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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jul 26;277(30):27517-27. Epub 2002 Apr 23.

Epidermal growth factor-mediated activation of the ETS domain transcription factor Elk-1 requires nuclear calcium.

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Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Cytosolic and nuclear Ca(2+) have been shown to differentially regulate transcription. However, the impact of spatially distinct Ca(2+) signals on mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated gene expression remains unknown. Here we investigated the role of nuclear and cytosolic Ca(2+) signals in epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced transactivation of the ternary complex factor Elk-1 using a GAL4-Elk-1 construct. EGF increased Ca(2+) in both the nucleus and cytosol of HepG2 or 293 cells. Pretreatment with the intracellular Ca(2+) chelator bis(2-aminophenyl)ethyleneglycol-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid significantly reduced EGF-induced transactivation of Elk-1, indicating that EGF-stimulated Elk-1 transcriptional activity is dependent on intracellular Ca(2+). To determine the relative contribution of nuclear and cytosolic Ca(2+) signals during EGF-mediated Elk-1 transactivation, Ca(2+) signals in either compartment were selectively impaired by targeted expression of the Ca(2+)-binding protein parvalbumin to either the nucleus or cytosol. Suppression of nuclear but not cytosolic Ca(2+) signals inhibited EGF-induced transactivation of Elk-1. However, suppression of nuclear Ca(2+) signals did not affect the ability of ERK either to become phosphorylated or to undergo translocation to the nucleus in response to EGF. Elk-1 phosphorylation and nuclear localization following EGF stimulation were also unaffected by suppressing nuclear Ca(2+) signals. These results suggest that nuclear Ca(2+) is required for EGF-mediated transcriptional activation of Elk-1 and that phosphorylation of Elk-1 alone is not sufficient to induce its transcriptional activation in response to EGF. Thus, subcellular targeting of parvalbumin reveals a distinct role for nuclear Ca(2+) signals in mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated gene transcription.

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