bims-micpro Biomed News
on Discovery and characterization of microproteins
Issue of 2023‒01‒08
two papers selected by
Thomas Farid Martínez
University of California, Irvine

  1. J Biol Chem. 2022 Dec 31. pii: S0021-9258(22)01307-2. [Epub ahead of print] 102864
      In response to environmental stresses, cells invoke translational control to conserve resources and rapidly reprogram gene expression for optimal adaptation. A central mechanism for translational control involves phosphorylation of the α subunit of eIF2 (p-eIF2α), which reduces delivery of initiator tRNA to ribosomes. Because p-eIF2α is invoked by multiple protein kinases, each responding to distinct stresses, this pathway is named the Integrated stress response (ISR). While p-eIF2α lowers bulk translation initiation, many stress-related mRNAs are preferentially translated. The process by which ribosomes delineate gene transcripts for preferential translation is known to involve upstream open reading frames (uORFs) embedded in the targeted mRNAs. In this study, we used polysome analyses and reporter assays to address the mechanisms directing preferential translation of human IBTKα in the ISR. The IBTKα mRNA encodes four uORFs, with only 5'-proximal uORF1 and uORF2 being translated. Of importance, the 5'-leader of IBTKα mRNA also contains a phylogenetically conserved stem-loop of moderate stability that is situated 11 nucleotides downstream of uORF2. The uORF2 is well translated and functions in combination with the stem-loop to effectively lower translation reinitiation at the IBTKα coding sequence. Upon stress induced p-eIF2α, the uORF2/stem loop element can be bypassed to enhance IBTKα translation by a mechanism that may involve the modestly translated uORF1. Our study demonstrates that uORFs in conjunction with RNA secondary structures can be critical elements that serve as the "bar code" by which scanning ribosomes can delineate which mRNAs are preferentially translated in the ISR.
    Keywords:  Integrated stress response; eIF2 phosphorylation; translational control
  2. Cell Metab. 2023 Jan 03. pii: S1550-4131(22)00541-1. [Epub ahead of print]35(1): 166-183.e11
      Microproteins (MPs) are a potentially rich source of uncharacterized metabolic regulators. Here, we use ribosome profiling (Ribo-seq) to curate 3,877 unannotated MP-encoding small ORFs (smORFs) in primary brown, white, and beige mouse adipocytes. Of these, we validated 85 MPs by proteomics, including 33 circulating MPs in mouse plasma. Analyses of MP-encoding mRNAs under different physiological conditions (high-fat diet) revealed that numerous MPs are regulated in adipose tissue in vivo and are co-expressed with established metabolic genes. Furthermore, Ribo-seq provided evidence for the translation of Gm8773, which encodes a secreted MP that is homologous to human and chicken FAM237B. Gm8773 is highly expressed in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, and intracerebroventricular administration of recombinant mFAM237B showed orexigenic activity in obese mice. Together, these data highlight the value of this adipocyte MP database in identifying MPs with roles in fundamental metabolic and physiological processes such as feeding.
    Keywords:  Ribo-seq; brown adipose tissue; data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry; diet-induced obesity; microproteins; ribosome profiling; secreted microproteins; small ORFs; white adipose tissue