF knockout cell line, HRI-/- cells lacking the HRI kinase failed to increase eIF2α phosphorylation upon proteasome inhibitor treatment (MG-132 or various doses of Bortezomib), indicating that the HRI kinase is the primary kinase activated by brief treatment of MEFs with 26S proteasome inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-588
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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