, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 159-171
Date: 02 Apr 2010

Gene expression and integrated stress response in HepG2/C3A cells cultured in amino acid deficient medium

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The integrated stress response (ISR), a defense mechanism cells employ when under stress (e.g., amino acid deprivation), causes suppression of global protein synthesis along with the paradoxical increased expression of a host of proteins that are useful in combating various stresses. Genes that were similarly differentially expressed under conditions of either leucine- or cysteine-depletion were identified. Many of the genes known to contain an amino acid response element and to be induced in response to eIF2α phosphorylation and ATF4 heterodimer binding (ATF3, C/EBPβ, SLC7A1, SLC7A11, and TRIB3), as well as others shown to be induced downstream of eIF2α phosphorylation (C/EBPγ, CARS, SARS, CLCN3, CBX4, and PPP1R15A) were among the upregulated genes. Evidence for the induction of the ISR in these cells also included the increased phosphorylation of eIF2α and increased protein abundance of ATF4, ATF3, and ASNS in cysteine- and leucine-depleted cells. Based on genes highly differentially expressed in both leucine- and cysteine-deficient cells, a list of 67 downregulated and 53 upregulated genes is suggested as likely targets of essential amino acid deprivation in mammalian cells.