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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Feb;112(2):191-6.

C-myb, but not B-myb, upregulates type I collagen gene expression in human fibroblasts.

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Department of Immunology and Cell Biology, Institute of Pharmacological Research Mario Negri, Milano, Italy.


C-myb and B-myb belong to the myb family of transcription factors. We have shown previously that c-myb is deregulated in fibroblasts from systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) patients relative to normal fibroblasts. Scleroderma fibroblasts are known to express elevated levels of collagen genes and transforming growth factor beta is known to be a pro-fibrotic cytokine and to induce transcription of type I collagen genes. We have therefore investigated the role of c-myb and B-myb in the regulation of type I collagen genes in response to transforming growth factor beta in normal human fibroblasts. We show that, in these cells, transforming growth factor beta treatment induces c-myb as well as collagen alpha1(I) and alpha2(I) gene expression, but not B-myb. Furthermore we demonstrate by cotransfection assays that c-myb can upregulate alpha1(I) and alpha2(I) collagen promoters by 6-10-fold whereas B-myb is inactive. The activity of c-myb on both type I collagen promoters requires a functional c-myb DNA binding domain suggesting a direct interaction between c-myb and these promoters. Indeed c-myb is active also on a 500 bp fragment of the alpha2(I) collagen promoter and can bind to this fragment in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Finally, we show that anti-c-myb anti-sense treatment reduces alpha1(I) and to a lesser extent alpha2(I) collagen gene expression. These data strongly suggest that c-myb, but not B-myb, plays a direct role in the upregulation of type I collagen gene expression in response to transforming growth factor beta.

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