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(Nucleic Acids Res, 2019)
Loss of RNA-binding protein GRSF1 activates mTOR to elicit a proinflammatory transcriptional program
The RNA-binding protein GRSF1 (G-rich RNA sequence-binding factor 1) critically maintains mitochondrial homeostasis. Accordingly, loss of GRSF1 impaired mitochondrial respiration and increased the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), triggering DNA damage, growth suppression, and a senescent phenotype characterized by elevated production and secretion of interleukin (IL)6. Here, we characterize the pathways that govern IL6 production in response to mitochondrial dysfunction in GRSF1-depleted cells. We report that loss of GRSF1 broadly altered protein expression programs, impairing the function of respiratory complexes I and IV. The rise in oxidative stress led to increased DNA damage and activation of mTOR, which in turn activated NF-κB to induce IL6 gene transcription and orchestrate a pro-inflammatory program. Collectively, our results indicate that GRSF1 helps preserve mitochondrial homeostasis, in turn preventing oxidative DNA damage and the activation of mTOR and NF-κB, and suppressing a transcriptional pro-inflammatory program leading to increased IL6 production.