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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 7;6:24217. doi: 10.1038/srep24217.

Novel mechanism of enhancing IRE1α-XBP1 signalling via the PERK-ATF4 pathway.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cell Genetics, Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan.


Mammalian inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α) is the most conserved of all endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensors, which includes activating transcription factor (ATF) 6 and double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK). IRE1α has been known to splice X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) mRNA, which is induced by ATF6 under ER stress. This spliced XBP1 mRNA is translated into the active transcription factor that promotes the expression of specific genes to alleviate ER stress. Herein, we report that in addition to the induction of XBP1 expression by ATF6, IRE1α expression is induced by ATF4, which is downstream of PERK, under ER stress. Increased IRE1α expression results in a higher splicing ratio of XBP1 mRNA. This effect was not transient and affected not only the intensity but also the duration of the activated state of this pathway. These multiple regulatory mechanisms may modulate the response to various levels or types of ER stress.

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