Phosphorylation of EIF2S1 (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit alpha) is indispensable for nuclear translocation of TFEB and TFE3 during ER stress

Thao Thi Dang, Mi Jeong Kim, Yoon Young Lee, Hien Thi Le, Kook Hwan Kim, Somi Nam, Seung Hwa Hyun, Hong Lim Kim, Su Wol Chung, Hun Taeg Chung, Eek Hoon Jho, Hiderou Yoshida, Kyoungmi Kim, Chan Young Park, Myung Shik Lee, Sung Hoon Back

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There are diverse links between macroautophagy/autophagy pathways and unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways under endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress conditions to restore ER homeostasis. Phosphorylation of EIF2S1/eIF2α is an important mechanism that can regulate all three UPR pathways through transcriptional and translational reprogramming to maintain cellular homeostasis and overcome cellular stresses. In this study, to investigate the roles of EIF2S1 phosphorylation in regulation of autophagy during ER stress, we used EIF2S1 phosphorylation-deficient (A/A) cells in which residue 51 was mutated from serine to alanine. A/A cells exhibited defects in several steps of autophagic processes (such as autophagosome and autolysosome formation) that are regulated by the transcriptional activities of the autophagy master transcription factors TFEB and TFE3 under ER stress conditions. EIF2S1 phosphorylation was required for nuclear translocation of TFEB and TFE3 during ER stress. In addition, EIF2AK3/PERK, PPP3/calcineurin-mediated dephosphorylation of TFEB and TFE3, and YWHA/14-3-3 dissociation were required for their nuclear translocation, but were insufficient to induce their nuclear retention during ER stress. Overexpression of the activated ATF6/ATF6α form, XBP1s, and ATF4 differentially rescued defects of TFEB and TFE3 nuclear translocation in A/A cells during ER stress. Consequently, overexpression of the activated ATF6 or TFEB form more efficiently rescued autophagic defects, although XBP1s and ATF4 also displayed an ability to restore autophagy in A/A cells during ER stress. Our results suggest that EIF2S1 phosphorylation is important for autophagy and UPR pathways, to restore ER homeostasis and reveal how EIF2S1 phosphorylation connects UPR pathways to autophagy. Abbreviations:A/A: EIF2S1 phosphorylation-deficient; ACTB: actin beta; Ad-: adenovirus-; ATF6: activating transcription factor 6; ATZ: SERPINA1/α1-antitrypsin with an E342K (Z) mutation; Baf A1: bafilomycin A1; BSA: bovine serum albumin; CDK4: cyclin dependent kinase 4; CDK6: cyclin dependent kinase 6; CHX: cycloheximide; CLEAR: coordinated lysosomal expression and regulation; Co-IP: coimmunoprecipitation; CTSB: cathepsin B; CTSD: cathepsin D; CTSL: cathepsin L; DAPI: 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride; DMEM: Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; DTT: dithiothreitol; EBSS: Earle’s Balanced Salt Solution; EGFP: enhanced green fluorescent protein; EIF2S1/eIF2α: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit alpha; EIF2AK3/PERK: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 3; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; ERAD: endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation; ERN1/IRE1α: endoplasmic reticulum to nucleus signaling 1; FBS: fetal bovine serum; gRNA: guide RNA; GSK3B/GSK3β: glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta; HA: hemagglutinin; Hep: immortalized hepatocyte; IF: immunofluorescence; IRES: internal ribosome entry site; KO: knockout; LAMP1: lysosomal associated membrane protein 1; LMB: leptomycin B; LPS: lipopolysaccharide; MAP1LC3A/B/LC3A/B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 alpha/beta; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; MEFs: mouse embryonic fibroblasts; MFI: mean fluorescence intensity; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; NES: nuclear export signal; NFE2L2/NRF2: NFE2 like bZIP transcription factor 2; OE: overexpression; PBS: phosphate-buffered saline; PLA: proximity ligation assay; PPP3/calcineurin: protein phosphatase 3; PTM: post-translational modification; SDS: sodium dodecyl sulfate; SDS-PAGE: sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; SEM: standard error of the mean; TEM: transmission electron microscopy; TFE3: transcription factor E3; TFEB: transcription factor EB; TFs: transcription factors; Tg: thapsigargin; Tm: tunicamycin; UPR: unfolded protein response; WB: western blot; WT: wild-type; Xbp1s: spliced Xbp1; XPO1/CRM1: exportin 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2111-2142
Number of pages32
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023


  • ATF6
  • EIF2S1 phosphorylation
  • ER stress
  • TFEB
  • autophagy
  • nuclear translocation
  • phosphorylation TFE3
  • transcription factor E3
  • transcription factor EB


Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphorylation of EIF2S1 (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit alpha) is indispensable for nuclear translocation of TFEB and TFE3 during ER stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this