Research Articles

Basal Signalling Through Death Receptor 5 and Caspase 3 Activates p38 Kinase to Regulate Serum Response Factor (SRF)-Mediated MyoD Transcription



We have previously reported that stable expression of a dominant negative Death Receptor 5 (dnDR5) in skeletal myoblasts results in decreased basal caspase activity and decreased mRNA and protein expression of the muscle regulatory transcription factor MyoD in growth medium (GM), resulting in inhibited differentation when myoblasts are then cultured in differentiation media (DM). Further, this decreased level of MyoD mRNA was not a consequence of altered message stability, but rather correlated with decreased acetylation of histones in the distal regulatory region (DRR) of the MyoD extended promoter known to control MyoD transcription. As serum response factor (SRF) is the transcription factor known to be responsible for basal MyoD expression in GM, we compared the level of SRF binding to the non-canonical serum response element (SRE) within the DRR in parental and dnDR5 expressing myoblasts. Herein, we report that stable expression of dnDR5 resulted in decreased levels of serum response factor (SRF) binding to the CArG box in the SRE of the DRR. Total SRF expression levels were not affected, but phosphorylation indicative of SRF activation was impaired. This decreased SRF phosphorylation correlated with decreased phosphorylation-induced activation of p38 kinase. Moreover, the aforementioned signaling events affected by expression of dnDR5 could be appropriately recapitulated using either a pharmacological inhibitor of caspase 3 or p38 kinase. Thus, our results have established a signaling pathway from DR5 through caspases to p38 kinase activation, to SRF activation and the basal expression of MyoD.


DR5caspase 3p38 kinaseSRFMyoD
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 14
  • Page/Article: 1
  • DOI: 10.5334/1750-2187-14-1
  • Submitted on 19 Jul 2019
  • Accepted on 9 Jan 2020
  • Published on 8 May 2020
  • Peer Reviewed