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Oncogene. 2004 Sep 23;23(44):7310-21.

Human Bcl-2 activates ERK signaling pathway to regulate activating protein-1, lens epithelium-derived growth factor and downstream genes.

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  • 1College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, PR China.


The proto-oncogene, bcl-2, has various functions besides its role in protecting cells from apoptosis. One of the functions is to regulate expression of other genes. Previous studies have demonstrated that Bcl-2 regulates activities of several important transcription factors including NF-kappaB and p53, and also their downstream genes. In our recent studies, we reported that Bcl-2 substantially downregulates expression of the endogenous alphaB-crystallin gene through modulating the transcriptional activity of lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF). In the present communication, we report that human Bcl-2 can positively regulate expression of the proto-oncogenes c-jun and c-fos. Moreover, it enhances the DNA binding activity and transactivity of the activating protein-1 (AP-1). Furthermore, we present evidence to show that Bcl-2 can also activate both ERK1 and ERK2 MAP kinases. Inhibition of the activities of these kinases or the upstream activating kinases by pharmacological inhibitors or dominant-negative mutants abolishes the Bcl-2-mediated regulation of AP-1, LEDGF and their downstream genes. Together, our results demonstrate that through activation of the ERK kinase signaling pathway, Bcl-2 regulates the transcriptional activities of multiple transcription factors, and hence modulates the expression of their downstream genes. Thus, our results provide a mechanism to explain how Bcl-2 may regulate expression of other genes.

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