ATM, a DNA damage-inducible kinase, contributes to activation by high NaCl of the transcription factor TonEBP/OREBP

Carlos E. Irarrazabal*, Jennifer C. Liu, Maurice S. Burg, Joan D. Ferraris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


High NaCl activates the transcription factor tonicity-responsive enhancer/osmotic response element-binding protein (TonEBP/OREBP), resulting in increased transcription of several protective genes, including the glycine betaine/γ-aminobutyric acid transporter (BGT1). High NaCl damages DNA, and DNA damage activates ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase through autophosphorylation on Ser-1981. TonEBP/OREBP contains ATM consensus phosphorylation sites at Ser-1197, Ser-1247, and Ser-1367. The present studies test whether ATM is involved in activation of TonEBP/OREBP by high NaCl. We find that raising osmolality from 300 to 500 mosmol/kg by adding NaCl activates ATM, as indicated by phosphorylation at Ser-1981. High urea and radiation also activate ATM, but they do not increase TonEBP/OREBP transcriptional activity like high NaCl does. Wortmannin, which inhibits ATM, reduces NaCl-induced TonEBP/OREBP transcriptional activation and BGT1 mRNA increase. Overexpression of wild-type TonEBP/OREBP increases ORE/TonE reporter activity much more than does overexpression of TonEBP/OREBP S1197A, S1247A, or S1367A. In AT cells (which express nonfunctional ATM), TonEBP/OREBP transcriptional and transactivating activity are further increased by expression of wild-type ATM but not of S1981A ATM. TonEBP/OREBP reciprocally coimmunoprecipitates with ATM kinase, demonstrating physical association. Additionally, antibody to ATM kinase supershifts TonEBP/OREBP bound to its cognate ORE/TonE DNA element. In AT cells, wortmannin further decreases high NaCl-induced increase in transcriptional activity, consistent with participation of signaling kinase(s) in addition to ATM. In conclusion, signaling via ATM is necessary for full activation of TonEBP/OREBP by high NaCl, but it is not sufficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8809-8814
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Line
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • NFATC Transcription Factors
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins


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