GCN20, a novel ATP binding cassette protein, and GCN1 reside in a complex that mediates activation of the eIF-2 alpha kinase GCN2 in amino acid-starved cells

EMBO J. 1995 Jul 3;14(13):3184-99.


GCN2 is a protein kinase that phosphorylates the alpha-subunit of translation initiation factor 2 (eIF-2) and thereby stimulates translation of GCN4 mRNA in amino acid-starved cells. We isolated a null mutation in a previously unidentified gene, GCN20, that suppresses the growth-inhibitory effect of eIF-2 alpha hyperphosphorylation catalyzed by mutationally activated forms of GCN2. The deletion of GCN20 in otherwise wild-type strains impairs derepression of GCN4 translation and reduces the level of eIF-2 alpha phosphorylation in vivo, showing that GCN20 is a positive effector of GCN2 kinase function. In accordance with this conclusion, GCN20 was co-immunoprecipitated from cell extracts with GCN1, another factor required to activate GCN2, and the two proteins interacted in the yeast two-hybrid system. We conclude that GCN1 and GCN20 are components of a protein complex that couples the kinase activity of GCN2 to the availability of amino acids. GCN20 is a member of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) family of proteins and is closely related to ABC proteins identified in Caenorhabditis elegans, rice and humans, suggesting that the function of GCN20 may be conserved among diverse eukaryotic organisms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation / genetics*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal / physiology
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Elongation Factors
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / genetics
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • eIF-2 Kinase


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • GCN1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • GCN1 protein, human
  • GCN20 protein, C elegans
  • Peptide Elongation Factors
  • Peptide Initiation Factors
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • gcn-1 protein, C elegans
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • eIF-2 Kinase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U19971
  • GENBANK/U20783