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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Coupling cAMP signaling to transcription in the liver: pivotal role of CREB and CREM.

Transcriptional factors binding to cAMP-responsive elements (CREs) in the promoters of various genes belong to the basic domain-leucine zipper superfamily and are composed of three genes in mammals, CREB, CREM, and ATF-1. A large number of CREB, CREM, and ATF-1 proteins are generated by posttranscriptional events, mostly alternative splicing, and regulate gene expression by acting as activators or repressors. Activation is classically brought about by signaling-dependent phosphorylation of a key acceptor site (Ser133 in CREB) by a number of possible kinases, including PKA, CamKIV, and Rsk-2. Phosphorylation is the prerequisite for the interaction of CBP ( CREB-binding protein), a co-activator that has also histone acetyltransferase activity. Repression may involve dynamic dephosphorylation of the activators and thus decreased association with CBP. Another pathway of transcriptional repression on CRE sites implicates the inducible repressor ICER (inducible cAMP early repressor), a product of the CREM gene. Being an inducible repressor, ICER is involved in autoregulatory feedback loops of transcription that govern the down-regulation of early response genes, such as the proto-oncogene c-fos. The liver represents a remarkable physiological setting where cAMP-responsive signaling plays a major role. Indeed, a finely tuned program of gene expression is triggered by partial hepatectomy, so that through specific checkpoints a coordinated regeneration of the tissue is obtained. Temporal kinetics of transcriptional activation after hepatectomy reveals a pattern of early induction for several genes, some of them controlled by the CREB/CREM transcription factors. An important role of CREM in liver physiology was suggested by the robust induction of ICER after partial hepatectomy. The delay in tissue regeneration in CREM-deficient mice confirmed the important function of this factor in regulating hepatocyte proliferation. As gene induction is accompanied by critical changes in chromatin organization, the deciphering of the specific modification codes that histones display during liver regeneration and physiology will provide exciting new insights into the dynamics of chromatin architecture.[1]


  1. Coupling cAMP signaling to transcription in the liver: pivotal role of CREB and CREM. Servillo, G., Della Fazia, M.A., Sassone-Corsi, P. Exp. Cell Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
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