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Oncogene. 1998 Jun 4;16(22):2915-26.

Stress-induced immediate-early gene, egr-1, involves activation of p38/JNK1.

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Signal Transduction Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


The Ras/Raf/MAP kinase (ERK) pathway is a major signaling pathway induced by growth factors in mammalian cells. Two other types of mammalian MAP kinases, JNK (SAPK) and p38 (RK, CSBP), are induced by environmental stress. Although the immediate-early gene, egr-1, is induced by growth factors, cytokines, differentiation signals and DNA damaging agents, less is known about its induction by environmental stress and the mechanism involved. Here we report that in NIH3T3 cells, egr-1 is induced by various stress treatments such as heat shock, sodium arsenite, ultraviolet (U.V.) radiation, and anisomycin. p38 and JNK1, but not ERK2, were activated by these stress treatments. Induction of egr-1 by anisomycin is inhibited by a specific inhibitor of p38, SB 203580. We also show that p38 and JNK1 activated by their upstream kinases induce egr-1 promoter activity through activation of the ternary complex factor, Elk-1. The stress treatments also lead to an increase in Egr-1 protein phosphorylation and its DNA binding activity. Together, our data suggest that induction of egr-1 gene by growth factors and stress are mediated through different subgroups of MAP kinases which may also differentially affect egr-1 function on its target genes.

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