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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2000 Aug;32(8):1447-57.

Phosphorylation of elk-1 by MEK/ERK pathway is necessary for c-fos gene activation during cardiac myocyte hypertrophy.

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Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Cardiac hypertrophy is associated with specific alterations in myocardial gene expression; however, the exact mechanisms responsible for altered gene expression are poorly defined. The goal of this study was to investigate whether signaling kinases that are activated during cardiac hypertrophy directly modulate transcription factor activity and regulate gene expression. In an effort to understand this process, we focused our studies on the transcriptional activation of c-fos gene through the serum response element (SRE)/ternary complex factor (TCF) element, during phenylephrine-induced myocyte hypertrophy. In this study, we show that phosphorylated Elk-1, a TCF, binds to c-fos SRE and its binding to SRE is increased upon phenylephrine stimulation. Phenylephrine treatment activates phosphorylation of Elk-1 in the nucleus within five minutes and Elk-1-dependent transcriptional activation is abolished by inhibitors selective for MEK/ERK kinases. These studies implicate that phosphorylation of Elk-1 by ERK kinase pathway is important for early gene activation during phenylephrine-induced myocyte hypertrophy.

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