Review Article

Mammalian integrated stress responses in stressed organelles and their functions

Hao-jun Lu1, Nirmala Koju1, Rui Sheng1
1 Department of Pharmacology and Laboratory of Aging and Nervous Diseases, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuropsychiatric Diseases, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China
Correspondence to: Rui Sheng:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-023-01225-0
Received: 29 June 2023
Accepted: 30 December 2023
Advance online: 24 January 2024


The integrated stress response (ISR) triggered in response to various cellular stress enables mammalian cells to effectively cope with diverse stressful conditions while maintaining their normal functions. Four kinases (PERK, PKR, GCN2, and HRI) of ISR regulate ISR signaling and intracellular protein translation via mediating the phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 α (eIF2α) at Ser51. Early ISR creates an opportunity for cells to repair themselves and restore homeostasis. This effect, however, is reversed in the late stages of ISR. Currently, some studies have shown the non-negligible impact of ISR on diseases such as ischemic diseases, cognitive impairment, metabolic syndrome, cancer, vanishing white matter, etc. Hence, artificial regulation of ISR and its signaling with ISR modulators becomes a promising therapeutic strategy for relieving disease symptoms and improving clinical outcomes. Here, we provide an overview of the essential mechanisms of ISR and describe the ISR-related pathways in organelles including mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, and lysosomes. Meanwhile, the regulatory effects of ISR modulators and their potential application in various diseases are also enumerated.

Keywords: integrated stress response; organelles; eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2; activating transcription factor 4; protein homeostasis

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