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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2002 Feb;22(2):127-41.

Molecular pathways of protein synthesis inhibition during brain reperfusion: implications for neuronal survival or death.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Protein synthesis inhibition occurs in neurons immediately on reperfusion after ischemia and involves at least alterations in eukaryotic initiation factors 2 (eIF2) and 4 (eIF4). Phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of eIF2 [eIF2(alphaP)] by the endoplasmic reticulum transmembrane eIF2alpha kinase PERK occurs immediately on reperfusion and inhibits translation initiation. PERK activation, along with depletion of endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ and inhibition of the endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ -ATPase, SERCA2b, indicate that an endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response occurs as a consequence of brain ischemia and reperfusion. In mammals, the upstream unfolded protein response components PERK, IRE1, and ATF6 activate prosurvivial mechanisms (e.g., transcription of GRP78, PDI, SERCA2b ) and proapoptotic mechanisms (i.e., activation of Jun N-terminal kinases, caspase-12, and CHOP transcription). Sustained eIF2(alphaP) is proapoptotic by inducing the synthesis of ATF4, the CHOP transcription factor, through "bypass scanning" of 5' upstream open-reading frames in ATF4 messenger RNA; these upstream open-reading frames normally inhibit access to the ATF4 coding sequence. Brain ischemia and reperfusion also induce mu-calpain-mediated or caspase-3-mediated proteolysis of eIF4G, which shifts message selection to m 7 G-cap-independent translation initiation of messenger RNAs containing internal ribosome entry sites. This internal ribosome entry site-mediated translation initiation (i.e., for apoptosis-activating factor-1 and death-associated protein-5) can also promote apoptosis. Thus, alterations in eIF2 and eIF4 have major implications for which messenger RNAs are translated by residual protein synthesis in neurons during brain reperfusion, in turn constraining protein expression of changes in gene transcription induced by ischemia and reperfusion. Therefore, our current understanding shifts the focus from protein synthesis inhibition to the molecular pathways that underlie this inhibition, and the role that these pathways play in prosurvival and proapoptotic processes that may be differentially expressed in vulnerable and resistant regions of the reperfused brain.

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