Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is a transcription factor induced under severe hypoxia and a component of the PERK pathway involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR), a process that protects cells from the negative consequences of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. In this study, we have used small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microarray analysis to provide the first whole-genome analysis of genes regulated by ATF4 in cancer cells in response to severe and prolonged hypoxic stress. We show that ATF4 is required for ER stress and hypoxia-induced expansion of autophagy. MAP1LC3B (LC3B) is a key component of the autophagosomal membrane, and in this study we demonstrate that ATF4 facilitates autophagy through direct binding to a cyclic AMP response element binding site in the LC3B promoter, resulting in LC3B upregulation. Previously, we have shown that Bortezomib-induced ATF4 stabilization, which then upregulated LC3B expression and had a critical role in activating autophagy, protecting cells from Bortezomib-induced cell death. We also showed that severe hypoxia stabilizes ATF4. In this study, we demonstrate that severe hypoxia leads to ER stress and induces ATF4-dependent autophagy through LC3 as a survival mechanism. In summary, we show that ATF4 has a key role in the regulation of autophagy in response to ER stress and provide a direct mechanistic link between the UPR and the autophagic machinery.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





4424 - 4435


Activating Transcription Factor 4, Antineoplastic Agents, Autophagy, Base Sequence, Boronic Acids, Bortezomib, Cell Hypoxia, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, HCT116 Cells, HeLa Cells, Humans, Neoplasms, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Oxygen, Pyrazines, RNA, Small Interfering, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Unfolded Protein Response, Validation Studies as Topic