Activation of the ISR mediates the behavioral and neurophysiological abnormalities in Down syndrome

Science. 2019 Nov 15;366(6467):843-849. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw5185.


Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. Protein homeostasis is essential for normal brain function, but little is known about its role in DS pathophysiology. In this study, we found that the integrated stress response (ISR)-a signaling network that maintains proteostasis-was activated in the brains of DS mice and individuals with DS, reprogramming translation. Genetic and pharmacological suppression of the ISR, by inhibiting the ISR-inducing double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase or boosting the function of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF2-eIF2B complex, reversed the changes in translation and inhibitory synaptic transmission and rescued the synaptic plasticity and long-term memory deficits in DS mice. Thus, the ISR plays a crucial role in DS, which suggests that tuning of the ISR may provide a promising therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Down Syndrome / psychology*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2 / metabolism
  • Memory, Long-Term
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteostasis / physiology*
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • eIF-2 Kinase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • eIF-2 Kinase / genetics
  • eIF-2 Kinase / metabolism


  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2
  • eIF-2 Kinase