MAPK- and glycogen synthase kinase 3-mediated phosphorylation regulates the DEAD-box protein modulator Gle1 for control of stress granule dynamics
- PMID: 30429220 [PubMed].
Rapid expression of critical stress response factors is a key survival strategy for diseased or stressed cells. During cell stress, translation is inhibited and a pre-existing pool of cytoplasmic mRNA-protein complexes reversibly assembles into cytoplasmic stress granules (SGs). Gle1 is a conserved modulator of RNA-dependent DEAD-box proteins required for mRNA export, translation, and stress responses. Proper Gle1 function is critical, as reflected by some human diseases such as developmental and neurodegenerative disorders and some cancers linked to mutations. However, the mechanism by which Gle1 controls SG formation is incompletely understood. Here, we show that human Gle1 is regulated by phosphorylation during heat shock stress. In HeLa cells, stress-induced Gle1 hyperphosphorylation was dynamic, primarily in the cytoplasmic pool, and followed changes in translation factors. MS analysis identified 14 phosphorylation sites in the Gle1A isoform, 6 of which clustered in an intrinsically disordered, low-complexity N-terminal region flanking the coil-coiled self-association domain. Of note, two mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphorylated the Gle1A N-terminal domain, priming it for phosphorylation by glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). A phosphomimetic gle1A variant (in which six putative Ser/Thr phosphorylation sites were substituted with Asp) perturbed self-association and inhibited DEAD-box helicase 3 (X-linked) (DDX3) ATPase activity. Expression of alanine-substituted, phospho-deficient GFP-gle1A promoted SG assembly, whereas GFP-gle1A enhanced SG disassembly. We propose that MAPKs and GSK3 phosphorylate Gle1A and thereby coordinate SG dynamics by altering DDX3 function.