CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha uses distinct domains to prolong pituitary cells in the growth 1 and DNA synthesis phases of the cell cycle

Weiqun Liu, John F. Enwright, William Hyun, Richard N. Day, Fred Schaufele

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Background: A number of transcription factors coordinate differentiation by simultaneously regulating gene expression and cell proliferation. CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBPα) is a basic/leucine zipper transcription factor that integrates transcription with proliferation to regulate the differentiation of tissues involved in energy balance. In the pituitary, C/EBPa regulates the transcription of a key metabolic regulator, growth hormone. Results: We examined the consequences of C/EBPα expression on proliferation of the transformed, mouse GHFT1-5 pituitary progenitor cell line. In contrast to mature pituitary cells, GHFT1-5 cells do not contain C/EBPα. Ectopic expression of C/EBPα in the progenitor cells resulted in prolongation of both growth 1 (G1) and the DNA synthesis (S) phases of the cell cycle. Transcription activation domain 1 and 2 of C/EBPα were required for prolongation of G1, but not of S. Some transcriptionally inactive derivatives of C/EBPα remained competent for G1 and S phase prolongation. C/EBPα deleted of its leucine zipper dimerization functions was as effective as fulllength C/EBPα in prolonging G1 and S. Conclusion: We found that C/EBPα utilizes mechanistically distinct activities to prolong the cell cycle in G1 and S in pituitary progenitor cells. G1 and S phase prolongation did not require that C/ EBPα remained transcriptionally active or retained the ability to dimerize via the leucine zipper. G1, but not S, arrest required a domain overlapping with C/EBPα transcription activation functions 1 and 2. Separation of mechanisms governing proliferation and transcription permits C/EBPα to regulate gene expression independently of its effects on proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalBMC Cell Biology
StatePublished - Jan 4 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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