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J Biol Chem. 2007 Oct 19;282(42):30901-9. Epub 2007 Apr 11.

dp5/HRK is a c-Jun target gene and required for apoptosis induced by potassium deprivation in cerebellar granule neurons.

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Department of Pharmacology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, China.


In cerebellar granule neurons, a BH3-only Bcl-2 family member, death protein 5/harakiri, is up-regulated in a JNK-dependent manner during apoptosis induced by potassium deprivation. However, it is not clear whether c-Jun is directly involved in the induction of dp5. Here, we showed that the up-regulation of dp5, but not fas ligand and bim, after potassium deprivation was suppressed by the expression of a dominant negative form of c-Jun. Deletion analysis of the 5'-flanking sequence of the dp5 gene revealed that a major responsive element responsible for the induction by potassium deprivation is an ATF binding site located at -116 to -109 relative to the transcriptional start site. Mutation of this site completely abolished promoter activation. Furthermore, a gel shift assay showed that a specific complex containing c-Jun and ATF2 recognized this site and increased in potassium-deprived cerebellar granule neurons. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated that c-Jun was able to bind to this site in vivo. Finally, we demonstrated that knockdown of Dp5 by small interfering RNA rescued neurons from potassium deprivation-induced apoptosis. Taken together, these results suggest that dp5 is a target gene of c-Jun and plays a critical role in potassium deprivation-induced apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons.

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