An elevated production of hydrogen peroxide mediates the increased rate of apoptosis of cells derived from individuals with Down's syndrome. The mechanism via which this occurs is unknown. Here we show that Ets-2, a transcription factor located on human chromosome 21 and already overexpressed in multiple tissues in Down syndrome (DS, trisomy 21), is induced by low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, cells with an imbalance in the antioxidant enzymes SOD-1/GPX-1, such as occurs in DS through the overexpression of the chromosome 21 gene SOD-1, also results in increased Ets-2 expression. The increase in Ets-2 expression is dependent on mRNA transcription. Importantly, we further demonstrate that 3T3 fibroblasts that overexpress Ets-2 are sensitized to hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis. These data implicate Ets-2 in the regulation of oxidant-induced apoptosis and provide a possible rationale for both the (5- to 7-) fold increase in Ets-2 protein level in DS tissues, above the expected gene dosage of 1.5-fold, and the elevated rate of apoptosis in DS cells.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.