Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

GADD34 is a modulator of autophagy during starvation

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Science Advances  25 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 39, eabb0205
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb0205

Abstract

Cells respond to starvation by shutting down protein synthesis and by activating catabolic processes, including autophagy, to recycle nutrients. This two-pronged response is mediated by the integrated stress response (ISR) through phosphorylation of eIF2α, which represses protein translation, and by inhibition of mTORC1 signaling, which promotes autophagy also through a stress-responsive transcriptional program. Implementation of such a program, however, requires protein synthesis, thus conflicting with general repression of translation. How is this mismatch resolved? We found that the main regulator of the starvation-induced transcriptional program, TFEB, counteracts protein synthesis inhibition by directly activating expression of GADD34, a component of the protein phosphatase 1 complex that dephosphorylates eIF2α. We discovered that GADD34 plays an essential role in autophagy by tuning translation during starvation, thus enabling lysosomal biogenesis and a sustained autophagic flux. Hence, the TFEB-GADD34 axis integrates the mTORC1 and ISR pathways in response to starvation.

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