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J Biol Chem. 2017 Aug 25;292(34):14050-14065. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.799304. Epub 2017 Jul 14.

Function of inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase isoform α (IBTKα) in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis links autophagy and the unfolded protein response.

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From the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and.
Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5126.
From the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (steatosis) is the most prevalent liver disease in the Western world. One of the advanced pathologies is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is associated with induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and disruption of autophagic flux. However, the mechanisms by which these processes contribute to the pathogenesis of human diseases are unclear. Herein, we identify the α isoform of the inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (IBTKα) as a member of the UPR, whose expression is preferentially translated during endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. We found that IBTKα is located in the ER and associates with proteins LC3b, SEC16A, and SEC31A and plays a previously unrecognized role in phagophore initiation from ER exit sites. Depletion of IBTKα helps prevent accumulation of autophagosome intermediates stemming from exposure to saturated free fatty acids and rescues hepatocytes from death. Of note, induction of IBTKα and the UPR, along with inhibition of autophagic flux, was associated with progression from steatosis to NASH in liver biopsies. These results indicate a function for IBTKα in NASH that links autophagy with activation of the UPR.


autophagy; eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2); eukaryotic translation initiation; translation control; unfolded protein response (UPR)

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