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J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 22;285(43):33324-37. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.140699. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Control of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) persistence by multisite phosphorylation impacts cell cycle progression and neurogenesis.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Organogenesis is a highly integrated process with a fundamental requirement for precise cell cycle control. Mechanistically, the cell cycle is composed of transitions and thresholds that are controlled by coordinated post-translational modifications. In this study, we describe a novel mechanism controlling the persistence of the transcription factor ATF4 by multisite phosphorylation. Proline-directed phosphorylation acted additively to regulate multiple aspects of ATF4 degradation. Stabilized ATF4 mutants exhibit decreased β-TrCP degron phosphorylation, β-TrCP interaction, and ubiquitination, as well as elicit early G(1) arrest. Expression of stabilized ATF4 also had significant consequences in the developing neocortex. Mutant ATF4 expressing cells exhibited positioning and differentiation defects that were attributed to early G(1) arrest, suggesting that neurogenesis is sensitive to ATF4 dosage. We propose that precise regulation of the ATF4 dosage impacts cell cycle control and impinges on neurogenesis.

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