A secondary phosphorylation of CREB341 at Ser129 is required for the cAMP-mediated control of gene expression. A role for glycogen synthase kinase-3 in the control of gene expression

C. J. Fiol, J. S. Williams, C. H. Chou, Q. M. Wang, P. J. Roach, O. M. Andrisani

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240 Scopus citations


The cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) phosphorylates CREB327/341 at a single serine residue, Ser119/133, respectively. Phosphorylation at this site creates the sequence motif SXXXS(P), a consensus site of the glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) enzyme (Fiol, C. J., Mahrenholz, A. M., Wang, Y., Roeske, R. W., and Roach, P. J. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 14042-14048). We examined the phosphorylation of CREB at the SXXXS(P) consensus site and its role in CREB transactivation to cAMP induction. Neither isoform of the GSK-3 enzyme (GSK-3 α or β) utilizes CREB as its substrate unless CREB is already phosphorylated at Ser119/133. A 13-amino acid peptide containing the sequence surrounding Ser119/133 was phosphorylated by GSK-3, at Ser115/129, only after the primary phosphorylation of the peptide by PKA (at Ser119/133), suggesting that Ser115/129 is a GSK-3 phosphoacceptor site. Mutant CREB327/341 proteins containing Ser → Ala substitutions confirmed Ser115/129 as the only GSK-3 phosphorylation site. Transfection assays of wild type and mutant Gal4-CREB fusion proteins in PC12 cells demonstrated that Ser → Ala substitution of residue 129 of CREB341 impairs the transcriptional response to cAMP induction. Analogous mutation in CREB327 results in 70% decrease in its transactivation response to cAMP. In undifferentiated F9 cells, which are refractory to cAMP induction, transfected GSK-3β kinase induces a 60-fold increase in cyclic AMP response element-dependent transcription, mediated via the endogenous CREB protein. We propose that the hierarchical phosphorylation at the PKA and GSK-3 sites of CREB are essential for cAMP control of CREB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32187-32193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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