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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 18;275(33):25681-9.

Activation of serum response factor in the depolarization induction of Egr-1 transcription in pancreatic islet beta-cells.

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Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The results of the current studies define the major elements whereby glucose metabolism in islet beta-cells leads to transcriptional activation of an early response gene in insulinoma cell lines and in rat islets. Glucose stimulation (2-20 mm) resulted in a 4-fold increase in Egr-1 mRNA at 30 min, as did the depolarizing agents KCl and tolbutamide. This response was inhibited by diazoxide and EGTA, indicating that beta-cell depolarization and Ca(2+) influx, respectively, are essential. Pharmacological inhibition of the Egr-1 induction by H89 (48%) and calmidazolium (35%), but not by mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase 1 and 2 or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors, implied that protein kinase A and Ca(2+)/calmodulin pathways are involved. Deletion mapping of the Egr-1 promoter revealed that the proximal -198 base pairs containing two serum response elements (SREs) and one cAMP-response element retained the depolarization response. Depolarization resulted in phosphorylation of cAMP-response element-binding protein, yet partial inhibition by a dominant negative cAMP-response element-binding protein, along with a robust response of a cAMP-response element-mutated Egr-1 promoter suggested the presence of a second Ca(2+)-responsive element. Depolarization activation of 5XSRE-LUC and serum response factor (SRF)-GAL4 constructs, along with activation of SRF-GAL4 by co-transfection with constitutively active calmodulin kinase IV and protein kinase A, and binding of Ser(103)-phosphorylated SRF in nuclear extracts, indicated that the SRE.SRF complexes contribute to the Ca(2+)-mediated transcriptional regulation of Egr-1. The results of the current experiments demonstrate for the first time SRE-dependent transcription and the role of SRF, a transcription factor known to be a major component of growth responses, in glucose-mediated transcriptional regulation in insulinoma cells.

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