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J Biol Chem. 2017 Dec 15;292(50):20720-20731. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.797845. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

Mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 is required for gonadotropin-releasing hormone-mediated activation of gonadotropin α-subunit expression.

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From the Faculty of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel and.
the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94158.
From the Faculty of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel and


Pituitary gonadotropin hormones are regulated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) via MAPK signaling pathways that stimulate gene transcription of the common α-subunit (Cga) and the hormone-specific β-subunits of gonadotropin. We have reported previously that GnRH-induced activities at these genes include various histone modifications, but we did not examine histone phosphorylation. This modification adds a negative charge to residues of the histone tails that interact with the negatively charged DNA, is associated with closed chromatin during mitosis, but is increased at certain genes for transcriptional activation. Thus, the functions of this modification are unclear. We initially hypothesized that GnRH might induce phosphorylation of Ser-10 in histone 3 (H3S10p) as part of its regulation of gonadotropin gene expression, possibly involving cross-talk with H3K9 acetylation. We found that GnRH increases the levels of both modifications around the Cga gene transcriptional start site and that JNK inhibition dramatically reduces H3S10p levels. However, this modification had only a minor effect on Cga expression and no effect on H3K9ac. GnRH also increased H3S28p and H3K27ac levels and also those of activated mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 (MSK1). MSK1 inhibition dramatically reduced H3S28p levels in untreated and GnRH-treated cells and also affected H3K27ac levels. Although not affecting basal Cga expression, MSK1/2 inhibition repressed GnRH activation of Cga expression. Moreover, ChIP analysis revealed that GnRH-activated MSK1 targets the first nucleosome just downstream from the TSS. Given that the elongating RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) stalls at this well positioned nucleosome, GnRH-induced H3S28p, possibly in association with H3K27ac, would facilitate the progression of RNAPII.


chromatin; histone modification; mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK); phosphorylation; pituitary gland

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