Macromolecular Crowding Regulates Assembly of mRNA Stress Granules after Osmotic Stress

Abstract : The massive uptake of compatible osmolytes such as betaine, taurine, and myo-inositol is a protective response shared by all eukaryotes exposed to hypertonic stress. Their accumulation results mostly from the expression of specific transporters triggered by the transcriptional factor NFAT5/TonEBP. This allows the recovery of the cell volume without increasing intracellular ionic strength. In this study we consider the assembly and dissociation of mRNA stress granules (SGs) in hypertonic-stressed cells and the role of compatible osmolytes. In agreement with in vitro results obtained on isolated mRNAs, both macromolecular crowding and a high ionic strength favor the assembly of SGs in normal rat kidney epithelial cells. However, after hours of constant hypertonicity, the slow accumulation in the cytoplasm of compatible osmolytes via specific transporters both reduces macromolecular crowding and ionic strength, thus leading to the progressive dissociation of SGs. In line with this, when cells are exposed to hypertonicity to accumulate a large amount of compatible osmolytes, the formation of SGs is severely impaired, and cells increase their chances of survival to another hypertonic episode. Altogether, these results indicate that the impact of compatible osmolytes on the mRNA-associated machineries and especially that associated with SGs may play an important role in cell resistance and adaption to hyperosmolarity in many tissues like kidney and liver.
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Ouissame Bounedjah, Loic Hamon, Philippe Savarin, Bénédicte Desforges, Patrick Curmi, et al.. Macromolecular Crowding Regulates Assembly of mRNA Stress Granules after Osmotic Stress. Journal of Biological Chemistry, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2012, 287 (4), pp.2446-2458. ⟨10.1074/jbc.M111.292748⟩. ⟨hal-02292253⟩

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