Chronic oxidative stress promotes GADD34-mediated phosphorylation of the TAR DNA-binding protein TDP-43, a modification linked to neurodegeneration.


Oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stresses are hallmarks of the pathophysiology of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. In these stresses, different kinases phosphorylate eukaryotic initiation factor eIF2α, enabling the translation of stress response genes; among these is GADD34, the protein product of which recruits the α-isoform of protein phosphatase 1 catalytic subunit (PP1α) and eIF2α to assemble a phosphatase complex catalyzing eIF2α dephosphorylation and resumption of protein synthesis. Aberrations in this pathway underlie the aforementioned disorders. Previous observations indicating that GADD34 is induced by arsenite, a thiol-directed oxidative stressor, in the absence of eIF2α phosphorylation suggest other roles for GADD34. Here, we report that arsenite-induced oxidative stress differs from thapsigargin- or tunicamycin-induced ER stress in promoting GADD34 transcription and the preferential translation of its mRNA in the absence of eIF2α phosphorylation. Arsenite also stabilized GADD34 protein, slowing its degradation. In response to oxidative stress, but not ER stress, GADD34 recruited TDP-43, and enhanced cytoplasmic distribution and cysteine modifications of TDP-43 promoted its binding to GADD34. Arsenite also recruited a TDP-43 kinase, casein kinase-1ϵ (CK1ϵ), to GADD34. Concomitant with TDP-43 aggregation and proteolysis after prolonged arsenite exposure, GADD34-bound CK1ϵ catalyzed TDP-43 phosphorylations at serines 409/410, which were diminished or absent in GADD34-/- cells. Our findings highlight that the phosphatase regulator, GADD34, also functions as a kinase scaffold in response to chronic oxidative stress and recruits CK1ϵ and oxidized TDP-43 to facilitate its phosphorylation, as seen in TDP-43 proteinopathies.





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Publication Info

Goh, Catherine Wenhui, Irene Chengjie Lee, Jeyapriya Rajameenakshi Sundaram, Simi Elizabeth George, Permeen Yusoff, Matthew Hayden Brush, Newman Siu Kwan Sze, Shirish Shenolikar, et al. (2018). Chronic oxidative stress promotes GADD34-mediated phosphorylation of the TAR DNA-binding protein TDP-43, a modification linked to neurodegeneration. The Journal of biological chemistry, 293(1). pp. 163–176. 10.1074/jbc.M117.814111 Retrieved from

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Shirish Shenolikar

Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Protein phosphorylation controls a wide range of physiological processes in mammalian tissues. Phosphorylation state of cellular proteins is controlled by the opposing actions of protein kinases and phosphatases that are regulated by hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and other environmental cues. Our research attempts to understand the communication between protein kinases and phosphatases that dictates cellular protein phosphorylation and the cell's response to hormones. Over the last decade, our work has provided critical information about the role of protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) in controlling synaptic function, cell stress, gene expression and growth. We have generated a large repertoire of reagents to decipher PP1's role in signaling pathways in mammalian cells and tissues. Emerging evidence suggests that in many cells, PP1 activity is fine tuned by the protein, inhibitor-1 (I-1). A major focus of our research is to elucidate the role of I-1 in kinase-phosphatase cross-talk and impact of the altered I-1 gene expression seen in several human diseases. Our studies showed that recognition of cellular substrates by PP1 is also directed by its association with a variety of targeting subunits that are themselves also subject to physiological control. Thus, the overall focus of our research is to define the physiological mechanisms that regulate PP1 functions relevant to human health and disease.

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