Transcriptional regulation of heme oxygenase-1 gene expression by MAP kinases of the JNK and p38 pathways in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes

Thomas Kietzmann, Anatoly Samoylenko, Stephan Immenschuh
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2003 May 16, 278 (20): 17927-36
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) gene expression is induced by various oxidative stress stimuli including sodium arsenite. Since mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are involved in stress signaling we investigated the role of arsenite and MAPKs for HO-1 gene regulation in primary rat hepatocytes. The Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125 decreased sodium arsenite-mediated induction of HO-1 mRNA expression. HO-1 protein and luciferase activity of reporter gene constructs with -754 bp of the HO-1 promoter were induced by overexpression of kinases of the JNK pathway and MKK3. By contrast, overexpression of Raf-1 and ERK2 did not affect expression whereas overexpression of p38alpha, beta, and delta decreased and p38gamma increased HO-1 expression. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) revealed that a CRE/AP-1 element (-668/-654) bound c-Jun, a target of the JNK pathway. Deletion or mutation of the CRE/AP-1 obliterated the JNK- and c-Jun-dependent up-regulation of luciferase activity. EMSA also showed that an E-box (-47/-42) was bound by a putative p38 target c-Max. Mutation of the E-box strongly reduced MKK3, p38 isoform-, and c-Max-dependent effects on luciferase activity. Thus, the HO-1 CRE/AP-1 element mediates HO-1 gene induction via activation of JNK/c-Jun whereas p38 isoforms act through a different mechanism via the E-box.

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