The Fanconi anemia proteins functionally interact with the protein kinase regulated by RNA (PKR)

Xiaoling Zhang, June Li, Daniel P. Sejas, Keaney R. Rathbun, Grover C. Bagby, Qishen Pang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Protein kinase regulated by RNA (PKR) plays critical roles in cell growth and apoptosis and is implicated as a potential pathogenic factor of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. Here we report that this proapoptotic kinase is also involved in Fanconi anemia (FA), a disease characterized by bone marrow (BM) failure and leukemia. We have used a BM extract to show that three FA proteins, FANCA, FANCC, and FANCG, functionally interact with the PKR kinase, which in turn regulates translational control. By using a combined immunoprecipitation and reconstituted kinase assay, in which an active PKR kinase complex was captured from a normal cell extract, we demonstrated functional interactions between the FA proteins and the PKR kinase. In primary human BM cells, mutations in the FANCA, FANCC, and FANCG genes markedly increase the amount of PKR bound to FANCC, and this PKR accumulation is correlated with elevated PKR activation and hypersensitivity of BM progenitor cells to growth repression mediated by the inhibitory cytokines interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α. Specific inhibition of PKR by 2-aminopurine in these FA BM cells attenuates PKR activation and apoptosis induction. In lymphoblasts derived from an FA-C patient, overexpression of a dominant negative mutant PKR (PKRK266R) suppressed PKR activation and apoptosis induced by interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α. Furthermore, by using genetically matched wild-type and PKR-null cells, we demonstrated that forced expression of a patient-derived FA-C mutant (FANCCL554P) augmented double-stranded RNA-induced PKR activation and cell death. Thus, inappropriate activation of PKR as a consequence of certain FA mutations might play a role in bone marrow failure that frequently occurred in FA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43910-43919
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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