Expression of the SRF gene occurs through a Ras/Sp/SRF-mediated-mechanism in response to serum growth signals

Oncogene. 1999 Dec 2;18(51):7319-27. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1203121.


Serum Response Factor (SRF) plays a central role in the transcriptional response of mammalian cells to a variety of extracellular signals. It is a key regulator of many cellular early response genes which are believed to be involved in cell growth, differentiation, and development. The mechanism by which SRF activates transcription in response to mitogenic agents has been extensively studied, however, less is known about regulation of the SRF gene itself. Previously, we identified distinct regulatory elements in the SRF promoter that play a role in activation, including an ETS domain binding site, an overlapping Sp1/Egr-1 binding site, and two SRF binding sites. We further showed that serum induces the SRF gene by a mechanism that requires an intact SRF binding site, also termed a CArG box. In the present study we demonstrate that in response to stimulation by cells by lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) or whole serum, the SRF promoter is upregulated by a bipartite pathway that requires both an Sp1 factor binding site and the CArG motifs for maximal stimulation. The CArG box-dependent component of this pathway is targeted by Rho mediated signals, and the Sp1 binding site dependent component is targeted by Ras mediated signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / pharmacology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins*
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Serum Response Factor
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • Blood Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Egr1 protein, mouse
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Serum Response Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • ras Proteins