A MOLECULE-INHIBITOR OF THE INTEGRATED STRESS RESPONSE REGULATES ACTIVITY OF MAMMALIAN EUKARYOTIC TRANSLATION INITIATION FACTOR 2B
The Integrated Stress Response (ISR) is a conserved eukaryotic translational and transcriptional program implicated in mammalian metabolism, memory and immunity. Although mainly considered to be a protective mechanism, prolonged and severe ISR can result in cell death. The ISR is activated by diverse stress pathways converged on phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2) that inhibits the guanine nucleotide exchange activity of its partner eIF2B and attenuates overall rates of protein synthesis. Numerous mutations in eIF2B are linked to a fatal neurodegenerative disease of vanishing white matter. A new chemical inhibitor of the ISR (ISRIB), a bis-O-arylglycolamide, can reverse the attenuation of mRNA translation by phosphorylated eIF2 protecting mice from prion-induced neurodegeneration and traumatic brain injury. The work presented in this dissertation describes identification of mammalian eIF2B as a cellular target of ISRIB by implementing biochemical, biophysical, structural and chemogenetic methods. The herein reported cryo-electron microscopy-based structure of eIF2B uncovers a novel allosteric site on the translation factor capturing the ISRIB-binding pocket at the interface between its β and δ regulatory subunits. The extensive CRISPR/ Cas9-based screen for ISRIB-resistant and analogue-sensitive phenotypes revealed residues on the eIF2B dimer interface important for ISRIB binding. Based on the results reported in this dissertation along with the similar findings of others the potential molecular basis of ISRIB action, and its implication for the regulation of eIF2B’s activity is broadly discussed. The identification of the ISRIB binding pocket away from the known interaction sites between eIF2B and eIF2 is also put into the context of a possible molecular mechanism of eIF2B’s guanine exchange inhibition by phosphorylated eIF2. The work described in this dissertation provides new insight into the translational regulation and points to the importance of fine-tuning the activity of translation factors by small chemical molecules.