Cancer biology & therapy

Generation and characterization of an analog-sensitive PERK allele.

PMID 24846185


Restriction of nutrients and oxygen in the tumor microenvironment disrupts ER homeostasis and adaptation to such stress is mediated by the key UPR effector PERK. Given its pro-tumorigenic activity, significant efforts have been made to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underlie PERK function. Chemical-genetic approaches have recently proven instrumental in pathway mapping and interrogating kinase function. To enable a detailed study of PERK signaling we have generated an analog-sensitive PERK allele that accepts N(6)-alkylated ATP analogs. We find that this allele can be regulated by bulky ATP-competitive inhibitors, confirming the identity of the PERK gatekeeper residue as methionine 886. Furthermore, this analog-sensitive allele can be used to specifically label substrates with thiophosphate both in vitro and in cells. These data highlight the potential for using chemical-genetic techniques to identify novel PERK substrates, thereby providing an expanded view of PERK function and further definition of its signaling networks.