The positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), composed of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 and cyclin T1, stimulates the elongation of transcription by hyperphosphorylating the C-terminal region of RNA polymerase II. Aberrant activation of P-TEFb results in manifestations of cardiac hypertrophy in mice, suggesting that P-TEFb is an essential factor for cardiac myocyte function and development. Here, we present evidence that P-TEFb selectively activates transcription mediated by the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) family of transcription factors, key regulatory factors for myocyte development. Knockdown of endogenous cyclin T1 in murine C2C12 cells abolishes MEF2-dependent reporter gene expression as well as transcription of endogenous MEF2 target genes, whereas overexpression of P-TEFb enhances MEF2-dependent transcription. P-TEFb interacts with MEF2 both in vitro and in vivo. Activation of MEF2-dependent transcription induced by serum starvation is mediated by a rapid dissociation of P-TEFb from its inhibitory subunit, HEXIM1, and a subsequent recruitment of P-TEFb to MEF2 binding sites in the promoter region of MEF2 target genes. These results indicate that recruitment of P-TEFb is a critical step for stimulation of MEF2-dependent transcription, therefore providing a fundamentally important regulatory mechanism underlying the transcriptional program in muscle cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology