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Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Jun;23(12):4401-15.

Accumulation of Fra-1 in ras-transformed cells depends on both transcriptional autoregulation and MEK-dependent posttranslational stabilization.

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  • 1Institute of Genetics and Biophysics "A Buzzati-Traverso," Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 80125 Naples, Italy.


The AP-1 transcription factor plays an essential role in cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. It was previously shown that the fra-1 gene product is upregulated by various oncogenes and is involved in the in vitro and in vivo transformation of thyroid cells. Here we show that the ras oncogene-dependent accumulation of Fra-1 is mediated by a positive feedback mechanism which requires both transcriptional autoregulation and posttranslational stabilization of the protein. The oncogene-dependent transcriptional activation involves the cooperation between both Raf-dependent and Raf-independent pathways and is mediated by an AP-1 site within the fra-1 first intron, which becomes stably occupied by a transcriptionally active Fra-1-containing complex in ras-transformed cells. The posttranslational stabilization results in a drastic increase in the Fra-1 half-life in ras-transformed cells and is totally dependent on the activity of the MEK/ERK phosphorylation pathway. The analysis of the Fra-1 transactivation potential shows that the protein is able to stimulate a heterologous promoter in a ras-dependent manner, but the transactivating activity requires the recruitment of a heterodimeric partner. These data show that the alteration of multiple regulatory mechanisms is required for the constitutive activation of Fra-1 as a nuclear target of ras transformation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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