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J Biol Chem. 2001 Feb 23;276(8):6030-6. Epub 2000 Nov 28.

Glutamine-dependent antiapoptotic interaction of human glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase with apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1.

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National Creative Research Initiatives Center for ARS Network, Sung Kyun Kwan University, Suwon, Kyunggido 440-746, Korea.


Glutamine has been known to be an apoptosis suppressor, since it blocks apoptosis induced by heat shock, irradiation, and c-Myc overexpression. Here, we demonstrated that HeLa cells were susceptible to Fas-mediated apoptosis under the condition of glutamine deprivation. Fas ligation activated apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK; also known as stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)) in Gln-deprived cells but not in normal cells, suggesting that Gln might be involved in the activity control of ASK1 and JNK/SAPK. As one of the possible mechanisms for the suppressive effect of Gln on ASK1, we investigated the molecular interaction between human glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (QRS) and ASK1 and found the Gln-dependent association of the two molecules. While their association was enhanced by the elevation of Gln concentration, they were dissociated by Fas ligation within 5 min. The association involved the catalytic domains of the two enzymes. The ASK1 activity was inhibited by the interaction with QRS as determined by in vitro kinase and transcription assays. Finally, we have shown that QRS inhibited the cell death induced by ASK1, and this antiapoptotic function of QRS was weakened by the deprivation of Gln. Thus, the antiapoptotic interaction of QRS with ASK1 is controlled positively by the cellular concentration of Gln and negatively by Fas ligation. The results of this work provide one possible explanation for the working mechanism of the antiapoptotic activity of Gln and suggest a novel function of mammalian ARSs.

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