Date of this Version
NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | 5:4233
Upon prolonged endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, cells attenuate protein translation to prevent accumulation of unfolded proteins. Here we show that Sestrin2 is critical for this process. Sestrin2 expression is induced by an ER stress-activated transcription factor CCAATenhancer- binding protein beta (c/EBPβ). Once induced, Sestrin2 halts protein synthesis by inhibiting mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). As Sestrin2-deficient cells continue to translate a large amount of proteins during ER stress, they are highly susceptible to ER stress-associated cell death. Accordingly, dietary or genetically induced obesity, which does not lead to any pathological indication other than simple fat accumulation in the liver of wild-type (WT) mice, can provoke Sestrin2-deficient mice to develop severe ER stressassociated liver pathologies such as extensive liver damage, steatohepatitis and fibrosis. These pathologies are suppressed by liver-specific Sestrin2 reconstitution, mTORC1 inhibition or chemical chaperone administration. The Sestrin2-mediated unfolded protein response (UPR) may be a general protective mechanism against ER stress-associated diseases.