The integrated stress response regulates BMP signalling through effects on translation.

24 May 2018

Background: Developmental pathways must be responsive to the environment. Phosphorylation of eIF2α enables a family of stress sensing kinases to trigger the integrated stress response (ISR), which has pro-survival and developmental consequences. Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) regulate multiple developmental processes in organisms from insects to mammals. Results: Here we show in Drosophila that GCN2 antagonises BMP signaling through direct effects on translation and indirectly via the transcription factor crc (dATF4). Expression of a constitutively active GCN2 or loss of the eIF2α phosphatase dPPP1R15 impair developmental BMP signaling in flies. In cells, inhibition of translation by GCN2 blocks downstream BMP signaling. Moreover, loss of d4E-BP, a target of crc, augments BMP signaling in vitro and rescues tissue development in vivo. Conclusion: These results identify a novel mechanism by which the ISR modulates BMP signaling during development.