The PI3K and MAPK/p38 pathways control stress granule assembly in a hierarchical manner

Alexander Martin Heberle, Patricia Razquin Navas, Miriam Langelaar-Makkinje, Katharina Kasack, Ahmed Sadik, Erik Faessler, Udo Hahn, Philip Marx-Stoelting, Christiane A Opitz, Christine Sers, Ines Heiland, Sascha Schäuble, Kathrin Thedieck

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    All cells and organisms exhibit stress-coping mechanisms to ensure survival. Cytoplasmic protein-RNA assemblies termed stress granules are increasingly recognized to promote cellular survival under stress. Thus, they might represent tumor vulnerabilities that are currently poorly explored. The translation-inhibitory eIF2α kinases are established as main drivers of stress granule assembly. Using a systems approach, we identify the translation enhancers PI3K and MAPK/p38 as pro-stress-granule-kinases. They act through the metabolic master regulator mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) to promote stress granule assembly. When highly active, PI3K is the main driver of stress granules; however, the impact of p38 becomes apparent as PI3K activity declines. PI3K and p38 thus act in a hierarchical manner to drive mTORC1 activity and stress granule assembly. Of note, this signaling hierarchy is also present in human breast cancer tissue. Importantly, only the recognition of the PI3K-p38 hierarchy under stress enabled the discovery of p38's role in stress granule formation. In summary, we assign a new pro-survival function to the key oncogenic kinases PI3K and p38, as they hierarchically promote stress granule formation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number201800257
    Number of pages22
    JournalLife science alliance
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr-2019

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