Repression of transcriptional activity of C/EBPα by E2F-DP complexes


  • K. Zaragoza
  • V. Bégay
  • A. Schuetz
  • U. Heinemann
  • A. Leutz


  • Molecular and Cellular Biology


  • Mol Cell Biol 30 (9): 2293-2304


  • The transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPalpha) coordinates proliferation arrest and differentiation of myeloid progenitors, adipocytes, hepatocytes, keratinocytes, cells of the lung, and placenta. C/EBPalpha transactivates lineage specific differentiation genes and inhibits proliferation by repressing E2F-regulated genes. The myeloproliferative C/EBPalpha BRM2 mutant serves as a paradigm for recurrent human C-terminal bZIP C/EBPalpha mutations that are involved in acute myeloid leukemogenesis. BRM2 fails to repress E2F and to induce adipogenesis and granulopoiesis. Data presented here show that, independently of pocket proteins, C/EBPalpha interacts with the dimerization partner (DP) of E2F and that C/EBPalpha-E2F/DP interaction prevents both, binding of C/EBPalpha to its cognate sites on DNA and transactivation of C/EBP target genes. The BRM2 mutant, in addition, exhibits enhanced interaction with E2F-DP and reduced affinity towards DNA yet retains transactivation potential and differentiation competence that becomes exposed when E2F/DP levels are low. Our data suggest a tripartite balance between C/EBPalpha, E2F/DP and pocket proteins in the control of proliferation, differentiation and tumorigenesis.