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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jul 12;288(28):20378-91. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.457242. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Identification of a novel endoplasmic reticulum stress response element regulated by XBP1.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Québec H3T 1E2, Canada.


Understanding the regulatory mechanisms mediating PRNP gene expression is highly relevant to elucidating normal cellular prion protein (PrP) function(s) and the transmissibility of prion protein neurodegenerative diseases. Here, luciferase reporter assays showed that an endoplasmic reticulum stress element (ERSE)-like element, CCAAT-N26-CCACG in the human PRNP promoter, is regulated by ER stress and X-box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) but not by activating transcription factor 6 α (ATF6α). Bioinformatics identified the ERSE-26 motif in 37 other human genes in the absence of canonical ERSE sites except for three genes. Several of these genes are associated with a synaptic function or are involved in oxidative stress. Brefeldin A, tunicamycin, and thapsigargin ER stressors induced gene expression of PRNP and four randomly chosen ERSE-26-containing genes, ERLEC1, GADD45B, SESN2, and SLC38A5, in primary human neuron cultures or in the breast carcinoma MCF-7 cell line, although the level of the response depends on the gene analyzed, the genetic background of the cells, the cell type, and the ER stressor. Overexpression of XBP1 increased, whereas siRNA knockdown of XBP1 considerably reduced, PRNP and ERLEC1 mRNA levels in MCF-7 cells. Taken together, these results identify a novel ER stress regulator, which implicates the ER stress response in previously unrecognized cellular functions.


ER Stress; ERSE; Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress; Gene Regulation; Gene Transcription; Prions; XBP-1

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