Serum response factor: discovery, biochemistry, biological roles and implications for tissue injury healing

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2002 Jun;53(2):147-57.


Serum response factor (SRF) is a transcription factor, which binds to a serum response element (SRE) associated with a variety of genes including immediate early genes such as c-fos, fosB, junB, egr-1 and -2, neuronal genes such as nurr1 and nur77 and muscle genes such as actins and myosins. By regulating expression of these genes, SRF controls cell growth and differentiation, neuronal transmission as well as muscle development and function. SRF can be activated by a variety of agents, including serum, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), agents that increase intracellular Ca2+, T-cell virus1 activator protein, hepatitis B virus activator proteins pX, activated oncogenes and protooncogenes as well as extracellular stimuli such as antioxidant and UV light. SRF itself is regulated by both cellular signal transduction pathways and interaction with other transcription factors e.g. Sp1, ATF6 and myogenic regulatory factors. Its biological function is best elucidated for myocardium. Specific cardiac SRF transgenesis demonstrated that overexpression of SRF caused hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in mouse and the mouse died of heart failure within 6 months after birth. Other transgenic data suggested that sufficient SRF was needed for embryogenesis and early development. Since SRF is important regulator of numerous genes involved in cell growth and differentiation, including muscle and neural components, SRF may also play a crucial role in tissue injury and ulcer healing, e.g. healing of gastrointestinal ulcers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Serum Response Element / physiology
  • Serum Response Factor / chemistry*
  • Serum Response Factor / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Serum Response Factor