The transcriptional activity of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha is inhibited via phosphorylation by ERK1/2.

Veto, B. and Bojcsuk, D. and Bacquet, C. and Kiss, J. and Sipeki, S. and Arányi, Tamás (2017) The transcriptional activity of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha is inhibited via phosphorylation by ERK1/2. PLOS ONE, 12 (2). e0172020. ISSN 1932-6203


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Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4alpha) nuclear receptor is a master regulator of hepatocyte development, nutrient transport and metabolism. HNF4alpha is regulated both at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels by different mechanisms. Several kinases (PKA, PKC, AMPK) were shown to phosphorylate and decrease the activity of HNF4alpha. Activation of the ERK1/2 signalling pathway, inducing proliferation and survival, inhibits the expression of HNF4alpha. However, based on our previous results we hypothesized that HNF4alpha is also regulated at the post-transcriptional level by ERK1/2. Here we show that ERK1/2 is capable of directly phosphorylating HNF4alpha in vitro at several phosphorylation sites including residues previously shown to be targeted by other kinases, as well. Furthermore, we also demonstrate that phosphorylation of HNF4alpha leads to a reduced trans-activational capacity of the nuclear receptor in luciferase reporter gene assay. We confirm the functional relevance of these findings by demonstrating with ChIP-qPCR experiments that 30-minute activation of ERK1/2 leads to reduced chromatin binding of HNF4alpha. Accordingly, we have observed decreasing but not disappearing binding of HNF4alpha to the target genes. In addition, 24-hour activation of the pathway further decreased HNF4alpha chromatin binding to specific loci in ChIP-qPCR experiments, which confirms the previous reports on the decreased expression of the HNF4a gene due to ERK1/2 activation. Our data suggest that the ERK1/2 pathway plays an important role in the regulation of HNF4alpha-dependent hepatic gene expression.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH301 Biology / biológia > QH3015 Molecular biology / molekuláris biológia
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2017 17:07
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2017 17:07

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