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J Biol Chem. 2008 Mar 14;283(11):6843-53. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M710342200. Epub 2008 Jan 14.

Identification of CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins as exchange protein activated by cAMP-activated transcription factors that mediate the induction of the SOCS-3 gene.

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Molecular Pharmacology Group, Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Davidson Bldg., Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom.


The prototypical second messenger cAMP is a key regulator of immune and inflammatory responses. Its ability to inhibit interleukin (IL)-6 responses is due to induction of suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS-3), a negative regulator of IL-6 receptor signaling. We have determined previously that SOCS-3 induction by cAMP occurs independently of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, instead requiring the recently identified cAMP sensor exchange protein activated by cAMP 1 (EPAC1). Here we present evidence to suggest that the C/EBP family of transcription factors link EPAC1 activation to SOCS-3 induction. Firstly, selective activation of EPAC in human umbilical vein endothelial cells increased C/EBP DNA binding activity and recruitment of C/EBPbeta to the SOCS-3 promoter. Secondly, knockdown of C/EBPbeta and -delta isoforms abolished both SOCS-3 induction and inhibition of IL-6 signaling in response to cAMP. Thirdly, overexpression of C/EBPalpha, -beta, or -delta potentiated EPAC-mediated accumulation of SOCS-3. Finally, these effects were not restricted to human umbilical vein endothelial cells, because similar phenomena were observed in murine embryonic fibroblasts in which C/EBPbeta or delta had been deleted. In summary, our findings constitute the first description of an EPAC-C/EBP pathway that can control cAMP-mediated changes in gene expression independently of protein kinase A.

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