Disulfide bond formation in the regulation of eIF-2α kinase by heme

J. J. Chen, J. M. Yang, R. Petryshyn, N. Kosower, I. M. London

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The inhibition of the autophosphorylation of the heme-regulated eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)-2α kinase (HRI) by hemin is very similar to that produced by thiol oxidation by diamide. The results obtained from the analysis of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of unphosphorylated and phosphorylated HRI under reducing and nonreducing conditions indicate that hemin promotes disulfide formation in HRL. Hemin-promoted disulfide formation in HRI occurs under quasi-physiological conditions, i.e. 30°C, 10 min at hemin concentrations of 5-10 μM. Under nondenaturing conditions, unphosphorylated HRI, phosphorylated HRI, hemin-treated unphosphorylated HRI, and hemin-treated prephosphorylated HRI are all eluted identically on Sephacryl S-300 column chromatography with an apparent molecular mass of 290,000 daltons. It appears, therefore, that the disulfide formation promoted by hemin occurs within the unit of 290,000 daltons. In addition, hemin treatment of phosphorylated HRI results in the appearance of a disulfide-linked form of higher molecular mass when analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under nonreducing conditions. A similar high molecular mass form is observed when HRI is treated with 1,6-bismaleimidohexane, a double sulfhydryl cross-linker agent, and the autophosphorylation of HRI and the phosphorylation of eIF-2α by HRI are greatly diminished; these effects are similar to the effects of hemin on HRI. We conclude that disulfide formation by hemin provides a likely mechanism by which hemin prevents the activation and inhibits the activity of HRI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9559-9564
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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