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Endocrinology. 1995 Aug;136(8):3534-45.

Expression of the gene encoding transcription factor cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) response element-binding protein (CREB): regulation by follicle-stimulating hormone-induced cAMP signaling in primary rat Sertoli cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston 02114, USA.


The somatic Sertoli cells of the testis are major targets for FSH and are important for the regulation of spermatogenesis. The binding of FSH to Sertoli cells activates the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A signaling pathway, resulting in phosphorylation of the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), which is required to transactivate genes containing cAMP response elements (CREs). Here we show that the addition of forskolin to cultured primary Sertoli cells results in the phosphorylation of CREB within 2-5 min. Phospho-CREB levels remain elevated with continued forskolin stimulation, but fall by 60% within 5 min after the removal of forskolin. In addition, we found that 8-bromo-cAMP induces CREB RNA accumulation in the Sertoli cells. Transient transfections of primary Sertoli cells with CREB promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter plasmids define a conserved 300-base pair region of the CREB promoter surrounding the transcription start site that is required for both basal and cAMP-inducible expression of the CREB gene. This region of the promoter contains three Sp1-binding sites flanking the transcription initiation site and two CREs located 65 and 85 base pairs downstream of the transcription initiation site. We show that the Sp1 motifs bind Sp1 in Sertoli extracts and contribute to basal promoter activity, and that the CREs bind CREB and are essential for cAMP induction of CREB gene transcription. These findings support the model of FSH- and cAMP-mediated CREB autoregulation of its own promoter and may explain the dramatic stage-specific oscillations in Sertoli cells of CREB messenger RNA levels during the 12-day cycles of spermatogenesis in rat seminiferous tubules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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