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Mol Cell. 2007 Nov 30;28(4):584-97.

GSK-3-mediated phosphorylation enhances Maf-transforming activity.

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Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, Orsay F-91405, France.


The Maf oncoproteins are b-Zip transcription factors of the AP-1 superfamily. They are involved in developmental, metabolic, and tumorigenic processes. Maf proteins are overexpressed in about 50% of human multiple myelomas. Here, we show that Maf-transforming activity is controlled by GSK-3-dependent phosphorylation and that phosphorylation by GSK-3 can increase the oncogenic activity of a protein. Using microarray analysis, we identify a gene-expression subprogram regulated by GSK-3-mediated Maf phosphorylation involved in extracellular matrix remodeling and relevant to cancer progression. We also demonstrate that GSK-3 triggers MafA sequential phosphorylation on residues S61, T57, T53, and S49, inducing its ubiquitination and degradation. Paradoxically, this phosphorylation increases MafA-transcriptional activity through the recruitment of the coactivator P/CAF. We further demonstrate that P/CAF protects MafA from ubiquitination and degradation, suggesting that, upon the release of the coactivator complex, MafA becomes polyubiquitinated and degraded to allow the response to terminate.

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