Crosstalk during Ca2+-, cAMP-, and glucocorticoid-induced gene expression in lymphocytes

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1997 Apr 4;128(1-2):29-37. doi: 10.1016/s0303-7207(96)04012-9.


In the WEHI7.2 thymoma cell line, cAMP, glucocorticoids, or increases in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration lead to cell death by apoptosis. In the present study, we examined the effects of these compounds on cAMP response element (CRE)-mediated gene expression. Thapsigargin and A23187 were employed to increase cytosolic Ca2+ levels and induce apoptosis. Both compounds enhanced transcription from a CRE preceding apoptotic death. Moreover, the transcriptional response to the combination of forskolin and either thapsigargin or A23187 was synergistic mirroring the effect on cell death. Importantly, dexamethasone treatment, which causes an efflux of Ca2+ from the ER, induced transcription from a CRE alone or in synergy with forskolin. The increase in CRE-controlled gene expression correlated with a decrease in cell viability. Following treatment with forskolin, thapsigargin, or dexamethasone, the CRE binding protein (CREB) was phosphorylated at levels correlating with the level of induced gene expression. These data suggest that transcriptional crosstalk between independent signaling pathways occurs in lymphocytes, and CREB may play a central role in the mediation of CRE-dependent transcription by these diverse set of apoptotic agents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Calcimycin / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / biosynthesis
  • Colforsin / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Lymphocytes / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Thapsigargin / pharmacology
  • Thymoma
  • Thymus Neoplasms
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Colforsin
  • Calcimycin
  • Thapsigargin
  • Dexamethasone
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase
  • Calcium