Filament formation by the translation factor eIF2B regulates protein synthesis in starved cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Elisabeth NueskeSimon Alberti


Cells exposed to starvation have to adjust their metabolism to conserve energy and protect themselves. Protein synthesis is one of the major energy-consuming processes and as such has to be tightly controlled. The mechanism by which starved cells regulate the process of protein synthesis is largely unknown. Here, we report that the essential translation initiation factor eIF2B forms filaments in starved budding yeast cells. We demonstrate that filamentation is triggered by starvation-induced acidification of the cytosol, which is caused by an influx of protons from the extracellular environment. We show that filament assembly by eIF2B is necessary for rapid and efficient downregulation of translation. Importantly, this mechanism does not require the kinase Gcn2. Furthermore, analysis of site-specific variants of eIF2B suggests that eIF2B assembly results in enzymatically inactive filaments that promote stress survival and fast recovery of cells from starvation. We propose that translation regulation through protein assembly is a widespread mechanism that allows cells to adapt to fluctuating environments.

Related Concepts

Energy Metabolism
Protein Biosynthesis
Translation factor
Molecular Assembly/Self Assembly

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