Two distinct stress signaling pathways converge upon the CHOP promoter during the mammalian unfolded protein response

J Mol Biol. 2002 May 17;318(5):1351-65. doi: 10.1016/s0022-2836(02)00234-6.


CHOP is a non-ER localized transcription factor that is induced by a variety of adverse physiological conditions including ER stress. Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER activates an unfolded protein response pathway that targets both ER resident chaperones (e.g. BiP) and CHOP. Hence, it is unclear if CHOP induction during ER stress occurs through the ER stress response element that is conserved in both CHOP and ER chaperone promoters, or through a separate regulatory pathway conserved among different CHOP inducing cellular stress conditions. We identified a bona fide ER stress element in the hamster CHOP promoter and found that similar transcription complexes containing NF-Y bound to both the CHOP and BiP ER stress response elements. In addition, we demonstrated for the first time the importance of the C/EBP-ATF composite site for CHOP regulation during ER stress. Activation of the ER transmembrane eIF2alpha kinase, PERK, induced ATF4 protein expression, direct binding to the composite site in CHOP promoter, and as a consequence, CHOP protein induction. We propose that this eIF2alpha-kinase/ATF4/C/EBP-ATF composite site pathway is conserved for CHOP regulation during various cellular stress conditions including ER stress. Our data indicate that both the ERSE and the PERK-ATF4 pathways converge on the CHOP promoter during ER stress and provide insights into the similarities and differences between CHOP and ER chaperone expression during normal and stress conditions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • COS Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Transcription Factor CHOP
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DDIT3 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factor CHOP