An inadequate supply of amino acids leads to accumulation of uncharged tRNAs, which can bind and activate GCN2 kinase to reduce translation. Here, we show that glutamine-specific tRNAs selectively become uncharged when extracellular amino acid availability is compromised. In contrast, all other tRNAs retain charging of their cognate amino acids in a manner that is dependent upon intact lysosomal function. In addition to GCN2 activation and reduced total translation, the reduced charging of tRNAGln in amino acid-deprived cells also leads to specific depletion of proteins containing polyglutamine tracts including core binding factor α1, mediator subunit 12, transcriptional coactivator CBP and TATA-box binding protein. Treating amino acid-deprived cells with exogenous glutamine or glutaminase inhibitors restores tRNAGln charging and the levels of polyglutamine-containing proteins. Together, these results demonstrate that the activation of GCN2 and the translation of polyglutamine-encoding transcripts serve as key sensors of glutamine availability in mammalian cells.
High-throughput sequencing data have been deposited in GEO (accession code GSE157276).
Translation in amino acid-poor environments is limited by tRNAGln chargingNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE157276.
- Craig B Thompson
- Bryan King
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were conducted in accordance with policies and practices approved by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and were carried out following the NIH guidelines for animal welfare (animal protocol #11-03-007). Every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Alan G Hinnebusch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, United States
© 2020, Pavlova et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cell-generated forces play a major role in coordinating the large-scale behavior of cell assemblies, in particular during development, wound healing, and cancer. Mechanical signals propagate faster than biochemical signals, but can have similar effects, especially in epithelial tissues with strong cell–cell adhesion. However, a quantitative description of the transmission chain from force generation in a sender cell, force propagation across cell–cell boundaries, and the concomitant response of receiver cells is missing. For a quantitative analysis of this important situation, here we propose a minimal model system of two epithelial cells on an H-pattern (‘cell doublet’). After optogenetically activating RhoA, a major regulator of cell contractility, in the sender cell, we measure the mechanical response of the receiver cell by traction force and monolayer stress microscopies. In general, we find that the receiver cells show an active response so that the cell doublet forms a coherent unit. However, force propagation and response of the receiver cell also strongly depend on the mechano-structural polarization in the cell assembly, which is controlled by cell–matrix adhesion to the adhesive micropattern. We find that the response of the receiver cell is stronger when the mechano-structural polarization axis is oriented perpendicular to the direction of force propagation, reminiscent of the Poisson effect in passive materials. We finally show that the same effects are at work in small tissues. Our work demonstrates that cellular organization and active mechanical response of a tissue are key to maintain signal strength and lead to the emergence of elasticity, which means that signals are not dissipated like in a viscous system, but can propagate over large distances.
Eukaryotic cells control inorganic phosphate to balance its role as essential macronutrient with its negative bioenergetic impact on reactions liberating phosphate. Phosphate homeostasis depends on the conserved INPHORS signaling pathway that utilizes inositol pyrophosphates and SPX receptor domains. Since cells synthesize various inositol pyrophosphates and SPX domains bind them promiscuously, it is unclear whether a specific inositol pyrophosphate regulates SPX domains in vivo, or whether multiple inositol pyrophosphates act as a pool. In contrast to previous models, which postulated that phosphate starvation is signaled by increased production of the inositol pyrophosphate 1-IP7, we now show that the levels of all detectable inositol pyrophosphates of yeast, 1-IP7, 5-IP7, and 1,5-IP8, strongly decline upon phosphate starvation. Among these, specifically the decline of 1,5-IP8 triggers the transcriptional phosphate starvation response, the PHO pathway. 1,5-IP8 inactivates the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor Pho81 through its SPX domain. This stimulates the cyclin-dependent kinase Pho85-Pho80 to phosphorylate the transcription factor Pho4 and repress the PHO pathway. Combining our results with observations from other systems, we propose a unified model where 1,5-IP8 signals cytosolic phosphate abundance to SPX proteins in fungi, plants, and mammals. Its absence triggers starvation responses.