Control of α Subunit of Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 2 (eIF2α) Phosphorylation by the Human Papillomavirus Type 18 E6 Oncoprotein: Implications for eIF2α-Dependent Gene Expression and Cell Death

Shirin Kazemi, Stavroula Papadopoulou, Suiyang Li, Qiaozhu Su, Shuo Wang, Akihiko Yoshimura, Greg Matlashewski, Thomas E. Dever, Antonis E. Koromilas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)


Phosphorylation of the α subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) at serine 51 inhibits protein synthesis in cells subjected to various forms of stress including virus infection. The human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 oncoprotein contributes to virus-induced pathogenicity through multiple mechanisms including the inhibition of apoptosis and the blockade of interferon (IFN) action. We have investigated a possible functional relationship between the E6 oncoprotein and eIF2α phosphorylation by an inducible-dimerization form of the IFN-inducible protein kinase PKR. Herein, we demonstrate that HPV type 18 E6 protein synthesis is rapidly repressed upon eIF2α phosphorylation caused by the conditional activation of the kinase. The remainder of E6, however, can rescue cells from PKR-mediated inhibition of protein synthesis and induction of apoptosis. E6 physically associates with GADD34/PP1 holophosphatase complex, which mediates translational recovery, and facilitates eIF2α dephosphorylation. Inhibition of eIF2α phosphorylation by E6 mitigates eIF2α-dependent responses to transcription and translation of proapoptotic genes. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, a role of the oncogenic E6 in apoptotic signaling induced by PKR and eIF2α phosphorylation. The functional interaction between E6 and the eIF2α phosphorylation pathway may have important implications for HPV infection and associated pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3415-3429
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this