Circadian clock control of eIF2 phosphorylation is necessary for rhythmic translation initiation. Academic Article uri icon


  • The circadian clock in eukaryotes controls transcriptional and posttranscriptional events, including regulation of the levels and phosphorylation state of translation factors. However, the mechanisms underlying clock control of translation initiation, and the impact of this potential regulation on rhythmic protein synthesis, were not known. We show that inhibitory phosphorylation of eIF2 (P-eIF2), a conserved translation initiation factor, is clock controlled in Neurospora crassa, peaking during the subjective day. Cycling P-eIF2 levels required rhythmic activation of the eIF2 kinase CPC-3 (the homolog of yeast and mammalian GCN2), and rhythmic activation of CPC-3 was abolished under conditions in which the levels of charged tRNAs were altered. Clock-controlled accumulation of P-eIF2 led to reduced translation during the day in vitro and was necessary for the rhythmic synthesis of select proteins in vivo. Finally, loss of rhythmic P-eIF2 levels led to reduced linear growth rates, supporting the idea that partitioning translation to specific times of day provides a growth advantage to the organism. Together, these results reveal a fundamental mechanism by which the clock regulates rhythmic protein production, and provide key insights into how rhythmic translation, cellular energy, stress, and nutrient metabolism are linked through the levels of charged versus uncharged tRNAs.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

author list (cited authors)

  • Karki, S., Castillo, K., Ding, Z., Kerr, O., Lamb, T. M., Wu, C., Sachs, M. S., & Bell-Pedersen, D.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM