The Transcription Factor MEF/Elf4 is Dually Modulated by p53-MDM2 Axis and MEF-MDM2 Autoregulatory Mechanism [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

July 31st, 2014 by Suico, M. A., Fukuda, R., Miyakita, R., Koyama, K., Taura, M., Shuto, T., Kai, H.

Myeloid elf-1-like factor (MEF) or Elf4 is an ETS transcription factor that activates innate immunity-associated genes such as lysozyme, human beta-defensin 2 (HβD2) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) in epithelial cells and is also known to influence cell cycle progression. MEF is transcriptionally activated by E2F1, but the E2F1-mediated transcriptional activation is inhibited by p53 through E2F1-p53 protein interaction. While the transcriptional activation of MEF has been investigated in depth, its post-translational regulation is not well explored. By overexpressing MEF cDNA in human cell lines, here we show that MEF protein expression is suppressed by p53. By screening a number of E3 ligases regulated by p53, we found that MDM2 is involved in the effect of p53 on MEF. MDM2 is transcriptionally activated by p53 and interacts with MEF protein to enhance MEF degradation. MDM2 reduces MEF protein expression, stability and MEF′s function as transcriptional activator. Furthermore, MDM2 was able to down-regulate MEF in the absence of p53, indicating a p53-independent effect on MEF. Notably, MEF transcriptionally activates MDM2, which was previously demonstrated to be the mechanism by which MEF suppresses p53 protein. These results reveal that in addition to the potential of MEF to down-regulate p53 by transcriptionally activating E3 ligase MDM2, MEF participates with MDM2 in a novel autoregulatory feedback loop to regulate itself. Taken together with the findings on the effect of p53 on MEF, these data provide evidence that the p53-MDM2-MEF axis is a feedback mechanism that exquisitely controls the balance of these transcriptional regulators.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
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