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J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 21;276(51):48309-17. Epub 2001 Oct 10.

Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase-2 expression is regulated by ATF6 during the endoplasmic reticulum stress response: intracellular signaling of calcium stress in a cardiac myocyte model system.

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Heart Institute and the Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182, USA.


The recently described transcription factor, ATF6, mediates the expression of proteins that compensate for potentially stressful changes in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), such as reduced ER calcium. In cardiac myocytes the maintenance of optimal calcium levels in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), a specialized form of the ER, is required for proper contractility. The present study investigated the hypothesis that ATF6 serves as a regulator of the expression of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase-2 (SERCA2), a protein that transports calcium into the SR from the cytoplasm. Depletion of SR calcium in cultured cardiac myocytes fostered the translocation of ATF6 from the ER to the nucleus, activated the promoter for rat SERCA2, and led to increased levels of SERCA2 protein. SERCA2 promoter induction by calcium depletion was partially blocked by dominant-negative ATF6, whereas constitutively activated ATF6 led to SERCA2 promoter activation. Mutation analyses identified a promoter-proximal ER stress-response element in the rat SERCA2 gene that was required for maximal induction by ATF6 and calcium depletion. Although this element was shown to be responsible for all of the effects of ATF6 on SERCA2 promoter activation, it was responsible for only a portion of the effects of calcium depletion. Thus, SERCA2 induction in response to calcium depletion appears to be a potentially physiologically important compensatory response to this stress that involves intracellular signaling pathways that are both dependent and independent of ATF6.

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