Transcriptional repression of ATF4 gene by CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ) differentially regulates integrated stress response

Souvik Dey, Sudha Savant, Brian F. Teske, Maria Hatzoglou, Cornelis F. Calkhoven, Ronald C. Wek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Different environmental stresses induce the phosphorylation of eIF2 (eIF2∼P), repressing global protein synthesis coincident with preferential translation of ATF4. ATF4 is a transcriptional activator of genes involved in metabolism and nutrient uptake, antioxidation, and regulation of apoptosis. Because ATF4 is a common downstream target that integrates signaling from different eIF2 kinases and their respective stress signals, the eIF2∼P/ATF4 pathway is collectively referred to as the integrated stress response. Although eIF2∼P elicits translational control in response to many different stresses, there are selected stresses, such as exposure to UV irradiation, that do not increase ATF4 expression despite robust eIF2∼P. The rationale for this discordant induction of ATF4 expression and eIF2∼P in response to UV irradiation is that transcription of ATF4 is repressed, and therefore ATF4 mRNA is not available for preferential translation. In this study, we show that C/EBPβ is a transcriptional repressor of ATF4 during UV stress. C/EBPβ binds to critical elements in the ATF4 promoter, resulting in its transcriptional repression. Expression of C/EBPβ increases in response to UV stress, and the liver-enriched inhibitory protein (LIP) isoform of C/EBPβ, but not the liver-enriched activating protein (LAP) version, represses ATF4 transcription. Loss of the liver-enriched inhibitory protein isoform results in increased ATF4 mRNA levels in response to UV irradiation and subsequent recovery of ATF4 translation, leading to enhanced expression of its target genes. Together these results illustrate how eIF2∼P and translational control combined with transcription factors regulated by alternative signaling pathways can direct programs of gene expression that are specifically tailored to each environmental stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21936-21949
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 22 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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