RNA sequencing identifies genes reliant upon Ser26 in the zinc finger transcription factor, early growth response-1

Vascul Pharmacol. 2022 Apr;143:106952. doi: 10.1016/j.vph.2022.106952. Epub 2022 Jan 15.


Early growth response-1 (Egr-1) is an inducible master regulatory transcription factor that orchestrates gene expression in vascular endothelial cells. We recently determined that Ser26 in Egr-1 undergoes phosphorylation and plays a critical functional role in a range of pro-angiogenic processes. To better understand the effect of Ser26 on Egr-1-dependent gene expression, in this study, we performed RNA-seq and bioinformatics analysis with human microvascular endothelial cells bearing a germline mutation (M) in Ser26 to Ala (M26 cells) exposed to the mitogen and chemoattractant fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) as compared with wildtype (WT) cells. In WT cells, FGF2 increased the expression of numerous growth factors and hormones, cytokines, signaling molecules and transcriptional regulators. Comparison of FGF2-inducible WT and M26 cells enabled identification of differentially expressed genes, including genes reliant or not reliant upon Ser26. For example, Ser26 in Egr-1 was required for FGF2 inducible LIF expression but not for FGF2 inducible IL11. Ser26 was also required for FGF2 inducible NKX2-8 and RIPK2 expression but not for FGF2 inducible CREB5 or ALPK2 expression. Conversely, FGF2 inhibited genes such as TIE1, GPR146 and EPHB3, and Ser26 was required for FGF2's effect on TIE1 and GPR146 but not for EPHB3. Enrichment analysis also identified a range of gene ontologies upregulated and downregulated by FGF2. These findings demonstrate the importance of Ser26 in Egr-1 in programs of endothelial gene expression modulated by FGF2.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Early growth response-1; Inflammation; Transcription factors; Vascular dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Early Growth Response Protein 1 / genetics
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors* / metabolism
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • EGR1 protein, human
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • NKX2-8 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors