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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1998 Jan;30(1):27-38.

Coupling gene expression to cAMP signalling: role of CREB and CREM.

Author information

1
Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch, C.U. de Strasbourg, France.

Abstract

Several endocrine and neuronal functions are governed by the cAMP-dependent pathway. Transcriptional regulation upon stimulation of this pathway is mediated by a family of cAMP-responsive nuclear factors. This family consists of a large number of members, which may act as activators or repressors. These factors contain the basic domain/leucine zipper motifs and bind as dimers to cAMP-response elements (CRE). CRE-binding protein (CREBs) function is modulated by phosphorylation by several kinases. Direct activation of gene expression by CREB requires phosphorylation by the cAMP-dependent PKA to serine 133. Among the repressors, ICER (Inducible cAMP Early Repressor) deserves special mention. ICER is generated from an alternative CREM promoter and is the only inducible CRE-binding protein. ICER negatively autoregulates the alternative promoter, generating a feedback loop. ICER expression is tissue specific and developmentally regulated. The kinetics of ICER expression are characteristic of an early response gene. CREM plays a key physiological and developmental role within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. The transcriptional activator CREM is highly expressed in postmeiotic cells. The role of CREM in spermiogenesis was addressed using CREM knock-out mice. Spermatogenesis stops at the first step of spermiogenesis in the mutants and there is a significant increase in apoptotic germ cells. This phenotype is reminiscent of cases of human infertility. ICER is regulated in a circadian manner in the pineal gland, the site of the hormone melatonin production. This night-day oscillation is driven by the endogenous clock (located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus). The synthesis of melatonin is regulated by a rate-limiting enzyme, serotonin N-acetyltransferase (NAT). Analysis of the CREM-null mice and of the promoter of the NAT gene revealed that ICER controls the amplitude and rhythmicity of NAT, and thus the oscillation in the hormonal synthesis of melatonin.

PMID:
9597751
DOI:
10.1016/s1357-2725(97)00093-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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