A Positive Regulatory Domain in CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein β (C/EBPβ) Is Required for the Glucocorticoid-Mediated Displacement of Histone Deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) from the C/ebpα Promoter and Maximum Adipogenesis

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Glucocorticoids promote adipogenesis and contribute to the metabolic syndrome through a number of mechanisms. One of the effectors of glucocorticoid action is the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ). C/EBPβ is a basic leucine-zipper transcription factor involved in diverse processes including differentiation, cellular proliferation, and inflammation. C/EBPβ transcriptional activity is regulated, in part, by its acetylation profile resulting from its dynamic interaction with either acetylases general control nonrepressed protein 5/p300/CBP associated factor (GCN5/PCAF) or deacetylase complexes (mSin3A/histone deacetylase 1 [HDAC1]). Glucocorticoid treatment of preadipocytes promotes C/EBPβ acetylation, leading to mSin3A/HDAC1 dissociation from C/EBPβ and resulting in C/ebpα promoter activation at the onset of adipogenesis, thus increasing the differentiation rate. We recently showed that the regulatory domain 1 (RD1) of C/EBPβ contains four residues (153–156) required for its interaction with HDAC1, therefore supporting RD1 proposed inhibitory role. In an attempt to further elucidate the intrinsic regulatory property of RD1, we sought to characterize the regulatory potential of the N terminus region of RD1 (residues 141–149). In this study, we show that C/EBPβΔ141–149 transcriptional activity was compromised on the C/ebpα, but not on the Pparγ, promoter. Additionally, the ability of C/EBPβΔ141–149 to induce adipogenesis in NIH 3T3 cells was compromised when compared with C/EBPβwt owing to a delayed expression of C/ebpα at the onset of differentiation. Furthermore, the data suggest that the reduced expression of C/ebpα in cells expressing C/EBPβΔ141–149 was due to a persistent recruitment of HDAC1 to the C/ebpα promoter after glucocorticoid treatment. Together, these results suggest that amino acids 141–149 of C/EBPβ act as a positive regulatory domain required for maximum transcriptional activity.

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