Indexed on: 07 Mar '08Published on: 07 Mar '08Published in: The Biochemical journal
DUSP6 (dual-specificity phosphatase 6), also known as MKP-3 [MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) phosphatase-3] specifically inactivates ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2) in vitro and in vivo. DUSP6/MKP-3 is inducible by FGF (fibroblast growth factor) signalling and acts as a negative regulator of ERK activity in key and discrete signalling centres that direct outgrowth and patterning in early vertebrate embryos. However, the molecular mechanism by which FGFs induce DUSP6/MKP-3 expression and hence help to set ERK1/2 signalling levels is unknown. In the present study, we demonstrate, using pharmacological inhibitors and analysis of the murine DUSP6/MKP-3 gene promoter, that the ERK pathway is critical for FGF-induced DUSP6/MKP-3 transcription. Furthermore, we show that this response is mediated by a conserved binding site for the Ets (E twenty-six) family of transcriptional regulators and that the Ets2 protein, a known target of ERK signalling, binds to the endogenous DUSP6/MKP-3 promoter. Finally, the murine DUSP6/MKP-3 promoter coupled to EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) recapitulates the specific pattern of endogenous DUSP6/MKP-3 mRNA expression in the chicken neural plate, where its activity depends on FGFR (FGF receptor) and MAPK signalling and an intact Ets-binding site. These findings identify a conserved Ets-factor-dependent mechanism by which ERK signalling activates DUSP6/MKP-3 transcription to deliver ERK1/2-specific negative-feedback control of FGF signalling.