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Mol Biol Cell. 2010 Aug 15;21(16):2966-74. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-01-0015. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Regulation of genotoxic stress response by homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 through phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element-binding protein at serine 271.

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Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.


CREB (cyclic AMP response element-binding protein) is a stimulus-induced transcription factor that plays pivotal roles in cell survival and proliferation. The transactivation function of CREB is primarily regulated through Ser-133 phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) and related kinases. Here we found that homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2), a DNA-damage responsive nuclear kinase, is a new CREB kinase for phosphorylation at Ser-271 but not Ser-133, and activates CREB transactivation function including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression. Ser-271 to Glu-271 substitution potentiated the CREB transactivation function. ChIP assays in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells demonstrated that CREB Ser-271 phosphorylation by HIPK2 increased recruitment of a transcriptional coactivator CBP (CREB binding protein) without modulation of CREB binding to the BDNF CRE sequence. HIPK2-/- MEF cells were more susceptible to apoptosis induced by etoposide, a DNA-damaging agent, than HIPK2+/+ cells. Etoposide activated CRE-dependent transcription in HIPK2+/+ MEF cells but not in HIPK2-/- cells. HIPK2 knockdown in SH-SY5Y cells decreased etoposide-induced BDNF mRNA expression. These results demonstrate that HIPK2 is a new CREB kinase that regulates CREB-dependent transcription in genotoxic stress.

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