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Activin inhibits the human Pit-1 gene promoter through (...)

Endocrinology. 2006 Sep ;147(9):4351-62
Activin inhibits the human Pit-1 gene promoter through the p38 kinase pathway in a Smad-independent manner.
De Guise C, Lacerte A, Rafiei S, Reynaud R, Roy M, Brue T, Lebrun JJ.

The pituitary transcription factor Pit-1 regulates hormonal production from the anterior pituitary gland. However, the mechanisms by which Pit-1 gene expression is regulated in humans are poorly understood. Activin, a member of the TGFbeta superfamily, acts as a negative regulator of cell growth and prolactin gene expression in lactotrope cells. In this study, we show that activin negatively regulates the human Pit-1 gene promoter. We defined a 117-bp element within the Pit-1 promoter that is sufficient to relay these inhibitory effects. We further investigated the signaling pathways that mediate activin-induced inhibition of Pit-1 gene promoter in pituitary lactotrope cells. We found that the activin effects on Pit-1 gene regulation are Smad independent and require the p38 MAPK pathway. Specifically, blocking p38 kinase activity reverses activin-mediated inhibition of the Pit-1 gene promoter. Together, our results highlight the p38 MAPK pathway as a key regulator of activin function in pituitary lactotrope cells and further emphasizes the critical role played by activin in regulating hormonal production in the pituitary gland.


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