Translation in amino-acid-poor environments is limited by trnagln charging

Natalya N. Pavlova, Bryan King, Rachel H. Josselsohn, Sara Violante, Victoria L. Macera, Santosha A. Vardhana, Justin R. Cross, Craig B. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


An inadequate supply of amino acids leads to accumulation of uncharged tRNAs, which can bind and activate GCN2 kinase to reduce translation. Here, we show that glutamine-specific tRNAs selectively become uncharged when extracellular amino acid availability is compromised. In contrast, all other tRNAs retain charging of their cognate amino acids in a manner that is dependent upon intact lysosomal function. In addition to GCN2 activation and reduced total translation, the reduced charging of tRNAGln in amino-acid-deprived cells also leads to specific depletion of proteins containing polyglutamine tracts including core-binding factor a1, mediator subunit 12, transcriptional coactivator CBP and TATA-box binding protein. Treating amino-acid- deprived cells with exogenous glutamine or glutaminase inhibitors restores tRNAGln charging and the levels of polyglutamine-containing proteins. Together, these results demonstrate that the activation of GCN2 and the translation of polyglutamine-encoding transcripts serve as key sensors of glutamine availability in mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62307
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Translation in amino-acid-poor environments is limited by trnagln charging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this