NF-κB and CREB are required for angiotensin II type 1 receptor upregulation in neurons

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 11;8(11):e78695. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078695. eCollection 2013.


Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and the Ets like gene-1 (Elk-1) are two transcription factors that have been previously established to contribute to the Angiotensin II mediated upregulation of Angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) in neurons. The cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) is another transcription factor that has also been implicated in AT1R gene transcription. The goal of the current study was to determine if NF-κB and CREB association was required for AT1R upregulation. We hypothesized that the transcription of the AT1R gene occurs via an orchestration of transcription factor interactions including NF-κB, CREB, and Elk-1. The synergistic role of CREB and NFκB in promoting AT1R gene expression was determined using siRNA-mediated silencing of CREB. Electrophorectic Mobility Shift Assay studies employing CREB and NF-κB demonstrated increased protein - DNA binding as a result of Ang II stimulation which was blunted by siRNA silencing of CREB. Upstream inhibition of p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) with SB203580 or inhibition of the calmodulin kinase (CAMK) pathway using KN-62 blunted changes in CREB and NF-κB expression. These findings suggest that Ang II may activate multiple signaling pathways involving p38 MAPK leading to the activation of NF-κB and CREB, which feed back to upregulate the AT1R gene. This study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms involving multiple transcription factor activation in a coordinated fashion which may be partially responsible for sympathoexcitation in clinical conditions associated with increased activation of the renin angiotensin system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / genetics
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / physiology*
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / pharmacology
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1 / genetics
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1 / metabolism
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • CREB1 protein, human
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • ELK1 protein, human
  • Imidazoles
  • NF-kappa B
  • Pyridines
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • Angiotensin II
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • SB 203580