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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2003;544:181-96.

A paradigm for gene regulation: inflammation, NF-kappaB and PPAR.

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University of Gent, Department of Molecular Biology, KL. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Gent, Belgium.


The onset of inflammatory gene expression is driven by the transcription factor NF-kappaB, whose transcriptional activity is regulated at multiple levels. First, NF-kappaB activity is regulated by cytoplasmic degradation of the IkappaB inhibitor and nuclear translocation. Second, the nuclear p65 transactivation potential can be further influenced by posttranslational modifications, such as phosphorylation and/or acetylation. The p65 phosphorylation is a process highly regulated by both cell- and stimulus-dependent activating kinases. Ser276 phosphorylation seems to be highly important considering its crucial role in the interaction with and the engagement of the cofactor CBP/p300. We have identified MSK1 as an acting kinase in the TNF-signalling pathway, where it is responsible for p65 phosphorylation at Ser276, as well as for H3 phosphorylation of Ser10 in IL-6 promoter-associated chromatin (Fig. 1) (Saccani et al., 2002; Vermeulen et al., 2002, 2003). To our knowledge, this was the first report that identifies one particular kinase involved in transcription factor phosphorylation and histone modification at the level of a single promoter in order to establish gene activation. The question of which element takes the initial step to recruit and to assemble the activated transcription complex still remains unanswered (Vanden Berghe et al., 2002). PPAR alpha negatively interferes with inflammatory gene expression by up-regulation of the cytoplasmic inhibitor molecule IkappaB alpha, thus establishing an autoregulatory loop (Fig. 1). This induction takes place in the absence of a PPRE, but requires the presence of NF-kappaB and Sp1 elements in the IkappaB alpha promoter sequence as well as DRIP250 cofactors. The detailed mechanism how PPAR can activate genes in a non-DNA-binding way needs further investigation; moreover, it is at present not clear whether this upregulation, unlike the inhibitory effect of glucocorticoids, is a cell type- or a PPAR-specific phenomenon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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