Impaired eIF5A function causes a Mendelian disorder that is partially rescued in model systems by spermidine

Víctor Faundes, Martin D. Jennings, Siobhan Crilly, Sarah Legraie, Sarah E. Withers, Sara Cuvertino, Sally J. Davies, Andrew G.L. Douglas, Andrew E. Fry, Victoria Harrison, Jeanne Amiel, Daphné Lehalle, William G. Newman, Patricia Newkirk, Judith Ranells, Miranda Splitt, Laura A. Cross, Carol J. Saunders, Bonnie R. Sullivan, Jorge L. GranadilloChristopher T. Gordon, Paul R. Kasher, Graham D. Pavitt, Siddharth Banka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The structure of proline prevents it from adopting an optimal position for rapid protein synthesis. Poly-proline-tract (PPT) associated ribosomal stalling is resolved by highly conserved eIF5A, the only protein to contain the amino acid hypusine. We show that de novo heterozygous EIF5A variants cause a disorder characterized by variable combinations of developmental delay, microcephaly, micrognathia and dysmorphism. Yeast growth assays, polysome profiling, total/hypusinated eIF5A levels and PPT-reporters studies reveal that the variants impair eIF5A function, reduce eIF5A-ribosome interactions and impair the synthesis of PPT-containing proteins. Supplementation with 1 mM spermidine partially corrects the yeast growth defects, improves the polysome profiles and restores expression of PPT reporters. In zebrafish, knockdown eif5a partly recapitulates the human phenotype that can be rescued with 1 µM spermidine supplementation. In summary, we uncover the role of eIF5A in human development and disease, demonstrate the mechanistic complexity of EIF5A-related disorder and raise possibilities for its treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number833
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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