Medical Oncology

, 36:20 | Cite as

A feedback regulation of CREB activation through the CUL4A and ERK signaling

  • Cheemala Ashok
  • Sheikh Owais
  • Loudu Srijyothi
  • Murugan Selvam
  • Saravanaraman Ponne
  • Sudhakar BaluchamyEmail author
Original Paper


CUL4A; an E3 ubiquitin ligase is involved in the degradation of negative regulators of cell cycle such as p21, p27, p53, etc., through polyubiquitination-mediated protein degradation. The functional role(s) of CUL4A proteins on their targets are well characterized; however, the transcriptional regulation of CUL4A, particularly at its promoter level is not yet studied. Therefore, in this study, using computational tools, we found cAMP responsive elements (CRE) at the locations of − 926 and − 764 with respect to transcription state site + 1 of CUL4A promoter. Hence, we investigated the role of CREB on the regulation of CUL4A transcription. Our chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) data clearly showed increased levels of promoter occupancy of both CREB and pCREB on both CREs of CUL4A promoter. As expected, the expression of CUL4A increases and decreases upon the overexpression of and knocking down of CREB, respectively. Moreover, the inhibition of ERK pathway by U0126 not only reduces the CREB activation but also the CUL4A levels suggesting that CREB is the upstream activator of CUL4A transcription. The reduction of CUL4A levels upon the knocking down of CREB or by U0126 treatment increases the protein levels of CUL4A substrates such as p21 and p27. It is reported that CUL4A activates the ERK1/2 transcription and ERK1/2 pathway activates the CREB by phosphorylation. Based on our data and earlier findings, we report that CREB regulates the CUL4A levels positively which in turn activates the CREB through ERK1/2 pathway in the form of auto-regulatory looped mechanism.This suggests that CUL4A might be involved in proliferation of cancer cells by regulating the ERK1/2 and CREB signaling.


cAMP response element (CRE) CREB CUL4A ERK1/2 U0126 Transcriptional regulation 



We are grateful to Dr. Pradip Raychaudhuri (UIC, Chicago, USA) for providing CUL4A antibodies. We are also thankful to Dr. Arunkumar Dhayalan for critical reading of the manuscript.


This study was funded by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-INDIA; SB/EMEQ-038/2013 to Prof. Sudhakar Baluchamy. Fellowships from CSIR-UGC to CA, UGC UGC-NFOBC to MS, UGC-BSR to SO, Pondicherry University doctoral research fellowship to LS and DST-SERB-NPDF (2739) to Dr. SP are greatly acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyPondicherry Central UniversityPondicherryIndia

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