Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) is an early response gene that is induced rapidly during in vivo situations of cellular growth such as liver regeneration. However, neither the physiological function nor the potential target genes of this transcription factor related to cellular proliferation have been identified in the liver or other tissues. We demonstrate here that endogenous ATF3 mRNA expression is rapidly induced up to 4-fold upon mitogenic stimulation of quiescent Hepa 1–6 mouse hepatoma cells. Overexpression of exogenous ATF3 results in a significant, dose-dependent increase in DNA synthesis of up to 140 % over control cells. ATF3transfected cells also display significantly higher rates of [ 3 H]thymidine incorporation in comparison with nontransfected controls in the presence of serum. Norther
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