Up-regulation of Bcl-2 Homology 3 (BH3)-only Proteins by E2F1 Mediates Apoptosis

Tzippi Hershko, Doron Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

278 Scopus citations


The E2F1 transcription factor is a critical down-stream target of the tumor suppressor pRB. The retinoblastoma (RB) pathway is often inactivated in human tumors, resulting in deregulated E2F activity that can induce both proliferation and apoptosis. Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3)-only proteins are pro-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 protein family that trigger apoptosis in response to diverse stimuli. We show here that E2F1 up-regulates the expression of the pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins PUMA, Noxa, Bim, and Hrk/DP5 through a direct transcriptional mechanism. Expression of the E7 protein of HPV16, which disrupts RB/E2F complexes, also up-regulates the expression of these four BH3-only proteins, implicating endogenous E2F in this phenomenon. Indeed, endogenous E2F1 binds the promoters of these four genes. Furthermore, inhibition of E2F1-induced expression of either Noxa or PUMA results in a significant reduction in E2F1-induced apoptosis, indicating that increased Noxa and PUMA levels mediate this E2F1-induced apoptosis. Importantly, inhibition of E2F activity abolishes DNA damage-induced elevation of PUMA levels, implicating E2F in the physiological regulation of PUMA expression. These data provide a novel direct link between E2F and the apoptotic machinery and may explain the increased sensitivity of cells with a defective RB/E2F pathway to chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8627-8634
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Up-regulation of Bcl-2 Homology 3 (BH3)-only Proteins by E2F1 Mediates Apoptosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this