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PloS one

Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation of human ATF7 at Thr-51 and Thr-53 promotes cell-cycle progression into M phase.


PMID 25545367

Abstract

Activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) and its homolog ATF7 are phosphorylated at Thr-69/Thr-71 and at Thr-51/Thr-53, respectively, by stress-activated MAPKs regulating their transcriptional functions in G1 and S phases. However, little is known about the role of ATF2 and ATF7 in G2/M phase. Here, we show that Cdk1-cyclin B1 phosphorylates ATF2 at Thr-69/Thr-71 and ATF7 at Thr-51/Thr-53 from early prophase to anaphase in the absence of any stress stimulation. Knockdown of ATF2 or ATF7 decreases the rate of cell proliferation and the number of cells in M-phase. In particular, the knockdown of ATF7 severely inhibits cell proliferation and G2/M progression. The inducible expression of a mitotically nonphosphorylatable version of ATF7 inhibits G2/M progression despite the presence of endogenous ATF7. We also show that mitotic phosphorylation of ATF7 promotes the activation of Aurora kinases, which are key enzymes for early mitotic events. These results suggest that the Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation of ATF7 facilitates G2/M progression, at least in part, by enabling Aurora signaling.

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