A critical role for cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) as a co-activator in sterol-regulated transcription of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme a synthase promoter

Kimberly A. Dooley, Mary K. Bennett, Timothy F. Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) synthase, a key regulatory enzyme in the pathway for endogenous cholesterol synthesis, is a target for negative feedback regulation by cholesterol. When cellular sterol levels are low, the sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) are released from the endoplasmic reticulum membrane, allowing them to translocate to the nucleus and activate SREBP target genes. However, in all SREBP-regulated promoters studied to date, additional co-regulatory transcription factors are required for sterol-regulated activation of transcription. We have previously shown that, in addition to SREBPs, NF- Y/CBF is required for sterol-regulated transcription of HMG-CoA synthase. This heterotrimeric transcription factor has recently been shown to function as a co-regulator in several other SREBP-regulated promoters, as well. In addition to cis-acting sites for both SREBP and NF-Y/CBF, the sterol regulatory region of the synthase promoter also contains a consensus cAMP response element (CRE), an element that binds members of the CREB/ATF family of transcription factors. Here, we show that this consensus CRE is essential for sterol-regulated transcription of the synthase promoter. Using in vitro binding assays, we also demonstrate that CREB binds to this CRE, and mutations within the CRE that result in a loss of CREB binding also result in a loss of sterol-regulated transcription. We further show that efficient activation of the synthase promoter in Drosophila SL2 cells requires the simultaneous expression of all three factors: SREBPs, NF-Y/CBF, and CREB. To date this is the first promoter shown to require CREB for efficient sterol- regulated transcription, and to require two different co-regulatory factors in addition to SREBPs for maximal activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5285-5291
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 26 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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