The function of the A element (nucleotides 5107 to 5130) of the polyomavirus enhancer is augumented in NIH 3T3 cells by a tumor-promoting phorbol ester, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). One of its targets is an AP1 consensus sequence motif recognized by a nuclear factor, PEBP1. In Ha-ras-transformed NIH 3T3 cells, however, A element function was not enhanced by TPA treatment, and at the same time PEBP1 was not detected in the nuclear extract by a mobility shift assay. PEBP1 was not detected in either the extract from NIH 3T3 cells treated in vivo with a protein kinase inhibitor, staurosporine, or the extract from NIH 3T3 cells after treatment in vitro with phosphatase. These results suggest that PEBP1 is required to be properly phosphorylated for DNA binding and that it is underphosphorylated, possibly due to the downregulation of protein kinase C in Ha-ras-transformed cells. In addition, we observed that PEBP2, which bound to the A element adjacent to PEBP1, was converted to apparently related PEBP3 when conditions favored underphosphorylation.
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