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Noncanonical Modulation of the eIF2 Pathway Controls an Increase in Local Translation during Neural Wiring

last modified Feb 11, 2019 03:07 PM
New research by Christine Holt’s laboratory reveals a cue-induced noncanonical mechanism of translation regulation in axons, which is required for the development of the visual pathway.

Abstract: Local translation is rapidly regulated by extrinsic signals during neural wiring, but its control mechanisms remain elusive. Here we show that the extracellular cue Sema3A induces an initial burst in local translation that precisely controls phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF2α via the unfolded protein response (UPR) kinase PERK. Strikingly, in contrast to canonical UPR signaling, Sema3A-induced eIF2α phosphorylation bypasses global translational repression and underlies an increase in local translation through differential activity of eIF2B mediated by protein phosphatase 1. Ultrasensitive proteomics analysis of axons reveals 75 proteins translationally controlled via the Sema3A-p-eIF2α pathway. These include proteostasis- and actin cytoskeleton-related proteins but not canonical stress markers. Finally, we show that PERK signaling is needed for directional axon migration and visual pathway development in vivo. Thus, our findings reveal a noncanonical eIF2 signaling pathway that controls selective changes in axon translation and is required for neural wiring.

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