Myogenin and MyoD belong to a family of muscle-specific helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins that have the potential to activate muscle-specific genes in nonmyogenic cells. Peptide growth factors can block the ability of myogenin and MyoD to activate their target genes. Here, we show that the growth factor-inducible proto-oncogenes c-fos, c-jun, and junB mimic the effects of exogenous growth factors and suppress trans-activation of the muscle creatine kinase (MCK) enhancer by myogenin and MyoD. In contrast, JunD, which shares DNA-binding specificity with JunB and c-Jun but is expressed constitutively in muscle cells, is an inefficient inhibitor of the trans-activating capacity of myogenin and MyoD. Transcriptional repression by Fos and Jun is specific to myogenic HLH proteins and is not observed with the widely expressed HLH protein E47, which recognizes the same DNA sequence. Repression of the MCK enhancer by Fos and Jun is targeted at the myogenin and myoD DNA recognition sequence and can be mediated by the amino terminus of c-Jun. Comparison of several myogenin mutants for their responsiveness to Fos and Jun shows that repression is directed at the basic-HLH region. These results indicate that members of the Jun family can be distinguished on the basis of their effects on muscle-specific transcription and suggest there is cross talk between transcription factors that control myogenesis and those involved in cell proliferation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology