Serum-regulated transcription by serum response factor (SRF): a novel role for the DNA binding domain

EMBO J. 1994 Nov 15;13(22):5421-32.


The transcription factors Serum Response Factor (SRF) and Ternary Complex Factor (TCF) form a ternary complex at the c-fos Serum Response Element (SRE). We show that in NIH3T3 cells TCF binding is required for regulated transcription in response to stimulation by phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), but not by whole serum. We constructed a novel transcriptionally inactive SRE variant whose serum-regulated activity can be partially restored by overexpression of SRF in the absence of bound TCF. Activation by SRF does not require the SRF N-terminal phosphorylation sites, but is potentiated 2- to 3-fold by the SRF C-terminal activation domain. Mutations in the SRF DNA binding domain, which do not affect the ability of SRF to bind DNA, abolish its ability to mediate TCF-independent serum-regulated activation and reduce activation by the SRF/TCF(Elk-1) ternary complex. Efficient activation requires that SRF be targeted to DNA via its own DNA binding domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Blood Physiological Phenomena*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / drug effects
  • Genes, fos*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic / metabolism
  • Serum Response Factor
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Transcription, Genetic* / drug effects
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic
  • Serum Response Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • p62TCF protein, human
  • p62TCF protein, mouse
  • DNA
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate