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J Biol Chem. 2007 Mar 2;282(9):6283-91. Epub 2007 Jan 5.

Coregulated ataxia telangiectasia-mutated and casein kinase sites modulate cAMP-response element-binding protein-coactivator interactions in response to DNA damage.

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  • 1Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Program, Department of Pharmacology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


The cyclic AMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) is a bZIP family transcription factor implicated as an oncoprotein and neuron survival factor. CREB is activated in response to cellular stimuli, including cAMP and Ca(2+), via phosphorylation of Ser-133, which promotes interaction between the kinase-inducible domain (KID) of CREB and the KID-interacting domain of CREB-binding protein (CBP). We previously demonstrated that the interaction between CREB and CBP is inhibited by DNA-damaging stimuli through a mechanism whereby CREB is phosphorylated by the ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) protein kinase. We now show that the ATM phosphorylation sites in CREB are functionally intertwined with a cluster of coregulated casein kinase (CK) sites. We demonstrate that DNA damage-induced phosphorylation of CREB occurs in three steps. The initial event in the CREB phosphorylation cascade is the phosphorylation of Ser-111, which is carried out by CK1 and CK2 under basal conditions and by ATM in response to ionizing radiation. The phosphorylation of Ser-111 triggers the CK2-dependent phosphorylation of Ser-108 and the CK1-dependent phosphorylation of Ser-114 and Ser-117. The phosphorylation of Ser-114 and Ser-117 by CK1 then renders CREB permissive for ATM-dependent phosphorylation on Ser-121. Mutation of Ser-121 alone abrogates ionizing radiation-dependent repression of CREB-CBP complexes, which can be recapitulated using a CK1 inhibitor. Our findings outline a complex mechanism of CREB phosphorylation in which coregulated ATM and CK sites control CREB transactivation potential by modulating its CBP-binding affinity. The coregulated ATM and CK sites identified in CREB may constitute a signaling motif that is common to other DNA damage-regulated substrates.

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