Transactivation of RARE and GRE in the cellular response to arsenic

C. Huang, J. Li, M. Ding, M. Costa, V. Castranova, V. Vallyathan, G. Ju, X. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Arsenic compounds are a somewhat unique class of metals, which have been considered as both carcinogens and chemotherapeutic agents for cancers. Tumor promotion effects of arsenic are believed to be associated with its transactivational activities on transcription factors, such as AP-1 and NFκB, while the induction of cell apoptosis and differentiation by arsenic is considered to be a mechanism for the chemotherapeutic effects of arsenic. Here, we found that exposure of cells to arsenite and arsenate leads to transactivation of retinoic acid response elements (RARE) and glucocorticoid response elements (GRE) in mouse epidermal JB6 cells. These inductions occur in a time-dependent manner. Furthermore, induction of RARE activity by arsenic was synergistically enhanced by co-treatment of cells with retinoic acid, while GRE activation by arsenic was not affected by combined treatment of cells with fluocinolone acetonide (FA). In consideration of the important role of RARE and GRE in induction of cell differentiation, we speculate that transactivation of RARE and GRE by arsenic may be involved in its induction of cell differentiation and anti-cancer activities in addition to its induction of apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Arsenic
  • GRE
  • RARE
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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