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J Biol Chem. 1993 Jan 5;268(1):613-9.

Relative roles of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta and cAMP regulatory element-binding protein in controlling transcription of the gene for phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (GTP).

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


The gene for phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (GTP) (EC (PEPCK) is expressed in a tissue-specific manner in the liver, kidney, and adipose tissue and is regulated by hormones including cAMP and insulin. Previous studies have shown that the CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBP alpha) binds to several sites on the PEPCK promoter and activates transcription from the promoter in hepatoma cells. Here, we report that a second member of the C/EBP family, C/EBP beta, bound to the same sites on the PEPCK promoter. However, C/EBP beta stimulated transcription primarily through the cAMP-responsive element (CRE), which maps between positions -77 to -94, but not at the more 5'-binding sites. In addition, the nuclear factor-1 site, which is immediately adjacent to the CRE in the PEPCK promoter, was also required for the full response of the promoter to cotransfected C/EBP beta. In gel mobility assays, antibodies to both C/EBP beta and the cAMP regulatory element-binding protein (CREB), but not to C/EBP alpha, "supershifted" DNA-protein complexes formed between a synthetic CRE oligomer and proteins prepared from rat liver nuclei. C/EBP beta mRNA was expressed at low levels in both the periportal and pericentral regions of the liver lobule, whereas expression of the gene for C/EBP alpha was confined to the pericentral region of the liver lobule. PEPCK gene transcription is greatest in the periportal region of the liver. CREB also bound to the CRE and stimulated transcription of a PEPCK-CAT vector in the presence of an expression vector for the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A. C/EBP beta and CREB bound to the CRE with similar affinities, both of which were greater than the affinity of C/EBP alpha. Within 90 min after the administration of dibutyryl cAMP to rats, there was a marked increase in the hepatic concentration of C/EBP beta mRNA and a decrease in the level of mRNA for C/EBP alpha. These studies indicate that C/EBP beta can regulate PEPCK gene transcription by acting through the CRE and that C/EBP beta, together with CREB, may contribute to the cAMP responsiveness of the PEPCK promoter.

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