Nikonorova IA, Al-Baghdadi RJ, Mirek ET et al.
Rutgers University, United States.
The Journal of biological chemistry. Feb 2017.
Obesity increases risk for liver toxicity by the anti-leukemic agent asparaginase but the mechanism is unknown. Asparaginase activates the integrated stress response (ISR) via sensing of amino acid depletion by the eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2) kinase GCN2. The goal of this work was to discern the impact of obesity, alone versus alongside genetic disruption of the ISR, on mechanisms of liver protection during chronic asparaginase exposure in mice. Following diet-induced obesity, biochemical analysis of livers revealed that asparaginase provoked hepatic steatosis that coincided with activation of another eIF2 kinase PERK, a major ISR transducer to ER stress. Genetic loss of Gcn2 intensified hepatic PERK activation to asparaginase yet surprisingly, mRNA levels of key ISR gene targets such as Atf5 and Trib3 failed to increase. Instead, mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signal transduction was unleashed and this coincided with liver dysfunction reflected by a failure to maintain hydrogen sulfide production or apolipoprotein B100 expression. In contrast, obese mice lacking hepatic activating transcription factor 4 (Atf4) showed an exaggerated ISR and greater loss of endogenous hydrogen sulfide but normal inhibition of mTORC1 and maintenance of apolipoprotein B100 during asparaginase. In both genetic mouse models, expression and phosphorylation of Sestrin2, an ATF4 gene target, was increased by asparaginase, suggesting mTORC1 inhibition during asparaginase is not driven via eIF2-ATF4-Sestrin2. In conclusion, obesity promotes a maladaptive ISR during asparaginase exposure. GCN2 functions to repress mTORC1 activity and maintain ApoB100 protein levels independently of Atf4 expression, whereas hydrogen sulfide production is promoted via GCN2-ATF4 pathway.