Activation of the human DNA polymerase beta promoter by a DNA-alkylating agent through induced phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein-1

J Biol Chem. 1996 Aug 2;271(31):18508-13. doi: 10.1074/jbc.271.31.18508.


Treatment of cells with the DNA-alkylating agent N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) induces expression of the endogenous mammalian DNA polymerase beta (beta-pol) gene and of the cloned promoter in transient expression studies. The lone cAMP response element (CRE) in the core promoter, along with functional protein kinase A, is critical for the MNNG-induced up-regulation. Recently, we described a kinetic mechanism for transcriptional regulation of the beta-pol promoter in vitro and found that CRE-binding protein (CREB) from MNNG-treated cells differentially up-regulates the promoter by stimulating formation of closed preinitiation complex (RPc). Here, using a CRE-dependent chimeric beta-pol promoter, we purified the RPc assembled with nuclear extract from MNNG-treated and control HeLa cells. Comparison of proteins in the purified RPc samples revealed that the MNNG induction is associated with a strong increase in the Ser133-phosphorylated form of recombinant CREB (CREB-1). CREB depletion of the nuclear extracts diminished transcriptional activity, and addition of purified Ser133-phosphorylated CREB-1 restored activity, whereas unphosphorylated CREB-1 did not. Addition of phosphorylated CREB-1 to the control cell extract mimicked the MNNG-induced up-regulation of transcriptional activity. These results indicate that phosphorylation of CREB-1 is the probable mechanism of activation of the beta-pol promoter after treatment of cells with the DNA-alkylating agent MNNG.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / chemistry
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Polymerase I / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Methylnitronitrosoguanidine / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Methylnitronitrosoguanidine
  • DNA Polymerase I