A critical role for eukaryotic elongation factor 1A-1 in lipotoxic cell death

Nica M. Borradaile, Kimberly K. Buhman, Laura L. Listenberger, Carolyn J. Magee, Emiko T.A. Morimoto, Daniel S. Ory, Jean E. Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


The deleterious consequences of fatty acid (FA) and neutral lipid accumulation in nonadipose tissues, such as the heart, contribute to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. To elucidate mechanisms of FA-induced cell death, or lipotoxicity, we generated Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell mutants resistant to palmitate-induced death and isolated a clone with disruption of eukaryotic elongation factor (eEF) e1A-1. eEF1A-1 involvement in lipotoxicity was confirmed in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts, in which small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown also conferred palmitate resistance. In wild-type CHO and H9c2 cells, palmitate increased reactive oxygen species and induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, changes accompanied by increased eEF1A-1 expression. Disruption of eEF1A-1 expression rendered these cells resistant to hydrogen peroxide- and ER stress-induced death, indicating that eEF1A-1 plays a critical role in the cell death response to these stressors downstream of lipid overload. Disruption of eEF1A-1 also resulted in actin cytoskeleton defects under basal conditions and in response to palmitate, suggesting that eEF1A-1 mediates lipotoxic cell death, secondary to oxidative and ER stress, by regulating cytoskeletal changes critical for this process. Furthermore, our observations of oxidative stress, ER stress, and induction of eEF1A-1 expression in a mouse model of lipotoxic cardiomyopathy implicate this cellular response in the pathophysiology of metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-778
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


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