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Biochem Cell Biol. 2018 Apr 30:1-8. doi: 10.1139/bcb-2018-0073. [Epub ahead of print]

The phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway and glycogen synthase kinase-3 positively regulate the activity of metal-responsive transcription factor-1 in response to zinc ions.

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a Équipe Enzymologie de l'ARN, ER6, 9 quai St Bernard, Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, Sorbonne-Université, 75252 Paris, Cedex 05, France.
b Département de biologie moléculaire, de biochimie médicale et de pathologie, Faculté de médecine, Université Laval and Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Axe Oncologie, Hôtel Dieu de Québec, 9 rue McMahon, Québec, QC G1R 3S3, Canada.


Metal-responsive transcription factor-1 (MTF-1) is a metal-regulatory transcription factor essential for induction of the genes encoding metallothioneins (MTs) in response to transition metal ions. Activation of MTF-1 is dependent on the interaction of zinc with the zinc fingers of the protein. In addition, phosphorylation is essential for MTF-1 transactivation. We previously showed that inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) abrogated Mt expression and metal-induced MTF-1 activation in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) HepG2 and mouse L cells, thus showing that the PI3K signaling pathway positively regulates MTF-1 activity and Mt gene expression. However, it has also been reported that inhibition of PI3K has no significant effects on Mt expression in immortalized epithelial cells and increases Mt expression in HCC cells. To further characterize the role of the PI3K pathway on the activity of MTF-1, transfection experiments were performed in HEK293 and HepG2 cells in presence of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3), mTOR-C1, and mTOR-C2 inhibitors, as well as of siRNAs targeting Phosphatase and TENsin homolog (PTEN). We showed that inhibition of the mTOR-C2 complex inhibits the activity of MTF-1 in HepG2 and HEK293 cells, while inhibition of the mTOR-C1 complex or of PTEN stimulates MTF-1 activity in HEK293 cells. These results confirm that the PI3K pathway positively regulates MTF-1 activity. Finally, we showed that GSK-3 is required for MTF-1 activation in response to zinc ions.


MTF-1; glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3); glycogène synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3); mTOR–C1; mTOR–C2; metal-responsive transcription factor-1 (MTF-1); phosphatase and TENsin homolog (PTEN); « Phosphatase and TENsin homolog (PTEN) »

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