J Biol Chem. 2008; 283(49):34305-34314.

Transcriptional repression of the prosurvival ER chaperone GRP78/BIP by E2F1.

Racek T, Buhlmann S, Rüst F, Knoll S, Alla V, Pützer BM.


The endoplasmic reticulum chaperone GRP78/BIP plays a central role in the prosurvival machinery, and its enhanced expression has been implicated in drug resistance, carcinogenesis, and metastasis. E2F1, as part of an antitumor safeguard mechanism, promotes apoptosis regardless of functional p53. Using cells that are defective in p53, we show that E2F1 represses GRP78/BIP at the transcriptional level, and this requires its DNA binding domain. Analysis of human GRP78/BIP promoter reporter constructs revealed that the region between -371 and -109 of the proximal promoter contains major E2F1-responsive elements. Toward understanding the underlying mechanism of this regulation, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation and gel shift assays, demonstrating that E2F1 directly binds to GC-rich regions in the distal GC-box and endoplasmic reticulum stress response element -126 by interfering with the binding of positive regulatory proteins Sp1 and TFII-I of the ER stress response element-binding factor complex. We further show that TFII-I, which is required for optimal stress induction of GRP78/BIP, is suppressed by E2F1 on the protein level. Finally, our studies suggest a molecular link between the inhibition of GRP78/BIP and E2F1-mediated chemosensitization of tumor cells, underscoring its relevance for cancer treatment. Together, the data provide a new mechanism for the incompletely understood tumor suppressor function of E2F1.