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Keywords:

  • casein kinase 2;
  • CK2;
  • luciferase activity;
  • transactivation

Abstract

The transcription factor, ΔFosB, is an important mediator of the long-term plasticity induced in brain by chronic exposure to drugs of abuse, stress, or several other psychoactive stimuli. We have previously demonstrated that the casein kinase 2 (CK2)-mediated phosphorylation of a highly conserved N-terminal serine (Ser27) plays a critical role in regulating ΔFosB's unusual stability, while it does not affect that of the full-length FosB protein. In the present study, we analysed whether CK2 and Ser27 phosphorylation also play a role in regulating ΔFosB's transcriptional activity. Our findings indicate that CK2 activation increases ΔFosB's transactivation potential, while CK2 inhibition decreases it. Further, we show that preventing Ser27 phosphorylation by mutating the site to Ala results in a significant decrease in ΔFosB transactivation, without affecting ΔFosB's subcellular localization or DNA-binding affinity. In contrast, Ser27 does not seem to play a role in the transactivation potential of full-length FosB. These findings constitute the first evidence of a role for phosphorylation in ΔFosB's transcriptional activity.