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ERK phosphorylation of MED14 in promoter complexes during mitogen-induced gene activation by Elk-1

Galbraith, Matthew D.; Saxton, Janice; Li, Li; Shelton, Samuel J.; Zhang, Hongmei; Espinosa, Joaquin M.; Shaw, Peter E.


Matthew D. Galbraith

Janice Saxton

Senior Research Fellow

Samuel J. Shelton

Hongmei Zhang

Joaquin M. Espinosa

Peter E. Shaw


The ETS domain transcription factor Elk-1 stimulates expression of immediate early genes (IEGs) in response to mitogens. These events require phosphorylation of Elk-1 by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and phosphorylation-dependent interaction of Elk-1 with co-activators, including histone acetyltransferases and the Mediator complex. Elk-1 also recruits ERK to the promoters of its target genes, suggesting that ERK phosphorylates additional substrates in transcription complexes at mitogen-responsive promoters. Here we report that MED14, a core subunit of the Mediator, is a bona fide ERK substrate and identify serine 986 (S986) within a serine-proline rich region of MED14 as the major ERK phosphorylation site. Mitogens induced phosphorylation of MED14 on S986 at IEG promoters; RNAi knockdown of MED14 reduced CDK8 and RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) recruitment, RNAPII C-terminal domain phosphorylation and impaired activation of IEG transcription. A single alanine substitution at S986 reduced activation of an E26 (ETS)-responsive reporter by oncogenic Ras and mitogen-induced, Elk-1-dependent transcription, whereas activities of other transcriptional activators were unaffected. We also demonstrate that Elk-1 can associate with MED14 independently of MED23, which may facilitate phosphorylation of MED14 by ERK to impart a positive and selective impact on mitogen-responsive gene expression.


Galbraith, M. D., Saxton, J., Li, L., Shelton, S. J., Zhang, H., Espinosa, J. M., & Shaw, P. E. (2013). ERK phosphorylation of MED14 in promoter complexes during mitogen-induced gene activation by Elk-1. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(22),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Deposit Date Apr 22, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 22, 2014
Journal Nucleic Acids Research
Print ISSN 0305-1048
Electronic ISSN 0305-1048
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 22
Public URL
Publisher URL


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