Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Genet. 2004 Jul;36(7):738-43. Epub 2004 Jun 20.

p38 pathway targets SWI-SNF chromatin-remodeling complex to muscle-specific loci.

Author information

Laboratory of Gene Expression, Dulbecco Telethon Institute at Fondazione A. Cesalpino, Institute of Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering, San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park of Rome, Rome 00128, Italy.


During skeletal myogenesis, genomic reprogramming toward terminal differentiation is achieved by recruiting chromatin-modifying enzymes to muscle-specific loci. The relative contribution of extracellular signaling cascades in targeting these enzymes to individual genes is unknown. Here we show that the differentiation-activated p38 pathway targets the SWI-SNF chromatin-remodeling complex to myogenic loci. Upon differentiation, p38 kinases were recruited to the chromatin of muscle-regulatory elements. Blockade of p38 alpha/beta repressed the transcription of muscle genes by preventing recruitment of the SWI-SNF complex at these elements without affecting chromatin binding of muscle-regulatory factors and acetyltransferases. The SWI-SNF subunit BAF60 could be phosphorylated by p38 alpha-beta in vitro, and forced activation of p38 alpha/beta in myoblasts by expression of a constitutively active MKK6 (refs. 5,6,7) promoted unscheduled SWI-SNF recruitment to the myogenin promoter. Conversely, inactivation of SWI-SNF enzymatic subunits abrogated MKK6-dependent induction of muscle gene expression. These results identify an unexpected function of differentiation-activated p38 in converting external cues into chromatin modifications at discrete loci, by selectively targeting SWI-SNF to muscle-regulatory elements.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center