Ets-2 is induced by oxidative stress and sensitizes cells to H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis: implications for Down's syndrome

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Oct 5;287(4):1003-8. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.2001.5680.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology*
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Oxidants / pharmacology
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Proto-Oncogene Protein c-ets-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ERF protein, human
  • ETS2 protein, human
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Oxidants
  • Proto-Oncogene Protein c-ets-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Dactinomycin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide