CREB trans-activation of disruptor of telomeric silencing-1 mediates forskolin inhibition of CTGF transcription in mesangial cells.

Publication Date



Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2010 March; 298(3): F617–F624.


Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) participates in diverse fibrotic processes including glomerulosclerosis. The adenylyl cyclase agonist forskolin inhibits CTGF expression in mesangial cells by unclear mechanisms. We recently reported that the histone H3K79 methyltransferase disruptor of telomeric silencing-1 (Dot1) suppresses CTGF gene expression in collecting duct cells (J Clin Invest 117: 773-783, 2007) and HEK 293 cells (J Biol Chem In press). In the present study, we characterized the involvement of Dot1 in mediating the inhibitory effect of forskolin on CTGF transcription in mouse mesangial cells. Overexpression of Dot1 or treatment with forskolin dramatically suppressed basal CTGF mRNA levels and CTGF promoter-luciferase activity, while hypermethylating H3K79 in chromatin associated with the CTGF promoter. siRNA knockdown of Dot1 abrogated the inhibitory effect of forskolin on CTGF mRNA expression. Analysis of the Dot1 promoter sequence identified a CREB response element (CRE) at -384/-380. Overexpression of CREB enhanced forskolin-stimulated Dot1 promoter activity. A constitutively active CREB mutant (CREB-VP16) strongly induced Dot1 promoter-luciferase activity, whereas overexpression of CREBdLZ-VP16, which lacks the CREB DNA-binding domain, abolished this activation. Mutation of the -384/-380 CRE resulted in 70% lower levels of Dot1 promoter activity. ChIP assays confirmed CREB binding to the Dot1 promoter in chromatin. We conclude that forskolin stimulates CREB-mediated trans-activation of the Dot1 gene, which leads to hypermethylation of histone H3K79 at the CTGF promoter, and inhibition of CTGF transcription. These data are the first to describe regulation of the Dot1 gene, and disclose a complex network of genetic and epigenetic controls on CTGF transcription.


Animals, Binding Sites, Cells, Cultured, Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, Connective Tissue Growth Factor, Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein, DNA Methylation, Down-Regulation, Forskolin, Histones, Mesangial Cells, Methyltransferases, Mice, Mutation, Promoter Regions, Genetic, RNA Interference, RNA, Messenger, Transcription, Genetic, Transcriptional Activation, Transfection