Overexpression of CREB protein protects from tunicamycin-induced apoptosis in various rat cell types


  • A. Balogh
  • M. Németh
  • I. Koloszár
  • L. Markó
  • L. Przybyl
  • K. Jinno
  • C. Szigeti
  • M. Heffer
  • M. Gebhardt
  • J. Szeberényi
  • D.N. Müller
  • G. Sétáló
  • M. Pap


  • Apoptosis


  • Apoptosis 19 (7): 1080-1098


  • Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays an essential role in unfolded protein response induced apoptosis contributing to several pathological conditions. Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) plays a central role in several apoptotic signaling, including ER stress, as the active form of GSK-3β induces apoptosis. The phosphorylation of cAMP responsive element (CRE) binding protein (CREB) Ser-133 (S133) residue is the end-point of various signaling pathways, like growth factor signaling, while the Ser-129 (S129) residue is phosphorylated by GSK-3β. The significance of the ubiquitously expressed transcription factor CREB is demonstrated in prolonged, tunicamycin (TM)-induced ER stress in this study. In the experiments wild-type (wt) CREB, S129Ala, S133Ala or S129Ala-S133Ala mutant CREB expressing PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cell lines showed increased survival under TM-evoked prolonged ER stress compared to wtPC12 cells. After TM treatment ER stress was activated in all PC12 cell types. Lithium and SB-216763, the selective, well-known inhibitors of GSK-3β, decreased TM-induced apoptosis and promoted cell survival. The proapoptotic BH3-only Bcl-2 family member Bcl-2-interacting mediator of cell death (Bim) level was decreased in the different CREB overexpressing PC12 cells as a result of TM treatment. CREB overexpression also inhibited the sequestration of Bim protein from tubulin molecules, as it was demonstrated in wtPC12 cells. Transient expression of wtCREB diminished TM-induced apoptosis in wtPC12, Rat-1 and primary rat vascular smooth muscle cells. These findings demonstrate a novel role of CREB in different cell types as a potent protector against ER stress.