Constitutive expression of AP-1 transcription factors in the rat adrenal. Effects of nicotine

K. R. Pennypacker, J. S. Hong, J. Douglass, M. K. McMillian

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39 Scopus citations


The AP-1 proteins (c-fos and fos-related antigens and jun proteins) are transcription factors that are induced in most cells by various stimuli, but the expression of these proteins is low or undetectable in the basal state. Our data indicate that the rat adrenal gland contains a basally expressed elevated level of AP-1 proteins and mRNAs (40- and 35-kDa fos-related antigens, a 39-kDa c-jun protein, c-jun, junB, and junD mRNA), as well as high basal AP-1 DNA binding activity. Both the medulla and cortex contained equivalent levels of fos-related antigens and c-jun protein; however, the majority of AP-1 DNA binding was detected in the medulla. Handling of rats for several days prior to sacrifice failed to affect protein expression or binding; on the other hand, repeated injections of nicotine increased AP-1 DNA binding. A single nicotine injection 60 min prior to removing the adrenals caused a significant reduction in AP-1 DNA binding without any detectable changes in AP-1 protein expression. Pretreatment of adrenal nuclear extracts with alkaline phosphatase prior to incubation with the AP-1 oligomer decreased binding activity. Thus, unlike most tissues where AP-1 DNA binding activity is controlled by increased expression of AP-1 proteins, DNA binding in the rat adrenal gland appears to be controlled at the post- translational level, possibly through dephosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20148-20152
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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