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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jan 8;99(1):207-12. Epub 2001 Dec 26.

CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-beta is a mediator of keratinocyte survival and skin tumorigenesis involving oncogenic Ras signaling.

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  • 1Cell Signaling and Cancer Group, Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7633, USA.


The basic leucine zipper transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-beta (C/EBPbeta) is expressed in many cell types, including keratinocytes. C/EBPbeta activity can be increased by phosphorylation through pathways stimulated by oncogenic Ras, although the biological implications of Ras-C/EBPbeta signaling are not currently understood. We report here that C/EBPbeta-nullizygous mice are completely refractory to skin tumor development induced by a variety of carcinogens and carcinogenesis protocols, including 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-initiation/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate promotion, that produce tumors containing oncogenic Ras mutations. No significant differences in TPA-induced epidermal keratinocyte proliferation were observed in C/EBPbeta-null versus wild-type mice. However, apoptosis was significantly elevated (17-fold) in the epidermal keratinocytes of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-treated C/EBPbeta-null mice compared with wild-type mice. In v-Ha-ras transgenic mice, C/EBPbeta deficiency also led to greatly reduced skin tumor multiplicity and size, providing additional evidence for a tumorigenesis pathway linking Ras and C/EBPbeta. Oncogenic Ras potently stimulated C/EBPbeta to activate a C/EBP-responsive promoter-reporter in keratinocytes and mutating an ERK1/2 phosphorylation site (T188) in C/EBPbeta abolished this Ras effect. Finally, we observed that C/EBPbeta participates in oncogenic Ras-induced transformation of NIH 3T3 cells. These findings indicate that C/EBPbeta has a critical role in Ras-mediated tumorigenesis and cell survival and implicate C/EBPbeta as a target for tumor inhibition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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