Heregulin induces expression, DNA binding activity, and transactivating functions of basic leucine zipper activating transcription factor 4

Amjad H. Talukder, Ratna Vadlamudi, Mahitosh Mandal, Rakesh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Heregulin β1 (HRG), a combinatorial ligand for human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 and human epidermal growth factor receptor 4 receptors, is a regulatory secretory polypeptide with distinct biological effects such as growth stimulation, differentiation, invasiveness, and migration in breast cancer cells. The mechanism underlying the diverse functions of HRG is not well established, but it is believed to be dependent on the induced changes in expression of specific cellular gene products, their modification, or both. The binding of basic leucine zipper transcription factors to the cAMP response element is known to activate a variety of gene products with a role or roles in growth regulation. In the studies presented here, we identified basic leucine zipper activating transcription factor (ATF) 4 as one of the HRG-inducible gene product. We demonstrated that HRG stimulation of human cancer cells induces expression of ATF4 mRNA and protein, ATF4 DNA binding activity, and ATF4 transactivating function. Consistent with its role as a transcriptional activator, HRG-stimulated ATF4 protein stimulated the transcription from an artificial promoter with three tandem ATF sites or from a naturally occurring promoter with ATF4 sites such as E-selectin. We also demonstrated a preferential role of the HRG-stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, but not the phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase pathway, in supporting the observed increase in ATF4 DNA binding activity and transcription from E-selectin promoter in HRG-stimulated cells. Because ATF4 binding sites are present in a variety of growth-regulating cellular genes, these findings suggest that the stimulation of ATF4 expression and its transactivating functions may constitute an important mechanism of HRG- mediated regulation of putative genes with diversified functions. The present study is the first demonstration of regulation of expression and transactivation ability of ATF4 by any polypeptide growth factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-281
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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