Repression of glucocorticoid receptor transactivation and DNA binding of a glucocorticoid response element within the serum/glucocorticoid-inducible protein kinase (sgk) gene promoter by the p53 tumor suppressor protein

Mol Endocrinol. 1997 Mar;11(3):312-29. doi: 10.1210/mend.11.3.9893.


sgk is a novel member of the serine/threonine protein kinase family that is transcriptionally regulated by serum and glucocorticoids in Rat2 fibroblasts and in mammary epithelial cells. 5'-Deletion analysis of the sgk promoter, using a series of sgk-CAT. (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase) chimeric reporter gene plasmids, defined a glucocorticoid-responsive region that contains a glucocorticoid response element (sgkGRE) between -1000 and -975 bp. The sgkGRE is specifically bound by glucocorticoid receptors and is sufficient to confer glucocorticoid responsiveness to a heterologous promoter in several cell lines. Strikingly, cotransfection of either the murine or human wild type p53, but not a mutant p53, repressed the dexamethasone-stimulated transactivation of reporter plasmids containing either the sgkGRE or a consensus GRE. Gel shift analysis revealed that in vitro synthesized p53 prevented binding of the glucocorticoid receptor both to the sgkGRE as well as to a consensus GRE. The p53-mediated repression of dexamethasone-induced sgkGRE activity required both the DNA binding and transactivation functions of the p53 protein. Activation of endogenous p53, by exposure to UV light, repressed the glucocorticoid receptor transactivation of a consensus GRE-CAT reporter plasmid in transfected cells. Conversely, activated glucocorticoid receptors suppressed the transactivation function of p53, while transrepression by p53 was largely unaffected. The presented data demonstrate that sgk is a primary glucocorticoid-responsive protein kinase gene that implicates a new pathway of cross-talk between steroid receptor signaling and cellular phosphorylation cascades. In addition, our study provides the first evidence of mutual interference of transactivation functions of p53 and the glucocorticoid receptor, possibly through their direct interaction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Fibroblasts
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / genetics*
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation / drug effects
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics*
  • Transcriptional Activation / radiation effects
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / drug effects
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Dexamethasone
  • DNA
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • serum-glucocorticoid regulated kinase