The reversible phosphorylation of proteins allows cells to adapt to sudden changes in their environment. Tsaytler et al. (see the Perspective by Wiseman and Kelly) describe a specific small-molecule inhibitor of a regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 1, guanabenz. Guanabenz selectively bound to a regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 1 and selectively disrupted the stress-induced dephosphorylation of a subunit of translation initiation factor 2, thereby prolonging translation attenuation in stressed cells. This favored protein folding, promoting resistance to protein misfolding in the endoplasmic reticulum.