The nuclear factor CREB stimulates the expression of cellular genes following its protein kinase A-mediated phosphorylation at Ser-133. Ser-133 phosphorylation, in turn, activates target gene expression by promoting recruitment of the co-activator CBP. Recent studies showing that CREB and its paralog CREM are required for survival of certain cell types prompted us to examine whether CREB is a nuclear target for activation via the growth factor-dependent Ser/Thr kinase Akt/PKB. When overexpressed in serum-stimulated cells, Akt/PKB potently induced Ser-133 phosphorylation of CREB and promoted recruitment of CBP. Correspondingly, Akt/PKB stimulated target gene expression via CREB in a phospho(Ser-133)-dependent manner. Akt/PKB induced CREB activity only in response to serum stimulation, and this effect was suppressed by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY 294002. Our results support the notion that Akt/PKB promotes cell survival, at least in part, by stimulating the expression of cellular genes via the CREB/CBP nuclear transduction pathway.
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